Health & Diet

Fitness: Five expert tips for staying in shape over the festive season

Getting active and staying active, especially during the festive season, can be difficult for many slimmers, with a busy social calendar and delicious festive treats at every corner, a person’s fitness, in particular, often takes a back bench while slimmers indulge in everything over Christmas. So, how can you stay in shape over the Christmas period? After all, ’tis the season for indulgence.


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Among the bright lights and festivities, it can be hard to prioritise staying active, especially when juggling a busy social calendar with Christmas shopping, decorating, baking and attending office parties.

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Combine the busy schedule with the excessive consumption of mince pies, pigs in blankets and mulled wine and as a slimmer you may notice that the exercise routines are dropping whilst the waistband is expanding.

But is it possible to enjoy Christmas with all the trimmings and stay trim?

Steven Virtue, Fitness Content and Programming Manager at Total Fitness, shares the best tips for staying in shape over the festive period:

1. Realistic Goals

Steven Virtue stated that one of the most important things to keep in mind as a slimmer is to make realistic goals during the festive season. After all a slimmer is not expected to be a dieting saint 100 percent of the time, however, moderation is key, especially when digging into Christmas treats.

“[Setting realistic goals] is the number one thing to bear in mind when it comes to your fitness regime over Christmas,” he said.

Virtue added: “Everyone deserves a rest and the Christmas break is a great time to take some well-earned downtime.

“Keep sight of your fitness goals but don’t be too hard on yourself – set yourself realistic goals with plenty of time for rest and enjoying the company of family and friends.

“Instead of pledging to hit the gym every single day, try and maintain a low but sustainable level of exercise.

“This could be getting out for a short walk every other morning, doing half an hour of yoga at the weekend, or doing a quick 10-minute blast of HIIT to keep your body in the habit of exercising,” he suggested.


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2. Drink lots of water

What would party season be without a festive tipple or two? Don’t deny yourself that glass of bubbly – or the deluxe hot chocolate with lashings of cream – but do remember to regularly drink water.

“Drinking plenty of water not only suppresses appetite; it also boosts your metabolism, helping you to digest the festive treats faster and more efficiently,” Virtue said.

3. Optimise your workout

“If you’re particularly short on time over the Christmas season, plan a more intensive workout to get the most of your workout window,” suggested Virtue.

“Try VIIT (variable intensity interval training) to target all the muscles in your body, as well as the various energy systems; this will improve strength and endurance, while burning more calories.

“Whatever your preferred exercise is, there are ways to increase your gains in a shorter workout time.

“For example, when practicing yoga, intersperse your poses with quick blasts of cardio, or practice poses whilst holding weights for extra burn. If you prefer strength-training, try increasing your weights – this will induce muscle fatigue faster, shortening your workout time,” said Virtue.

4. Don’t overdo it

According to Virtue, whilst a good fitness regime will help a slimmer stay on track during the festive season, the best way to stay in shape is to combine regular exercise with a balanced diet.

He said: “Be mindful of portion control; it can be tempting to pile up your plate over the holidays or go back for a second helping of Christmas pudding but an easy way to manage weight gain is to stop eating when you feel full.”

The festive season would be nothing without a few delicious indulgences but be sure to also incorporate plenty of vitamins and nutrients into festive meals.

“Load up on leafy greens like brussels sprouts, cabbage and other winter veg; the nutrients will give you a healthy festive glow and help replenish energy levels, so you can keep going throughout party season,” he revealed.

5. Workout with a friend

Combine working out with socialising by buddying up with a friend and commit to working out together over the holiday.

According to Virtue its one of the best ways to stay in shape and on fitness track, he explained: “Exercising with a friend is a great way to ensure you see your fitness goals through, as you can hold each other accountable for showing up to classes or meeting for that morning walk.

“It’s also a great excuse to get some more socialising booked in and have a catch up,” he added.

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