It’s nearly that time of the year again, Christmas is on the horizon and the start of December is looming. And with it work Christmas parties, celebratory drinks and meals out 2/3 times a week. For many of you working in an office job avoiding the festive drinks is like pretending that the American Presidential election will have no effect on you at all, its basically impossible. Here I’m going to give you a few pointers to help you get in shape and stay in shape for festive period. So when January comes you’re not trying to lose all those extra pounds but you’ll be aiming to hit your pre December fitness levels.
First of all do not get stuck into the mulled wine and mince pies on 1st December. Just because it’s December does not mean you can go straight into Christmas mode. Hold off for a week or 2 and you will have less weight to lose come 1st January.
Prioritise Training and sign up early
November and the first 2 weeks of December is when you need to prioritise your training and hit the gym hard. When you have more free time in your diary block out 3 or 4 mornings/evenings during the week when you can get to the gym. Write down the days you will train in your diary each Sunday before the week starts. Writing your goals and aims down on a piece of paper is a very powerful and a simple method to help achieve them. It also means people won’t schedule meetings at those times.
If you’re already training 3 to 4 times week, add some intervals sessions at the end of your workouts or do 2 or 3 30min cardio sessions during the week on top of your weight training. This will help you burn off more calories and reduce your body fat, giving you a little extra room for those empty festive calories.
If you’re a beginner to the gym, want to lose weight and you haven’t worked out for a number of years then join a gym now, not in December. The gyms will be less busy and you’ll have more chance of adhering to the exercise. Once you have built up a habit of going to the gym in November, hitting the gym again in January will be breeze. If you do not have a program to follow check out my Rush Hour Fit workouts on my Facebook and Instagram page please click here . They are all simple and effective workouts you can follow and only take 20-30mins to do.
Pay Attention to Food Intake
If you haven’t before, start tracking your calories and macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates & Fats) using My Fitness Pal app on your phone. I admit tracking calories can be a pain but it’s a great way to monitor how much food you’re eating and where you can make adjustments in your diet in order to get leaner and not put on any extra weight.
For example an 80KG male working out 3-4 times week will roughly need to consume anywhere between 2800-3200 Kcal depending on age and activity levels outside the gym. With 50% of calories coming from Carbohydrates, 30% Protein and 20% from Fats. If you have a Fit Bit or fitness tracker you can monitor how many calories you burn in one day, and then you can aim to eat 200-400 Kcal less than you’re burning off each day according to you fitness tracker.
Meal prep is another effective way of monitoring your food intake. Preparing your meals will become a lot harder during most of December but you should have plenty of time to prep your food in November. This may mean you have to sacrifice 20-30mins of your evening for cooking and prepping your food. Just record the latest episode of SAS Who Dares Wins or the Walking Dead and save it for some hung-over viewing on the weekend.
After a few weeks of tracking your food you will quickly become aware of what foods contain the most calories, and therefore can adjust you diet accordingly. This awareness will also enable you to plan ahead when the Christmas drinks and parties come around. For example if you know you’re going out in the evening you can eat less during the day which will give you more calories to eat and drink in the evening. From my personal experiences and through my clients, it’s when the fat intake creeps above 25-30% of your total calorie expenditure that you will tend to put on weight.
Once the drinking and eating season commences think of it as calories in calories out situation. Ultimately if you’re consuming more calories through eating and drinking than you are burning off in the day you will put on weight. Exercise more, eat slightly less.
When the reins come off mid December sleep will be the first thing that takes a hit. You’ll be making the most of the new Jubilee night tube, getting up for an 8am conference call wondering why you have a receipt in your pocket from Claridges for £300. In an ideal world 8-9 hours sleep is the goal. If you get less than 7 hours sleep on a regular basis the body fails to function optimally. This includes fat loss. It is during your sleep that all the good things happen, you put on muscle, get stronger and burn fat, and you reinforce skills and facts you leant during the day. Hence the saying ‘I better sleep on it’.
Therefore in November make an effort to go to bed earlier and get 7-8 hour sleep a night. You don’t want to be feeling drained and tired at the start of December.
-prioritise your training (3-4 sessions a week with extra cardio)
-track your food and monitor you calories
-and SLEEP more….
You’ll be able to hit the German beer tent in Winter-wonderland at full throttle without having to worry about drinking too many Steins and eating too many Bockwurts.
Photos and pictures are credited from whus.org, bicycling.co.za, T-nation.com, kegworks .com.