There’s something about this time of year which screams coziness, comfort food and hibernation – A far cry from those summer months, characterised by healthy diets, bounds of energy and exercise to prepare and maintain that summer physique. With Christmas fast approaching, it can be difficult to retain that motivation. Instead, extravagance can overtake, social events mount up and all restraint swiftly leaves the building.
However, there are ways and means of keeping on the straight and narrow on the lead up to the festive season and here’s how:
Exercise is important for both the body and the mind. Our last blog detailed the benefits of running to enhance positive mental health, and in the winter months, where moods can dip, it’s extremely important to maintain this momentum. The dark mornings and cold evenings can certainly make running or exercise in general more of a struggle. However, this is when your mind and body needs these endorphins the most - to help fight off low moods and/or mood disorders in the form of anxiety/depression: All the while, promoting a feeling of well-being throughout.
Try and plan your week so that you know what you’re doing and when – Exercise needs to fit in with family and work and so plan this into your week and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Book into gym classes, book a personal training session, plan your running route, whatever it may be – Plan it on a Sunday night and stick to it. Although you may be lacking the energy to start, once you’ve completed your session or your weekly goals, you’ll feel fantastic and it will spur you on to carry this through to the next week so on. Excuses don’t get results, instead: Sweat. Smile. Repeat.
It’s likely you’ll have more social gatherings over the coming weeks compared to the rest of the year – Work parties, family get-togethers, it can be hard to say no. Make sure you plan your meals for the week. It’s no good grabbing ready meals, instead, plan plan plan. There are so many recipe sources nowadays from Google to Instagram and Facebook, so there’s really no excuse to be lazy. Even companies like Gousto and Hello Fresh are fantastic for cooking from scratch with all the ingredients delivered to your door. And, they really don’t cost the earth and often feature special offers and promotions.
If you are going out, you don’t necessarily have to have the full three-course works. You could skip desert and go for the healthy menu option. It’s very easy to get stuck in a downward spiral at this time of year and think ‘to hell with it, I’m going all out and I’ll change my lifestyle in January along with everyone else’. However, this is the diet-binge mindset – This isn’t changing your lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle can start now and is sustainable; a diet however isn’t and never will be.
Skipping meals may potentially seem like an obvious idea to stay lean, however, it can be extremely detrimental to health goals. Arriving ravenous to a party can lead to overeating and of course drinking on an empty stomach. So, make sure eat balanced meals throughout the day and continue the practice of moderation into the night.
Drink with caution
Booze is laden with empty calories and can make you feel extremely sluggish thereafter, sometimes lasting 2-3 days, which is going to have a huge impact on your training schedule. A hangover tends to call for carbohydrate rich, stodgy food the day after and so any chance of remaining on the straight and narrow in terms of a healthy diet are quickly thrown out of the window. You could think about not drinking (especially for ‘every’ social gathering) or certainly drinking in moderation to limit calorie intake and the effects of drink in the days following. Try not to mix and potentially stick to the lighter options such as spirits with low calorie mixers instead of red wines and beer!
It’s easy to say yes to every invite which comes your way, but actually you have to think about your health too – Partying until the early hours each night, drinking, over indulging will all have an adverse effect on your health. It can play havoc with sleeping patterns and of course your exercise regime and so don’t go overboard and exhaust yourself.
One of our latest blogs centered around some useful apps to help you on your fitness journey, including MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, Fitbit, Les Mills and Freeletics. Why not utilise these clever yet simple tools to help keep your nutrition and fitness goals on track. You can see how many calories you’ve burnt, how far you’ve run, cycled or walked and how many calories you can stretch over your day whilst staying within these limits and improving your cardiovascular health.
If you’re out and about a lot over the festive period and are struggling to get to the gym, or adverse weather conditions are ruining your couch to 5k efforts, you could think about investing in some at home gym equipment.
Studies have shown that you should be aiming for 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day and so if that isn’t out pounding the streets or attending a personal training session, then why not use one of the above apps or YouTube and workout in your lounge.
Get up bright and early and smash it before the day has begun, invigorating both your mind and your body. HIIT and Tabata sessions are short and sharp with maximum exertion and so can be completed in no time at all.
And of course... no workout is complete without using one of our running belts or microfiber towels. Whether you’re out pounding the pavements or hammering another weights session, you will need to carry, on your person, a few key items, from your phone to your gym card and car keys. Gym kit doesn’t generally allow for this and so why not take a look at one of our running belts to allow storage for your key items without any movement or ergonomic issues.
Alternatively, we offer a range of microfiber towels, ideal for both sport, fitness and travel: Lightweight and compact, taking up to 5 x less space than their conventional cotton counterparts. They are super absorbent (absorbing 4 x more water than a standard towel) and fast drying (They dry 10 x faster than a cotton towel and can carry 4 x its weight.