For many, this time of year is the chance to have a break & enjoy the excesses of the season: booze, food and the like. Although I can see why this is tempting, it’s not my preferred way of getting through the Christmas holidays. Quite apart from the fact that all that food is a great way of fuelling new PBs (I hit my 102.5kg squat over Christmas 2017), the more time away from a routine the harder it is to get back into it. And, if you’re one of many who has a fitness or health related goal planned for the new year, why wait til January 1st to get started when you can do it now? Here are some of my top tips on fitting in fitness over the Christmas period…
Get up earlier
I know, it’s so predictable, it’s basically on every “get fit” list everywhere! But what better way to squeeze in a workout or run? Get your sweat on before the relatives arrive, or present-opening commences. You’ll start the day fresh faced and ready to go and won’t have to excuse yourself to fit things in when things are in full flow.
Squat the turkey
…or that tin of chocolates you’ve been eyeing up since the start of December. Whatever your ‘weight’ of choice, hold it firmly in both hands and do sets of squats while you wait for the potatoes to roast or the sprouts to boil (takes about an hour, right?) Fitting in small movements between important festive milestones can add up: you don’t have to spend 3 hours in the gym to make movement count.
Don’t forget to walk
As tempting as it is to drive to and fro to keep warm, racking up the miles in a car when you could walk to the local shops or to your kid’s nativity is not only costly, but wastes opportunities for valuable steady state cardio. Walking is also great zone 2 training, which can increase your overall endurance.
And don’t forget the post-Christmas-dinner walk. As well as being tradition for most families, there’s science to this one! Researchers have found that going for a short walk after a meal can not only aid digestion, but help stabilise blood sugar levels (important if you plan a mid-afternoon binge on the chocs). 15-20 minutes at a steady pace should be enough to keep things moving (if you catch my drift).
Hit the gap
That gap between Christmas and New Year, that is. The one where everyone’s unsure as to what day it is, who’s turn it is to wash up, when the world gets fed up of turkey sandwiches. If you’re lucky enough to not be working over the festive period, that gap is a great time to fit in longer runs and bigger gym sessions (if you can find one that’s open). A last push to reach any unmet fitness goals for 2018, or just a stopgap before your regular routine kicks back in, it’s a great time to get on the move.
Get your dance on
With all of the socialising at Christmas parties and festivities with friends at this time of year, there’s no excuse not to stand up and have a boogie. You can burn around 200 calories spending half an hour dancing – and the more enthusiastically the better. Don’t worry about looking daft, everyone on the floor is more concerned with how they look to even notice what you’re up to. As well as being a calorie burner, dance feels good too.
Ultimately, if you can find the time to fit in a short burst of activity every other day over Christmas you’re going to maintain a better platform for fitness heading into the new year. But if nothing goes to plan? Don’t sweat it. Life’s too short to feel bad about a missed workout or an extra mince pie or 3. And anyway, 2019 is right around the corner, and that’s a whole new year to smash with your awesomeness!
Lead photo by freestocks.org