It’s summer in Australia and Sydney has turned into a city of non-stop events and celebrations. Christmas is coming up, New Year celebrations- the encouragement to eat and drink plenty of the bad stuff is all around! You have less time to relax and stay focused on your health and fitness and this can put stress on your mind and body!
The question is- how to keep lean over the holidays? Here are some of my TOP TIPS that I use to help me get through the holiday period.
1. Come into it prepared
If you know you have a period of festivities coming up- be in super shape before it kicks off! Do a challenge and come into the down time in great form. It will be hard to improve your healthy habits during times like these, so make sure your starting point is a good one!
2. Take the car
Don’t be too easily influenced by people around you. Go and be social- but you don’t need to drink at every event! Taking the car is a great excuse to stay on the waters, and your friends will love to have a designated driver ;)
3. Nutrition is the key- Stick to the diet and plan in your cheat days
Alcohol is a macronutrient- meaning it supplies your body with calories (energy). Be smart with your alcohol consumption when you do drink- be mindful of amounts and choose low sugar drinks when possible.
Don’t jeopardise your diet. Stick to your plan! Don’t have late night cheat meals, don’t eat bad food after a night of drinking. When you go out for dinners- choose your food wisely! You can eat healthy when you eat out! Choose grilled lean proteins, healthy fats and swap fries for a side salad, ask for sauces on the side. Plan in your cheat meals for certain occasions just as you would normally do, and adjust your food intake accordingly before that meal.
4. Increase fibre in your diet
Fibre helps keep your gut health in control. Fibre also helps you keep fuller for longer which will help you manage your food intake. Also, more calories are needed to burn high fibre foods than low fibre ones. Taking a fibre supplement during holiday periods will help you minimize the damage of gaining too much fat during the holiday season.
5. Consume healthy fats in your diet
Make sure you obtain lots of healthy fats from your diet. It sounds strange- but good fats will help you lose fat! It will also help you build lean muscle mass, aid with memory function, support a healthy immune system and minimize damage from free radicals in the body. Some sources of healthy fats include:
Alternatively, you may want to take a daily fish oil supplement or CLA supplement
6. Increase protein intake
Get that protein into your diet! Try and have protein in most your meals and snacks! Protein is the most thermogenic macronutrient, meaning we need the most energy to break it down! It will also help you keep fuller for longer. Chose lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and high protein vegetable source. Be mindful how the food is prepared- chose grilled rather than battered or fried. Adding in a protein supplement and BCAA’s for your training sessions will also help keep your protein intake high. Have a protein shake as a snack when you are on the go!
7. Add in more cardio and keep weight sessions more intense
With the added holiday alcohol and food- you will be consuming more calories. Adjust your training accordingly. I don’t do a whole lot of cardio normally- but love adding in some cardio during the holiday season. HIIT is an effective way to lose fat and build muscle! I also love keeping weight sessions more intense and I add in a lot of supersets and tri sets for my workouts! Following a plan will help keep you in check- check out my 7 week workout plans if you need some help!
8. Lead an active lifestyle
Go far walks, hikes, adventures and swims with your friends! Don’t make all your catch-ups with your friends about drinking and eating junk! Be healthy and active together!
9. Do fitness classes with your friends
Keep yourself and your friends accountable. Try out a few different training classes for variety in your training. Challenge your friends and let them challenge you! Training is more fun when you do it with a friend.
10. Realize that you are minimizing the damage, not avoiding it!
If you do chose to have a few drinks here and there and enjoy holiday season food, keep in mind that it will affect your body and how you feel. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you feel and see changes happening. This is not an excuse for you to give up. Realize that it will happen and stick to your plan as much as you can. When the holiday season is over you can put your arse into gear again with a new fitness goal!
I hope you have enjoyed my 10 tips to stay lean over the holidays!