Planning to relax and kick back your heals with some wine and treats this Christmas? Well why not, you’ve earned it. Drink, food and festivity is what December is all about, but the fact is that a lot of people take a step away from fitness during the festive season. It is the cause of the New Year resolution. The pounds pile on, caused by excess calories from carbohydrates and fats, so this plan focuses on trying to use these calories to full advantage instead of letting them turn into fat.
Without further a due, here are the top 5 tips we have to stay fit and lean for 2013!
5. Stay Active
There are things to do over Christmas that don’t just involve a couch and a glass of wine. Try to stay as active as possible. If it snows, get out there and get active in the snow. Go ice skating, do some extra window shopping or go for some nice cool walks down Dun Laoghaire pier. Even play with your kids and their new toys. These are all low intensity exercises that burn fat. What’s not to enjoy about that?
4. Moderate the Vino and Don’t Mix with food
Have a few glasses, but try not to over-indulge. Christmas booze is a big factor in holiday weight. If you’re a wine drinker, try adding a little diet soda water or 7-Up free to your glass. Not only will it reduce your over-all calories but it will leave you a little fresher come the alarm bells next morning. If you’re a beer drinker, try switching to bottles or having a drink of water in-between pints. Not only will this reduce calories, but it will keep you nice and hydrated. Remember, dehydration is a cause of stress which can lead to fat storage.
There is also an effect that alcohol has on how you digest your food. Alcohol is a separate energy source to usual food containing protein, carbs and fats, and it contains its own calories. As you drink alcohol, your body senses it in your system and turns it into your primary energy source. As you drink, you burn the alcohol as fuel. Doesn’t sound too bad, until you eat a chip butty at the end of the night and all the now unnecessary calories from fat and carbs are stored as body fat. I’m not saying it’s good to eat anyway, but at least you’d usually burn some of it off as you eat it.
Have fun, but try to watch your over-all drink intake and what you eat during. It could make a big difference in how you look and feel come the New Year. Stay hydrated!
3. Keep Training
Training (especially metabolic conditioning) increases your daily calorie expenditure, meaning that more of the calories you eat over Christmas will simply be burnt off. If you stay in an energy burning state you’ll get away with eating more of the wrong things, having a massive impact on how you’ll look come January. You can of course tone it down in and around the key festive days, but try to maintain your fitness and muscle structure over the season by getting to the Underground when you can (and maybe doing nothing anyway).
You can leave it to have to pick up the pieces in January, or maintain your fitness by attending maybe 1 or 2 classes a week.
2. Train like you Eat
The one thing that can be said about Christmas feasts are that they can support the growth of muscle. You should know by now that muscle is the main variable in your metabolism, so adding some muscle in December will really help you stay lean and increase your fat loss efforts significantly come January.
I wouldn’t expect anyone to take it to this extreme, but I actually train on Christmas Day! I know it sounds nuts, but it’s a great tradition for me. By training my muscles hard and burning all their stored carbohydrates I can eat loads of chicken, turkey, potatoes and stuffing guilt free. The proteins contained in the meats are helping regrow the muscle fibres I’ve just trained. The high GI carbs in the potatoes and stuffing etc are used to replenish my lost glycogen stores, instead of hanging around the body waiting to be turned into fat. The excess fats found in the Quality Streets that are bound to be consumed have less of an impact on my body as my metabolism is still charged and some calories are being burnt off as heat.
It takes any guilt out of feasting, and actually serves a purpose. My muscles feel full instead of my belly. It’s a Christmas Miracle.
1. Have a Christmas Nutrition Plan
Here’s a fantastic tip we definitely recommend for greatly minimising excess calorie storage during the festive food plunge. Along with on-going training this will be the biggest factor on whether you come out of December looking fab or feeling glum. So let’s look at what you can do.
Many diets are formed around eating a large portion of your calories in one time, instead of spreading them out. I wouldn’t usually recommend this, it actually goes against the metabolic diet we follow, but what makes it perfect for the festive season is in the similarity of your Christmas feast to the calorie loading meals of these diets. Of course over Christmas we eat a little more than normal anyway, and then we follow these up with much larger feasts. We are already powered, and then we whack a serious amount of calories into our systems. Like over-charging a battery that was full. But what if our batteries were low…
I can promise you little to no weight gain if you follow this plan:
Mark out your festive meals. These are the big meals or splurges that are likely to put on your holiday weight by storing the unused calories. Seeing as our body can store a certain amount of carbohydrates in our body in the form of sugar (muscle/blood/liver), we should deplete our bodies of these sugar stores before we feast. This means that a large portion of the carbohydrates you eat will be used to replenish muscle glycogen. As I said earlier, training depletes muscle glycogen better, but you can also do it to some level by removing carbohydrates from your diet in the few days before your big meal.
You should still eat, and even enjoy your food, just cut down on any breads/grains/fruits etc to allow your blood sugar levels to drop. If you eat very sparingly just protein and fibre on the days before the meals, much less of that meal gets converted to fat. The biggest effect will come from training while following this plan. You may actually lose body fat. So you can enjoy sweats and festive treats and still come out slimmer, now that’s definitely a Christmas miracle!
Enjoy the season everybody. Hope to see you in session soon.