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24 Nov

Want to keep your gym gains over the festive period? Here’s how

Written by Tracey Nash

Image by @winnieharlow

There’s no denying that the festive season can bring our gluttonous side. Whether it’s at the work Christmas party or family dinners, this is the time of year that many of us like to indulge. One of my favourite things to do around Christmas is bake. Sugar cookies, apple and blueberry pies, layered cakes, brownies. You name it and I’ll bake it! At a recent dental check-up, the dentist asked me whether I have a high sugar diet. Without a moment’s hesitation I said ‘No’. I lied and I’m not proud of it. We all deserve to enjoy guilt-free treats, so here are three ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle over the festive season.

Stay hydrated

The danger of overindulging in syrup-based drinks, sweet desserts and salted snacks is dehydration. There’s no better way to flush out the Christmas cocktails and gingerbread lattes than with good ol’ water. You can keep on top of your water intake by starting your day with water (tea or coffee doesn’t count). Challenge yourself to hit a target at certain points in the day. My current daily goal is to drink 2 litres of water before midday and 3-3.5 litres of water by the end of the day. A better water intake will not only work wonders for the inside of our body, but for your skin too. Maintaining a glow to your skin during winter is always a bonus.

If your preference is flavoured water, avoid the store-bought kind as the flavourings often include preservatives and have a high sugar content. As an alternative you can opt for infusing your water with fruits that are high in antioxidants such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. My go-to is to squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup of hot water and drink while hot. Lemons have a high source of Vitamin C and flavonoids, which also aid the body’s immune system in fighting sickness, which is a great benefit during cold and flu season. Drinking hot lemon water also helps the body to produce collagen which can result in improvements in the skin’s appearance, as well as increasing metabolism and maintaining a flat stomach too.

Take your vitamins

A great way to stay on top of your health is to take vitamins and supplements to support a healthy lifestyle. If you are new to taking vitamins, here are a few that you can start with;

Vitamin C tablets are a great source of antioxidants. They help to support the immune system and reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Effervescent Vitamin C & Zinc tablets are also great for the immune system and can be taken as an alternative to the regular Vitamin C tablets. The beauty of these tablets is that you can hyper dose with up to three tablets a day, for a maximum of 3-5 consecutive days if you need an extra boost of energy in between the party season or want to quickly recover from a cold.

Vitamin D contributes to good bone health, a high priority vitamin for anyone who plans to dance their way through Christmas to New Year. Trust me, your knees will thank you!

Zinc helps to support the body’s natural immune defences and is also used to reduce tiredness and fatigue. This can be taken by itself daily, or with Echinacea at the first sign of a cold.

Maintain your fitness

Whether you’ve had a year of being consistent with your fitness, or you never started, this is the perfect time to maintain it. If you’ve committed to a gym membership, don’t let those gains go to waste in the last few weeks of the year. Ask yourself, What’s the minimum amount of time I want to spend in the gym? Thirty to forty-five minutes? Then commit to that time throughout the festive period. If you’re an early riser, then I would recommend heading to the gym before 9:00am to beat the traffic and crowds. 

While the roads become more congested with Christmas and Boxing Day retail traffic, you can opt to increase your steps by walking more. Why not make it a fun challenge by setting up a competition with friends and family members. Utilise the health app on your smart phone, Fitbit, or Apple Watch to set up a competition to see who can achieve the most steps between Christmas and New Year’s Day. You can even set the stakes higher with sweet tooth challenges: For every dessert you eat, walk 1 mile. Now that’s a challenge I could win! 

As the year comes to an end and the celebrations begin, you can rest assured that you don’t need to deny yourself a treat or two. As long as you are making an effort to treat your body well and burn off the calories you consume, you’re on the right track.