Are you wondering what is the best way to stay in shape over Christmas?
With the many social appointments, temptations and traditions of the festive period come a threat to our levels of fitness.
However, there is no need to worry - nobody can operate at peak discipline and consistency at all times. Even professional athletes have the off-season to refresh their minds and bodies, to recover from the previous cycle and prepare for the next in equal measure. Professional athletes perform maintenance over this period - attempting to maintain a sufficient level of physical fitness so they are better prepared for their return to action. We can take these principles and apply them to the ‘off-season’ for most of the general public, the Christmas period.
1 - Train Consistently
Let's keep the first tip as simple as possible!
Commit to your gym schedule and attend regularly (even if not as regularly as you have at other points during the year). The training program here at Nikafit will ensure that you expend more calories, in theory giving you a greater room to make ‘nutritional mishaps’ without them having as a dramatic effect on your waistline as if you suddenly decide to abandon both your nutritional and training stimulus. The training stimulus (resistance training) will also help to maintain and grow muscle and if you are consuming more calories than you regularly do - you can use these extra calories to fuel your training session and perhaps grow muscle/strength over December - even if the weight on the scales also goes up.
It is true that you cannot out-train a bad diet but keeping a consistent training schedule can help to mitigate some of the effects that a less than optimal diet can have in the short term (Christmas).
2 - Eat enough Protein
Eating sufficient protein is critical to maintaining muscle mass. Numerous studies have shown the importance of consuming protein as part of the diet to maintain and grow muscle mass. Avoiding muscle wastage over Christmas when your training is not as intense or regular as usual will be very helpful to avoid a steep regression in ability, and will make it easier to pick up closer to where you left off when your regular gym routine resumes in the New Year.
>1.7g per kg of bodyweight of Protein each day should be a sufficient level for most individuals.
3 - Refresh Yourself Before the New Year
Tied into the previous two points in terms of maintaining as a consistent training schedule as possible, and eating enough protein to minimize training and body composition regressions, the final point is to use this period to refresh your mind and have a light period of reflection in terms of your health and fitness goals for 2018.
Don’t be afraid to take this period to refresh yourself and remember that time spent with family and friends, gathering for dinner and having a few drinks are also valuable experiences that need to be prioritized and enjoyed. You should enjoy them without worrying about minute nutritional details in the greater context of a whole year/lifetime of habits or missing out on precious family occasions because you think you need to be in the gym six days a week, every week of the year to keep your ‘gainz’.
At the Sigma Nutrition Seminar with Danny Lennon last weekend, he emphasized that body composition is the result of the average of numerous habits over a long period of time. If your regular habits are good then occasional Christmas parties with a greater calorie consumption won’t derail your progress (your body actually dynamically adapts to the amount of calories that you consume on a given day/shorter time period). If your regular habits are not good then maybe Christmas is not a good time to commit to a new healthier lifestyle because unless you live under a rock, it will require far more willpower than at almost any other time of the year.
Instead take the time to consider what you would like to achieve in the year ahead and prepare yourself to invest time towards that goal in the new year. Here at Nikafit, we can guide and monitor your progress towards your health and fitness goals, keeping you accountable after your initial motivation has waned.
Thanks guys, hope you have a great Christmas!