Christmas is all around us, but so are runny noses and phlegmy coughs, so here are a few tips to keep you fit and full of energy over the Christmas season.
1. Keep The Body Working
Enjoy your time off work over Christmas, and enjoy your treat meals and feasts, but don’t slack to a terrible degree. People passionate about training will continue to do so to some degree through December, and will be all better for it come January. The metabolic after effect, or the EPOC effect (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is when your body continues to release energy long after a workout is finished. It is this effect that will give you heightened energy levels through the day. As you train anaerobically (basically very hard) your body cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscle to support its work and recovery, so you keep supplying oxygen by way of elevated heart rate long after the workout is done, burning additional calories along the way. This is why you feel more energetic on training days, because stored energy (body fat) is being released throughout the day as a result (nice). So try fit in a few sessions over the Season to keep energy levels high. Training will also keep your metabolism strong; just remember to wrap up after your workouts pre-shower!
Ooh I have to be careful here. You can review my last post on the blog that details how to make the most out of the additional calories you’ll be eating over Christmas. Here I’ll stick to the topic of energy and well-being. Of course Christmas is about food and eating excessively, but trying to stick to some sort of metabolic plan in your regular meals with help you have increased energy, and will help you burn off the additional calories coming in. Just like the EPOC effect above, a metabolic nutrition plan helps you burn off excess body fat through energy stimulation (which you will feel as increased energy). If you stick to a metabolic plan, even 75% of the time, you’ll be livelier over Christmas and be leaner come January. The nutrients and hormonal balance the metabolic diet contains will help ward off colds through heightened immune support. When your body is in a metabolic pattern you are less likely to be hit with a sugar crash, but more likely to get energy from the sugars you consume. Eating sugars alone gives a higher blood sugar spike, and with it higher levels of fat storing insulin and the resultant sugar crash. So try not completely fall off the nutritional plan, but stick to it where you can and eat crap where you want. (Just don’t tell any other trainers I said that)
3. Get Outdoors
Don’t turn into a complete sad act, sitting indoors watching whatever RTE throws at you, despite the fact in this day and age you can watch any movie you want at any time! Ooh… Gladiator’s on! You have it on DVD anyway, so stop neglecting the dog or your children and get outdoors and enjoy the beauties of nature. Again, as above, activity of any nature will increase energy availability, with the added bonus of burning off the sugars that could lead to fatigue, while being a fat burning activity in itself. People also have trouble getting in good amounts of Vitamin D during the winter, which comes from the Sun (which required being outside). Don’t mind the myths, the sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds to some degree so you will get Vitamin D even in this crappy weather. Vitamin D is important for your energy levels and over-all health, so get out and about in the elements when the opportunity arises.
4. Reduce the Negative
This pertains to anything, in both nutritional terms and the psychological. Don’t over-do anything that will lead to a negative space. This is probably the tip that will be ignored the most, because we just want to enjoy ourselves. All I am advising is that you think long and hard about what level of alcohol you should drink to give you either positive or negative memories about the night, and how many Quality Streets will leave you feeling happy or depressed after wards. I’m saying to drink, but not to be hanging so bad you think you’re in a wardrobe. Negative thoughts and energies are all linked to the body, increasing levels of Cortisol and with it fat storage and muscle wastage. Remain optimistic in everything that you do, focus on what’s important and those things that give you the most joy. Don’t be distracted by what you don’t have and probably don’t need, and keep your attention to the things that you would really miss if they were taken away. (for more info watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”)
5. Have a Plan
If you go wandering off without a clear idea of what to expect more positive actions are likely to be forgotten, such as training and clean eating days. Party season comes first, so you need to work to fit in healthy days. Even if all but 3 days were bad, you would still come out much more positively having trained and eaten well for that small time. It would make a big difference, enough to keep the metabolism stimulated and the body running smoothly. Most people know well in advance what days they will be out, so develop in a good system for what days you’ll behave. You will be able to enjoy all the things you would have enjoyed, but you will be greatly reducing the negative withdrawals faced in January.
Any questions just throw them my way. We’ll be running classes through the Xmas season, so hope you see you there and training. We will be!