03 Dec 3 Ways To Stay Lean Over Christmas
Starting from December, one question we get asked on a daily basis is:
‘How do I stay lean over Christmas?’
For the majority of you, our answer is pretty simple:
Enjoy the festive period, don’t stress, and DON’T feel guilty about it at all.
The reality is that if you work hard all year, one week won’t derail your physique. Remember, it’s only 5-10 meals ‘off plan’ compared to the 1500-2000 meals you’re typically having during the year.
You’ll be fine! In fact, if you truly enjoy it guilt-free, and focus on the meals as times to connect with friends and family, we wouldn’t be surprised if your body composition stays the same, or even improves.
So many of you are so restrictive and stressed out about food throughout the year that when you’re able to finally relax, and leave your Tupperware at home, good things happen.
The only time we’re more specific with our advice, and tell people to keep an eye on what they’re eating and drinking is in two situations:
1) You have a photoshoot, a big deadline or a physique competition in January.
If you’ve got a big deadline straight after the Christmas, you’ll need to plan a little more carefully. Depending on when it is, you should be able to structure a few meals here and there that are sensibly controlled. For the most part though, it’ll need to be kept closely monitored.
2) You’ve been eating terribly and sitting on the sofa all year, and have only just started your transformation to improve your health and body composition.
If you’re new to your health and fitness journey, the last thing you want to do is completely derail yourself by going off plan. You’re still in the habit formation stage, and so endeavouring to be as sensible as possible is wise. Of course, meals can be built into the plan, but the aim is to exert portion control, be mindful of what you’re doing, and not fall back into old habits. Again, the key is not to stress!
For the rest of you, here are three great tips to keep you lean, healthy and happy over Christmas:
1) Keep Training Hard & Stay Active
While it can often get busy during Christmas time with family events, socials and parties, it’s a good idea to keep your training up throughout.
Even if you’re short on time, a quick 30-minute blitz workout is better than nothing. The key is to get something done – whether it’s a weights workout, a HIIT session or even a short bodyweight circuit at home.
You’ll stay insulin sensitive, burn a ton of unnecessary calories and keep your metabolism ticking.
Another good tip is to remain active. Don’t become a sofa slosh just because it’s the holidays. Stay active, go for walks and maybe try maintain a step average of at least 8-10K a day.
If you’re with family and friends, now’s the perfect time to take everyone with you for a nice, long walk to help digest the feast you’ve all just tucked into!
2) Create Buffers
Over the Christmas period, you’ll typically have at least 5 ‘big’ events: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. On top of this, you’ll probably have a few office parties and social events that’ll include some extra indulgences.
A simple strategy to implement during this time is to create ‘buffers’ in the week, where you intentionally lower calories from fats and carbs.
For example, let’s say you have an office party on the Friday, here’s how you might set up the end of your week:
Wednesday – Normal eating
Thursday – Lower carbs & fats
Friday – Lower carbs & fats during the day, ENJOY at night!
Saturday – Lower carbs & fats
Sunday – Normal eating
When creating these buffers, the key is to NOT skip meals. The last thing you want to do is turn up to an event famished, stressed and ready to gauge.
Keep your protein and veggies up during the day. This way you’ll have created your ‘buffer’ but without the crazy hunger, which will only set you up for disaster and take away from the actual social experience.
On the contrary, there will be some who feel great by fasting all the way up to a big meal, so it will be a case of finding what works for you and your individual lifestyle.
3) Stay Hydrated
You’ll probably be drinking a fair bit more alcohol during Christmas. And that’s completely fine! Just make sure you’re keeping on top of your hydration.
We know it sounds like a boring tip, but it’ll help prevent hangovers, keep a check on any hangover cravings and make you feel a lot better overall.
Enjoy & Experience It All
While we could write a whole thesis on how to stay lean over Christmas, the reality is, it doesn’t matter and isn’t practical.
The real key to coming out of Christmas healthier and happier is to not make it all about the food. Yes, the food is great, but it should be seen as more of a bonus rather than the star of the show.
Instead, make your focus spending as much quality time with your family and friends as possible. We guarantee that if you take this approach, you’ll automatically eat more ‘normally’, as opposed to creating a binge fest that Christmas has often become synonymous with.
So when you’re tucking into your Aunt’s famous Christmas pudding, enjoy it, savour every bite, and DON’T stress or feel guilty about it. January 2 is right around the corner!
We talk about this in depth on episode 51 of RNT Fitness Radio podcast, which you can listen to here, and across any platform:
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