November 30, 2018

FITNESS

Enjoy December but not undo all your hard work

IF YOU ARE here hoping to find a ‘Christmas fitness survival guide’ article, then think again.

This is the time of year when you should enjoy yourself with good food and drink and use the holidays to switch off, party and spend quality time with family and friends — but my advice is always to maintain balance.

If you are someone who goes completely off the wagon in December and loves the grind of starting all over again in January then good for you.

However, if you are someone who generally wants to have a good balance with their fitness and health all year round and wants to maintain, push on or even hold onto your goals you achieved this year then perhaps the tips below are for you.

Plan December

December is a month with a lot going on. It’s a month which can certainly take you away from your normal routine.

From Christmas work parties, family gatherings and late night outs, we can break away from the norm.

Now is the time to pencil in and choose the gatherings you go to — you don’t need to be attending every social event.

On top of that if you are someone who wants to stay focused on your fitness goals then a good idea would be to sit down and map out a training plan for December.

It’s a month where you can slip a little with your training which is perfectly fine, however it’s a good month to at least aim for maintenance and stay relatively on track with your goals.

Some of you spend enough time chasing your goals for the majority of the year, so it would be a shame to see it going to waste over the course of a couple of weeks.

Don’t let December stress you out

Christmas is a great time of the year for most. As they say ‘’Tis the season to be jolly’, however it’s a time of the year where we can all stress a little too much over silly things.

In the past, I have seen Christmas cause stress, fatigue and burnout and all of this builds up to effect our mental health and wellbeing.

My advice is to not let this time of the year suck you up.

Physical fitness is very important but how you train and look after your mind or mental fitness is just as, if not more, important.

Over the festive season allow some time to work on your mindset — a healthy mind helps a healthy body.

Doing things that help the brain slow down, de-stress and unwind are vital.

Don’t deprive yourself — embrace the festive season

After all, it is Christmas.

Now is a time to be realistic with your lifestyle choices in December. This is a time of the year where you should and can afford to cut loose a little.

I have talked about having a realistic approach when it comes to your nutrition and I have always felt that having a 80/20 realistic approach is something that always works in the long run.

Let yourself a little loose at this time of the year and go with a 70/30 approach as realistically there is going to be far too much nice food around. Enjoy it, but just don’t go overboard.

Start the month strong

For most of us the true madness doesn’t kick off until the later in the month.

For the final few days of November and going into the start of December, aim to keep going with your exercise routine.

What helps me in December is training early in the morning and getting that job done first thing — if you leave it until later you probably won’t get around to it.

You don’t necessarily have to force yourself out to the gym or do something every day but aim to move, stretch or sweat a little over the festive period to make things a little bit easier when you return to a normal routine in January.

Get the simple things right

At this stage we should know a lot of the simple basic things. It’s the basics I always try and write about here on a weekly basis and the reason is because these are the things that work.

Believe it or not it’s the basics that really are the little big things.

Here is a little checklist that can help you stay accountable over the month of December:

  • Keep a bottle of water around you at your desk in work and drink at least 2.5 litres during the day.
  • Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Give yourself a goal of exercising at least 2-3 times a week in December.
  • Aim to get enough protein in your day.
  • Continue to stay on track with your food prep. For the month of December we can easily loose control of our meals, prepping our food or even getting that weekly shop in. My advice is to still use those one or two hours of the week sitting down planning your shop and weekly meals.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or you can send me a direct message here