This guide has been designed to help you over the festive period and stay on tack with your health and tness!

From drinks parties to Boxing Day binges, there are plenty of potential pitfalls to navigate throughout December.

BUT, this isn’t a doom and gloom guide and I’m certainly not going to tell you that you can’t enjoy yourself.

You’ve worked hard all year and it’s only natural to want some down time, and you definitely deserve it! However, it can be all too easy to let things slip a little at times and I am going to help you to keep it under control whilst having a good time with friends and family.

So have a read through and learn how staying active, eating intelligently and planning ahead can ensure your success in to the new year.

Your Goals

It’s important to be realistic with our goals and not many people are able to lose weight in De- cember. That doesn’t mean that the whole month is a write-o though. We are going to aim to simply maintain weight through the month.

If you’ve worked hard all year
to drop 6lbs then don’t put it all back on in a month by giving up on everything.

So how do you stop yourself gaining weight in winter?

There are common themes in the latter months when the nights draw in and the weather gets colder.

Comfort foods become more regular and gym trips less fre- quent. An increase in calories and decrease in exercise and it’s clear to see how weight gain happens.

First we need to understand why we store body fat and how to avoid it.

The rules of thermodynamics state that to lose weight we need

to burn more energy than we in- take – simpy put we need to burn more calories than we eat.

If the goal is to stay the same weight we need to create a balance in energy in vs energy out.

Our energy out is what we need to live, walk, talk, etc plus any exercise we do.

The energy in comes from calo-ries in food, drinks and anything else we ingest.

If energy in is greater than energy out then we store the rest as body fat, resulting in weight gain.

In December there are lots of opportunities to go over our required calories, so we need to nd ways to make sure the bal- ance stays even.

Your goal is to ensure you keep the weight o by using simple rules and hacks to keep yourself in balance.

Habits That Help

1. Stay active

Don’t skip yout PT sessions, don’t give up on walking to work, and although it’s cold outside try
to go for a run where you can. Inactivity slows your metabolism so stopping exercise is an easy way to put weight on. An hour’s power walk will burn around 300- 500 calories so simply doing this can make a big di erence.

2. Stay healthy

Avoiding illness is a big one in winter and it’s a lot easier to do than you think. Supplementing with Zinc, Echinacea, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C will keep your im- mune system strong. Wash your hands or use anti-bac gels regu- larly to stop catching infections and illnesses.

3. Rest and Recover

Burning the candle at both ends will lead to you being tired and making bad choices. When you

are tired your brain releases hun- ger hormones that will tell you to eat more when you don’t need
it. Getting a good nights sleep and being well rested will help to negate this.

4. If you’re going out, workout

On the days you are going out make sure to schedule a training session in for that day. Put the extra calories to good use by putting your body in a position where it can use them. If you can’t do it that day then make sure you train hard the next day to burn o that excess energy.

5. Set yourself weekly minimums

Put your training sessions in your diary and treat them like meet- ings. If it is in the diary then it gets done. If something comes up that stops you from making one of them make sure you get it done by the end of the week. This may even be preparing lunches for the week to stay on track.

Guide To Nutrition

This can be a very complex topic but it needn’t be. Let’s stick with the basics:

Eat a high protein breakfast

to stay fuller throughout the morning. Protein aids satiety
and will also help you to recover from training. Protein is also the most thermogenic food group meaning it takes the most energy to break down and burn more caloires.

Eat lots of fruit and veg. Keep your plate colourful to get plenty of micronutrients in. Just because t’s winter doesn’t mean you can live o foods like pastries and pasta. Ensure you are getting food high in bre to support gut health and immune system.

Avoid processed foods and simple sugars. Don’t go for the easy options, seek out healthy foods that are full of micronutrients. Processed foods may cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, giving you low energy and making you hungry again.

Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water. Aim for 2-4L per day depending on your weight. This will help to reduce your appetite and also aids many of the bodies processes including recovery and even fat burning.

Diet Strategies

If you are heading out for dinner or to a party then there are ways you can bring down your overall calories for the day to ensure you don’t go over your daily requirements. Remember that total calories are key!

Low carb

By going low card you will bank calories for the day that you can have later. Alcohol is empty calo- ries that come from carbohydrate so by decreasing these it will be easier to stay within your daily allowance. Low carb is no magic trick but it does save calories.


If you know you are out for dinner then try Intermittent Fasting. IF simply measn you don’t eat until later in the day. By skipping breakfast you effectively save yourself a meal for later. So when you have a big dinner and drinks you can write it o against the two meals you have left for the day. Overall calories count more than food choices so make sure you have some to spare from earlier in the day.

The above is an intermittent fasting diet with low carbs. We can assume dinner out with have high carbs including the alcohol so we have allowed for this. We have also included a gym session to make sure we have kept active and burned some extra calories.

This shows how we can use ALL of the tactics to our advantage, but simply employing one or two will likely be enough.

Christmas party example diet:

6am – Black coffee, vitamins

6:30am – Gym 45mins

7:30am – Protein shake & ba- nana

11am – Eggs, Parma ham, greens

2pm – Chicken & walnut salad 5pm – Greek yoghurt & Berries 8pm – Dinner and drinks out

Making The Best Choices

It’s important to know what you are putting in your body so you can make better decisions.

Eating Out

When eating out always look for a lean meat option like chicken or a sh dish. Swap out things like chips which are deep fried (including sweet potato res – the clue is in the name) and have new potatoes or veg instead. Dishes with creamy sauces are very high in calories so if possible avoid sauces and ask for dress- ings on the side.

Some of these meals will be out with your control so try to pre- pare all your other meals that for that day to give yourself a head- start.


Alcoholic beverages are an easy way to inadvertantly bump up your calorie intake as well, so instead of wines and beers opt for clear spirits like gin and vodka with diet mixers.

Christmas Coffees

Now I’m not talking about Irish coffee here, I mean the special concoctions that the major coffee chains make specially for the holidays. These milk based drinks are lled with syrups and sugars and can be over 500kcal!!! Thats more than a regular meal just for one drink!

If you like milky co ees then a small at white or a skinny latte is your best option. If you want the caffeine without any excess calories then a simple black Americano is your go-to.

Just remember that everything in moderation is generally the best guide. If you had a day where you ate more than you usually would then great, but try to cut back the next day to balalnce it out.

Time Saving Workouts

If you’re short on time then try these HIIT workouts. High Intensity Interval Training gets your heart rate elevated increasing metabolic rate and burning more energy.

Workout 1: Bodyweight Circuit

Time: 20 minutes

Minute 1: 30 Squats Minute 2: 20 Pushups Minute 3: 10 Burpees Minute 4: Rest

Repeat x5

Workout 2: Strength Circuit

Time: 30 minutes
As Many Rounds As Possible

8 Deadlifts
10 Dips
20 Lunges
10 Bent over row 10 V-ups

Workout 3: Sprints

Time: 20 minutes Treadmill sprints 20s sprint / 40s rest Repeat x20

Workout 4: Rower

Time: 20 mins Rowing Machine 30s on / 30s o

It doesn’t matter what you eat between Christmas and New Year, but rather what you eat between New year and Christmas…festive guide to staying fit

  • December 13, 2016