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Don't let all the hard work go to waste! Tips to stay on track over the festive period

The most important thing is to enjoy the festivities but that doesn’t mean writing December off completely, writes personal trainer David Last.

THE FESTIVE SEASON is kicking in fast, the lights are now on, the trees are slowly but surely going up and it won’t be long until we are tuned back in to Christmas FM.

Generally speaking around this time of the year you will see the gyms quite busy again and a lot of you are really now back in the swing of things after the summer months. But coming fast around the corner is a festive period of good food, late nights, parties and alcohol.

Of course, the priority should be to enjoy the festive season.

However, that doesn’t mean you should treat December as a write-off when it comes to looking after your health, fitness or lifestyle goals and wait for a clean slate starting all over again in January.

Some of you spend enough time chasing your goals looking after your health and fitness all year round and now shouldn’t be the time to let that hard work go to waste.

Here are my top tips on how to keep you going over the month of December with the goal to try keep it relatively healthy so you won’t feel like you’re starting all over again in 2018.

Have a plan and stick to it

December is a month with a lot going on. There are going to be parties and get-togethers almost every night over the festive break for many. And for most Irish people social gatherings tend to involve late nights, alcohol and fast food.

Now is the time of the year where you should enjoy yourself but pencil in and choose the gatherings you go to — you don’t need to be attending every social event.

On top of that, plan out a training programme and the days you plan to maintain your gym visits.

Get out early and move when you can

Many of us will spend a lot of December nights watching sports, Christmas box sets or Netflix. What I suggest is to leave some time to get up and move.

This could be anything from a walk, run, or even get a home workout in. What helps me in December is training early in the morning and getting that job done first thing — if you leave it until later you probably won’t get around to it and more than likely something is going to pop up later in the day.

You don’t necessarily have to force yourself out to the gym nor do you need to do this everyday but aiming to try move, stretch or get a little sweat on a few times over the festivities will make everything that little bit easier when you return back to your full routine in January 2018.

Don’t deprive yourself

After all, it is Christmas.

Now is a time to be realistic with your lifestyle choices in December. This is a time of the year where you should and can afford to cut loose a little. I have talked about having a realistic approach when it comes to your nutrition and I have always felt that having a 80/20 realistic approach is something that always works in the long run.

Let yourself a little loose at this time of the year and go with a 70/30 approach as realistically there is going to be far too much nice food around. Enjoy it but just don’t go overboard.

Get the simple things right

At this stage we should know a lot of the simple basic things. It’s the basics I always try and write about here on a weekly basis and the reason is because these are the things that work. Believe it or not it’s the basics and simple things that really are the little BIG things.

Here is a little checklist that can help you keep accountable over the month of December:

  • Keep a bottle of water around you at your desk in work and drink at least 2.5 litres during the day.
  • Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Give yourself a goal of exercising at least 2-3 times a week in December.
  • Aim to get enough protein in your day (If you are really not sure on this then check out this article).
  • Continue to stay on track with your food prep. For the month of December we can easily loose control of our meals, prepping our food or even getting that weekly shop in. My advice is to still use those one or two hours of the week sitting down planning your shop and weekly meals.

Here is an example below of a quick recipe idea which helps me satisfy my sweet tooth over the course of the week.


David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send me a direct message here.

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