Late night Christmas movie binges & festive food comas - holiday season traditions aren’t always favorable for your fitness goals. For the serious lifters living that monastic life of meticulous meal prepping, morning sweat sessions and early nights, there’s nothing like a month of staff parties and plates of stuffing to disrupt your daily rituals.
But this holiday period we want you to know you don’t have to sacrifice that second serve of pudding in pursuit of a personal best at the gym. With some thoughtful planning and realistic expectations, you can have your [Christmas] cake and eat it too - keeping your fitness goals on track while embracing everything great about the festive season (family, food, avoiding awkward gift face).
1. STREAMLINE YOUR SESSIONS
More lunches with the in-laws means less time in the gym over the festive season - and this is something we should embrace! Use the opportunity to streamline your sweat sessions and teach yourself how to make the most of your time in the squat rack. Focus on the big compound movements that work multiple muscle groups like squats, deadlifts, bench press and cleans. You can easily cut that two hour workout into a 45 minute full body session and still see significant strength gains!
2. EMBRACE BODYWEIGHT
Hitting the road and won’t have access to your house of gains? Don’t sweat it. Whether it’s a beachside break or rural retreat, you can still hit high intensity workouts using one of the most effective machines of all - your body. Gentle on your joints yet ultra-functional, bodyweight workouts are perfect for lifters who don’t have access to the iron but still want to keep their fitness goals on point. Training apps like Pushh have a heap of home workout programs that bring the benefits of the weight room to your backyard!
3. USE THE CARBS TO POWER YOUR PBs
While we can’t link you to a study that proves eating an entire gingerbread house is the perfect pre-workout, we’d still urge you to simply see those third and fourth servings as fuel for your next workout. Food should be fun and free of anxiety or guilt, empower yourself to embrace the extra carbs and use them to train harder and lift heavier with confidence. All of the extra glycogen in your muscles is ideal for high intensity movement, meaning there’s never been a better time to try for that new record in the squat rack or spin bike.
4. TIME YOUR WORKOUTS AROUND YOUR BIGGEST MEALS
Our bodies are better at burning carbs and sugars (rather than storing them as body fat) after an intense workout. Time your heaviest meals to take place one-to-two hours after your sweat session. After a workout is when your body is most sensitive to carbohydrates. Carbs consumed post-workout are more likely to be used for recovery and stimulating strength and size gains, and are less likely to be turned into fat!
5. TAKE DELOAD OFF
The festive season can actually be a great opportunity to take a break from your gym grind (you’ve survived a year of home workouts, we’re sure you can survive the holidays with your gains intact). Reframing the holiday season as a deload and embracing recovery will allow your body to reset, helping to get rid of fatigue and soreness. Studies show that periods of deload followed by a return to training can result in greater fat loss while supporting strength and fitness goals.