As we approach the Christmas period, it can be common for people to be worried about staying in shape due the increase in social events and temptations. As a result, many put their progress on hold until January.
However, this thought process is a dangerous one to stick with, as you could be in a seriously tough position when you do decide to get back on track at the start of the year. So, it is important to first note that it is possible to maintain, if not make more progress in December.
But how do you do it? How can you navigate through such a challenging period for many?
One of the most important things you can do to stay in shape during the Christmas period is to keep training. Your sessions are vital for maintaining muscle that you worked hard to gain, and they also add structure and productivity to your day. When training discipline decreases, other bad habits can creep in, such as overeating and a more sedentary lifestyle. This will lead to potential muscle loss (dependent on how long you are away for), and an increase in body fat, as your output will be lower. Make sure your sessions are effective, challenging and enjoyable.
During Christmas, nutrition is an area where so many people slip up on. It is common not to have an idea of what you will be eating for the day and therefore indulge on junk food that will drastically take you over your calorie limit. Planning is crucial in many areas of life and your diet is no different.
This also means being smart with your calories. For example, if you know you are going to have a big meal at a restaurant on a Saturday night, eating less throughout that day and saving a good portion of those calories for that meal will mean that you can enjoy yourself and not go over your calorie intake for the day. So, be aware of what you are going to eat and plan accordingly. This will make sure that you stay on track.
Training is very important but another factor that must not be overlooked is your activity outside of the gym. Believe it or not, when it comes to burning calories, gym sessions may not be enough to stay in shape if you want to enjoy your food. An hour of walking can burn up to 300 calories and can make the difference between you gaining unnecessary body fat if you are planning to eat at around maintenance calories. Therefore, it is important to combine your training sessions with activities such as walking and swimming (if you can) so that you are active and burn a sufficient number of calories during the day.
Make Smart Choices
During the Christmas period, it will be very difficult to avoid social situations, so it is important to still enjoy yourself and have a great time with others. However, what you do during those events will be key. For example, going for lower calorie options, such as leaner cuts of meat and spirit mixers when it comes to alcohol will help you enjoy social events and stay within your calorie intake. Having a balance at this time of year is vital.
It is important that we enjoy ourselves on the weekend and your routine does not have to be ultra-strict, but at the same time you should be responsible with your nutrition, which means not drastically exceeding your calorie intake. This can quite easily happen if you over-indulge on calorie-dense foods in restaurants, takeaway shops or even when getting snacks for the evening.
If you are going out for a few drinks or a meal, enjoy yourself but don’t go crazy. If you want to have a couple of beers and socialise, then you can do so and not harm your progress, likewise if you go out for a meal or get a takeaway in the evening. However, you should be mindful of what foods to be careful with and even avoid.
So, if you are worried about your progress being negatively affected during the Christmas period, there are strategies you can implement to combat this. These include, training regularly, planning well, staying active, making smart choices and having control. Such methods will help you find the perfect balance between enjoying yourself and staying on track during the Christmas period.
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