Are You Worried About Putting On Weight Over The Christmas Break? Have You Been Working Hard To Get In Shape For This Summer But You Have Already Resigned To The Fact That For Christmas You Are More Likely To Receive An Extra Love Handle Or Two As A Gift From Yourself Than A Gift From A Loved One That Will Blow Your Socks Off? Are You Tired Of Starting Your Year Off Feeling Tired And Lethargic From Your Break? Read on…

It DOESN’T have to be this way! With the holiday period upon us, preparing for this period is crucial. The main problem is that our social calendars get jammed up and booked out with work functions and family lunches and as a result of switching on to holiday mode we delete the “gym session” from our calendars.

Obviously this is a major mistake. With an inevitable amount of yummy food (and increase in energy intake) coming toward you at your table like an unstoppable tsunami, you must mitigate this damage with extra exercise and daily activity if you’re to survive the holiday without your belt buckle exploding. It’s a no brainer! When extra energy is coming in through sizeable and generous portions of mum’s pork roast and potato bake and you are planning on washing it down with a glass (or 4) of your favourite white wine, whatever your body doesn’t need or burn that day you will store…

But you say, “yeah but I’m on holidays and i’ve been working hard for months! I deserve this!”

Yes you have, so why through it away? Why go backwards? Why create a situation where you return after holidays feeling like a beached whale? I don’t know about you, but this fitness thing literally is a LIFESTYLE. It’s about enjoying life all the time whilst kicking your ass all the time to keep looking and feeling better everyday, day in and day out.

Holidays shouldn’t be a FREE ticket to eat whatever you want and not exercise. If you are living a balanced lifestyle with a sensible but approach towards your training and nutrition, you wouldn’t have these on/off moments. Every week throughout the year should have an “on” and an “off” component so that your working towards your goals whilst still being able to maintain a thriving social life and healthy waistline.

Let’s explore 5 things you can do to stay on track over this Christmas break that will guarantee that you return on the other side of your holidays ready to kick 2017 in the ass!

Don’t Stop! 

We see it time and time again as coaches… People go on holidays and they switch off. I don’t get it. I do get that everyone needs a break in routine, a time to change it up and relax and kick you feet up. That should not mean that you totally give up on yourself for 2 or 3 weeks!

Some of the best times to train and exercise are whilst you’re on holidays. If you’re travelling, do some research on the hotels or the areas you will be visiting and find out if they have a gym. If they don’t have a gym or there aren’t any in the area and accessible to you, find a hill that you can do some sprints on, book some active excursions, do a bodyweight style workout… Whatever, just do something, everyday.

The human body is highly adaptable, it improves as you stimulate it with exercise to increase muscle and lose unwanted body fat with mindful nutrition. The bad news is that you detrain even faster! Skeletal muscle begins to waste away (atrophy) after about 5 days of it not being adequately stimulated or overloaded. So you ask? You will lose that hard earned muscle very quickly. So? This in turn reduces your metallic rate. So? This then means you are now more likely to put on body fat. So? Your health goes down hill…

So, don’t stop!

Goal setting: Make it your goal over the break to train everyday, a little goes a long way.

Measure Where You Are At!

A great motivational tool to keep you focused and on track is to know where you are currently at with composition and performance capacity (strength and endurance).

Having these figures re-tested will also give you an idea with how far you have come since your last tests but will also give you something to measure against when you return from your break.

Some of the tests that you can do are:

  • DEXA or skin folds – assessing for composition (muscle and fat mass)
  • Strength testing i.e. 8RM squat test
  • Endurance testing i.e. Treadmill running cardiovascular capacity testing
  • Photos – nothing better than something visual to compare results against

Goal setting: Make it your goal to re-test all of these things before you break for holidays, this will provide a lot of extra motivation and focus to keep you on track to return strong from our break.

Hold Your Ground!

Imagine being in a war against an enemy, you’re in the trenches engaged in the battle! There are times when we need to advance, there are times when we need to retreat and there are times when we need to hold our ground at all cost!

When setting goals with clients, we are always talking about advancing, gaining ground, winning the war and achieving results.

Then there are other clients for whatever reason against all advice from a passionate coach, they give up, they stop exercising as they get “too busy” or lose focus and subsequently they retreat into defeat and lose ground in the battle against the bulge.

Then as a coach there are time when our advice is to just “hold your ground”. Of course it’s probably unrealistic that you would continue to get leaner through the Christmas break just with the amount of family and social commitments, so any good coach would be advising you to do just enough then to hold your gains and keep the results you have achieved.

Have A Plan Of Attack!

Nothing great is ever achieved without a plan of attack or a strategy that will maximise returns. Finding the right balance between socialising and staying on track is so important. Again it is probably unrealistic to aim to get to a gym everyday or to not drink “too much” through this period, so I want to give you some simple things that you can do in each of the following areas to achieve balance through this period:

Resistance Training
  • Aim for two non-consecutive days in a week so that to spread out the training stimulus
  • Performing full body workouts will maximise the amount of muscle recruited in that session for an all over training stimulus
  • Perform mostly big bang for buck compound exercises i.e. Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Chin Ups etc with minor muscles performed at the end of the workout with high volume
  • Fasted state cardio first thing in the morning before breakfast is a great way to get you into fat burning zone sooner
  • Perform a variety of types of cardio sessions i.e. slow-steady state cardio and also high intensity intervals on different days for a broad approach and to polarise your training methods
  • After a big day of eating and drinking, make a conscious effort to reduce your intake the following day
  • Consume mostly protein, fats and vegetables / fruits over the day as a way to carbohydrate cycle. Given that you probably carbohydrate loaded the day before and have more glycogen stored in your system than you would need to run the New York marathon, this will also help you reduce your calories for that day.
  • Reduce your feeding frequency to 3 main meals that day without snacking in between major meals. This will ensure those calories don’t sneak in under the radar to blow your budget.
Pay The Price, Then Enjoy!

You must be consciously aware and mindful through this period to “pay the price”. I’m all about enjoyment, having a great time, socialising with a beer or glass of wine and finishing with a generous slice of cake… but you must pay the price.

You have to earn it! Do the work and I guarantee you that not only will you look and feel better for it, but the indulgence will be that much more enjoyable because you understand the price you have paid to have it. Things that you have paid the price for you will tend to value more.

Your body will not be forgiving and let you off the hook if you don’t pay the price. If you have had or are getting ready for a big social event where you know there will be ample opportunity to stuff your face, some things you can do are:

  • Do a gym session before the lunch or dinner to drive up your metabolism and burn some calories in anticipation of the feast
  • Plan to get up the next day and do some cardio to use up any extra energy remaining in your system fro the day before
  • Reduce your calories in the morning prior to your lunch or dinner or the day after to balance out the energy intake component.

Ultimately, it’s all about balance. The beauty and enjoyment of life lies somewhere in the middle, in the balance. Extremes never serve us well in the longterm, what will create lasting results and a happy fulfilled life is when you’re happy and in balance being able to enjoy life with your loved ones whilst still looking and feeling like the BEST version of yourself!

We hope you have a great Christmas break.

For more information about how you can get a tailored training and nutrition plan or set some big goals for 2017, visit us today at to find our how we can help you change your life!

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