Did you know the average Aussie outs on 0.8 – 1.5kg over Christmas? You probably could have guessed… It’s really hard, there are parties to go to, delicious food to be eaten, drinks to be drunk, fun to be had. So how do you make it though without getting totally out of shape? We definitely recommend moderation and you shouldn’t try to avoid social occasions altogether, turn down invites because you’ll miss your Pilates class, or offend your hosts by not touching any of their carefully prepared delicacies. It’s important to have some fun and not be totally obsessed by diet and exercise or freak out if there are interruptions to your regular routine. Here are a few tips to help you get through holiday season and do all the fun stuff, while keeping fit.
1. Have some fun with friends
This time of year we often catch up with old friends and family – but it doesn’t always have to be sitting around gorging ourselves full of food. How about some good old backyard cricket (or maybe back laneway if you live in Surry Hills). A walk along the beach and a swim, or a hit of tennis or squash? Or when you’re organising your Christmas get together how about making it somewhere interesting? Go rock-climbing or trampolining, or even ten pin bowling, in all beats sitting around doing nothing.
2. Take the low cal option (and keep drinking water)
Try not to drink your calories! (This is something to aspire to all the way through the year). This is a drinky time of year and alcohol has calories, so there’s not that much we can do about that, but you could try switching to low-carb beer, maybe avoid cider altogether as it’s so full of sugar and if you drink spirits with mixers, always go for the soda option (with a bit of lime of course). Then if you drop in a glass of water every couple of drinks to slow you down a bit (which also helps with the hangover) you can probably save yourself a few hundred calories at least! I know some of you craft beer lovers will be saying that low-carb beer doesn’t taste like real beer and I get that but… how much beer will you drink? A Crown Lager has 171 calories, a Pure Blonde (I am not touting CUB here but it’s just an easy comparison) has 109. So that 60 calories difference. If you drink 10 beers (and some guys will) that’s 600 calories! Maybe you can have a couple of full-flavoured beers to kick off your night with and then switch to low-carb as the evening wears on.
3. Exercise some portion control
There’s going to be some nice food coming your way, you should eat it – just don’t eat all of it. Eat when you are hungry (not just because it’s there) and try to stop when you are full. This might be easier said than done but it’s a good habit to get into, not just for Christmas but for all of the year as well!
4. Plan your training sessions and go early
Training through the break can be hard as your usual schedule is all out of wack, maybe your training partner is away, or you’re out of town yourself. The best way to make sure you get your training done is to have a look at what you’ve got on and plan some training times. Don’t set un-realistic goals – like working out in the morning after a big night – pick times you know you will be able to make (even if it’s not as many as usual) and go then. It might be better to schedule in morning sessions so that you get the out of the way before anything else happens and your plans change. Even if you don’t train at your best first thing in the morning – some training is infinitely better than no training.
5. Maximise your workout time
You might have to do shorter sessions through this period so you really need to make them count. Try interval training or supersets. If you’re after that cardio burn but you can’t make it to your spin class, set a timer for 20 secs work 10 secs rest. This type of interval training is called Tabata training, but there are plenty of other interval training periods you can do. Pick 4 exercises, like jumping squats, push-ups, kettle bell swings and mountain climbers. Repeat 8 rounds of each exercise, rest for 1 min then move on to the next exercise for another 8 rounds of 20 secs, maximum effort. If you’re weight training and pressed for time try super-setting your pushing exercises with pulling, or legs and arms. For example alternate chest press with seated row. This minimizes your rest time and might mean you won’t be able to push quite as much weight as you normally would – but you’ll definitely walk out of the gym a lot earlier than normal too.
6. Smash a workout outside the gym:
You might not even be able to make it to the gym over the break so you’ll have to think outside the square. If you don’t like running (don’t feel bad, I don’t like it either) just rock a body Bodyweight workout, try something like this: 10 Burpees > 20 Mountain climbers > 30 Jumping Jacks > 40 Reps jumping rope > 30 Jump squats > 20 Push-ups > 10 Reverse lunges. Perform all exercises then rest for 30 seconds and go again. Repeat as many times as you can in twenty minutes.
There you have it – Merry Christmas and Good Luck!