Keeping Fit Over the Holidays: 5 Tips to Get You Through This Christmas!

The holiday season is upon us! This often translates into diets being thrown out of the window, along with fitness routines, to make place for numerous parties, Christmas TV and unfortunately often work deadlines. Everything you have been working so hard for all year comes to a grinding halt as the smell of mince pies wafts through your door! There are many clever and not so difficult ways to ensure that we still enjoy the festivities without completely neglecting the healthy lifestyle choices we have been trying to stick to all year! Here are our top 5 tips!

Start a fitness tradition

These Under Armour trainers are great for running!

There are plenty of family friendly festively themed events. Sign up with your whole family or with a group of friends and make it an annual event! For those who aren’t big runners, sign yourself up for a Christmas Challenge, bring friends along with you and turn it into a little competition! If you are anything like me, a little competition can push you a long way!!  For those CrossFitters out there, there are plenty of festive WODs (WOD is CrossFit-ese for ‘Workout of the Day’) you can do, or even encourage your gym to do! Last year the box I was training at did 12 Days of Christmas WOD on Christmas eve and Eva on New Year’s Eve! Both workouts are particularly gruelling, but in the true spirit of CrossFit, it was a fun way to celebrate the holiday season! This can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones in a fun, active way that is not focused around food or booze!

Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption 

Holiday season always means more parties, work parties, family parties, celebrating with friends. More parties tends to mean more alcohol! I am not going to be the Christmas Grinch and tell you not to drink at all, however there are ways of reducing your alcohol intake! I always make sure to drink lots of water when I am out, try alternating water and an alcoholic beverage. This will keep you hydrated and hopefully stop you from going overboard on calories! Another great alternative is to drink wine spritzers instead of wine, mixing it with soda water.

Find Alternative Ways to Keep Fit

Don’t forget your beanie if you go for a walk!

The holiday season is a great excuse to get super creative with your workouts! If you are going to be having a white Christmas, take advantage of some winter favourites! Go sledding, have a snowball fight, or find the local ice skating rink! The holidays are also a great opportunity to do those neglected household chores! Get out there are do some DIYardwork! Rake the leaves, shovel the snow, cut down any dead branches, it’s a fantastic way to get your heart pumping!

I have always loved a good Christmas walk, and I find it’s always a great way to get the whole family up and out together. If you simply can’t drag yourself (or anyone else!) outside, find some indoor alternatives! There is an infinite amount of bodyweight workouts you can perform at home, grab a skipping rope, some resistance bands and train at home! Alternatively invest in a Wii-Fit Plus and get the whole family moving!!

Try Healthier Recipes – Don’t wait for January to be healthy!

I’m not suggesting that you forego all the delicious holiday favourites, but by finding some healthy alternatives it means that you get to enjoy all social gatherings without quite so many extra calories! You also need to avoid skipping meals in anticipation! Many people like to try and avoid eating for most of the day, trying to save yourself for that special meal! This can often backfire and result in you overeating and selecting all the unhealthy options.  Eat small, light meals during the day that will keep you going without filling you up! Try and aim for high levels of protein and fibre.

Here are a few great recipe swaps that I will definitely be trying this season:

Don’t stress!

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ but jolly is often last thing many of us feel with all the time spent cooking, cleaning, never-ending ‘to do’ lists and the visitors we could probably do without. There are a few simple ways to cut down on this feeling of stress:

  • Maintain a sense of humour! It’s not the end of the world if the potatoes are a little overcooked.
  • Don’t worry about finding ‘the perfect’ gift! This is something that often gets me at Christmas!
  • Set a budget on spending – extravagance at Christmas can often lead to massive stress. I am a huge fan of Secret Santa, it keeps things fun, light hearted and cheap!! These pencil cases make for great Secret Santa gifts!
  • Remember to have fun! Allow yourself to forget about you list of things to do and take a breath and enjoy the moment!

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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