Personal trainer reveals how to enjoy festive fun without wrecking your goals

No matter how dedicated you are to your fitness goals, there’s a temptation to say ‘f*** it’ at Christmas.

You’ll just get back on the fitness train in the New Year, right?

Except when January comes around, your motivation has disappeared along with all the mince pies, the gyms are packed, and it feels like you’re right back at square one of your wellbeing journey.

Perhaps this isn’t the best approach.

Maybe this year, we can just continue with our fitness efforts – but still enjoy some festive fun amid the party season.

To help us do just that, personal trainer Keith McNiven, 38, is here with some top tips.

The wellbeing expert, who founded personal training company Right Path Fitness, reckons we can keep on track through December with a bit of effort – and without having to totally miss out on Christmas indulgence.

Here’s what he recommends…

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Fuel up before a night out

Rather than going out for a Christmas party, loading up on booze, then having a late-night McDonald’s, Keith advises a bit of proactive feasting.

‘Try to have a balanced meal – include a protein-rich source like chicken, turkey or salmon,’ says Keith.

‘This will help you stay fuller for longer and will stop you from reaching for any festive snacks.’

Drink smart

While you’re at that party, choose your booze wisely.

Keith says: ‘Avoid alcoholic drinks with high levels of congeners like whisky and tequila, and opt instead for spirits like vodka and gin.

‘It’s also a good idea to avoid drinks with added sugars. Choose sugar-free mixers to reduce your calorie intake.’

Plan, plan, plan

Preparation is everything, and that includes planning your workouts carefully.

Make sure you’re still carving out time for exercise throughout December, but being mindful of how festive plans might affect things.

Schedule in your exercise around any events, using the day of the event to get your sweat on and get your body feeling great.

Keith said: ‘I wouldn’t recommend a strenuous workout with a hangover – your body needs some time to recover.

‘The day after a big night you should go for a walk or something equally less strenuous, and then you’ll be ready the following day to go full steam ahead.’

Avoid the drunken munchies

Remember that midnight feast we mentioned earlier? Even if you do have a good meal before you start drinking, you might still get hungry post-party.

Help your drunk self out by advance-preparing a tasty, nutritious snack to come home to. If it’s easier and quicker than having to wait around for an UberEats delivery, that’ll do the trick.

‘I would definitely avoid the drunken munchies and the next day eating lots of unhealthy foods – this is the mistake a lot of people make,’ says Keith.

‘I would suggest preparing some healthy tasty food at home pop in in your fridge – homemade burgers are a great choice.’

Hydrate

Keith advises: ‘Try to have a few glasses of water throughout the night – you’ll thank yourself the following day!’

Not only will this help to tackle your hangover, it’ll also steer you away from sugary drinks when you’re tying to hydrate.

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