It's hard enough to eat right and exercise regularly over a week or a month let alone a whole year - particularly when holidays are added to the mix. Many of us find exercise becomes less of a priority as we get sidetracked by family, friends and trips away from home.
Its the festive season. Its important to relax, after all, you earn't it and deserve to enjoy your time off, but this doesn't mean you should give up on those healthy habits altogether. There are plenty of ways to stay on top of your game and a lot of these can be fun!
Here's how we do it.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is alcohol. Alcohol affects us a number of ways, if we are trying to lose weight, gain muscle or train for that big event, booze will defiantly be a hindrance.
Like fizzy, alcohol contains calories and these little guys work against you when the goal is to lose weight. If you are working towards muscle gain or your training for an event, alcohol will impact your ability to recover, making those big efforts in the gym or on the trails less effective.
Personally, drinking over the holiday period is a given. It is almost the only time of year I allow myself a few drinks. My friends and family are back in town and it would be rude not to attend a few parties. To maintain my health and fitness whilst keeping up with the social demands the silly season presents I make sure to plan out my 'big nights' (or days).
Not all alcohol is created the same. Beer or cocktails have far more calories in them than a gin and tonic or a vodka-soda and lime. If you are watching your weight and can't say no every time, choosing a different poison might limit the damage. Then, on the other hand, to maintain those gains remember to think about all the energy your body has to put into curing your hangover and not repairing those muscles.
Limit your drinking as much as you can. An ice water with a squeeze of lemon is just as refreshing as a beer on a hot afternoon. Experiment with that old soda stream you got for Christmas 4 years ago and see if you can make a tasty homemade fizz. Soda water and cucumber is surprisingly tasty and one of our favourites is homemade fruit ice tea and soda water, leaving out the sugar of course!
With all the friends and family staying at your place these holidays you might feel the pressure to play the perfect host and have to be at the house all the time to make sure your guests are looked after. Flip the switch on this. Take the nieces and nephews to the park or playground and show them how to have a good time! Everyone loves the swings and its great exercise, both pushing and swinging. Swimming is awesome and a good reason to get outside and enjoy the sun. Take the dogs for a walk every morning or night. Use it as an excuse to get out of the house for awhile or get everyone away from those Christmas movies. You might even be able to talk the grandparents into doing some yoga hosted by a YouTube instructor. Try dragging the kids into the backyard to participate and copy the last workout class you can remember.
Don't let the little things get in the way of being active. If you get everyone up and moving about, the endorphins will start flowing and everyone will thank you for it! I personally find being active with friends is the easiest way to socialise, so these are 'go to' ideas for me.
My favourite thing to do while visiting friends and family for a few days is hiking. Tracks are easily accessible in New Zealand, cater for all fitness levels and are FREE. We often plan our road trips around which hikes we want to do. Whether they are 30 minutes or 3 days, hikes are great fun and you get to see more of this beautiful country.
Alternatively, wherever your vacation destination, there is likely to be a gym nearby. Most will offer classes for casuals. If this is not your thing, then rock out to your usual programme in their gym space.
Running, walking and biking are not only FREE activities, but are also a great way to explore your surroundings. You will be surprised at who you see doing the same thing as you on their daily routine. Its also a great feeling when you can get back after a challenging route. It will be the best you will feel all day.
There are so many things that we can let get in the way of being active. At Central-Fitness we believe it's super important to just keep moving! Doing a little bit everyday adds up to a lot. So instead of returning to work feeling guilty because you ate a bit too much and failed to maintain your health and fitness routine, implement a few of these tips we have shared and you wont even notice that third helping of Christmas pudding!
If you can get out with your friends and family to be active they will thank you for it, but most importantly you will thank yourself.
Remember, your health, fitness and well-being is not a goal with and end, it is a life-style and a bloody good one!
Happy holidays everyone - enjoy the holiday feasts.
From the Central-Fitness Team
2017/2018 New Years Hike on the Motatapu Track