It's the last month of the year and notoriously the busiest for most of us! Holiday season can really get in the way of your normal exercise and health routine. Psychologically we know the year is coming to an end and we tend to relax things knowing we can start again in January. If you have worked hard all year to achieve a certain level of health and fitness why go and blow it all in 4 weeks only to be back where you started 12 months ago? I know what these challenges feel like so I've put together a realistic plan for you so that you can enjoy the festive season without compromising your health and fitness too much!
Parties are a staple of the festive season! Parties mean late nights, more alcohol than you are used to, indulgent foods which lead to later mornings, less energy and a gradual fall off the workout wagon. If you are obliged to attend all parties make sure you plan ahead. Read on to find out how...
Managing your time
There is so much to do during the festive season - parties, shopping, present wrapping and we always feel the need to catch up with friends and family we haven't seen all year. It is really important to have a plan of what workouts you are going to do and when to maintain your fitness during this busy time. As time is the precious commodity, aim to reduce your workouts and maintain the intensity. For instance if you are doing 4 workouts a week make them time efficient 30-45mins total and work really hard for that time. The best type of high intensity workouts are strength training or functional circuit training, plyometrics based workouts, sprint/interval based workouts. You can create your own or attend a class if you need the support, motivation and company of others. At Precision Movement we can also prepare and teach you a workout that you can do anywhere with little to no equipment at all.
When to Workout
Try to get your workout done the morning of the party or at lunch time. Metabolically this is better for your body. Time wise it will be out of the way and you won't face the dilemma of doing your evening workout and attending the party late or just skipping the workout for the lure of a good time! Doing your workout earlier in the day you will feel the effects later in the evening prompting you to leave a party perhaps earlier that you would. Be mindful of how much energy you expend in your workouts during the holiday season. If your party season is particularly heavy then I would suggest maintaining the movement but decreasing the stress on your body. Opt for parasympathetic work-ins like hatha or kundalini yoga, qi gong or tai chi. All these workouts will help restore your energy - sort of like a movement hangover cure. Word of warning - attend a later class if you are still feeling the affects of what you drank the night before!
Managing Food & Drink
Make sure you eat when you drink alcohol even if only snacks and hors d'oeuvres are on offer. Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.
Remember you can always catch up on sleep and workouts at the weekend. If you have a very heavy season of parties I would recommend doing yoga or meditative based movement like chi gong or tai chi to restore your energy levels. In the colder months, wrap up warm and take a walk or a leisurely bike ride. Fresh air really helps to make you feel human again too!
Parties are usually late events. If you have the option to arrange a lunchtime/afternoon affair I would definitely opt for this. Firstly, you get an afternoon out of the office ;P and secondly you can leave at a reasonable time and get a good nights sleep. If you are the guest of an evening party aim for a reasonable departure time. If you really miss out on sleep you can make it up at the weekend but if its a school night, I would advise leaving at a reasonable time so you can function the next day!
Social v Business
Be really aware of burning the wick at both ends in terms of social and business parties. I often find I dial down my social commitments during the business party season. It helps to balance things out a bit. Often I'll cook brunch or lunch for a group of people which means I can still catch up with friends socially, cook a healthy meal and not lose any more sleep. If you are lacking the energy to cook then head out to a pub for a Sunday roast!
The Big Blowout Recovery Plan
Now I would be lying if I said I didn't go crazy at least once during the festive party season. It's all about the recovery from the big blow out night. Firstly, if you've drunk a bit too much alcohol then you must rehydrate - with water! - no hair of the dog here. Secondly, eat a good breakfast/brunch/afternoon version of this when you wake up! I would advise a good hearty English breakfast of eggs, beans, bacon, tomato and sausages. Protein and fat help to rebalance your blood sugar from all the alcohol. Thirdly, take a leisurely walk or a bike ride in the afternoon to get some fresh air and gentle movement. And lastly, get a good nights sleep to help sleep the last dregs of the hangover!
If you are going to struggle with the festive season and feel a few fitness appointments would keep you on track then contact me KT, at KT@precisionmovement.co.uk and we'll keep you on the straight and narrow! For more information on our workouts of which there are many to choose from please visit our website.