Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday hints

Well it's that time of year again, the crazy Christmas period where it seems like every day greets you with another christmas party whether it be with work, family or friends. Work Christmas parties are a great way to get a group of people together who largely ignored and tolerated each other all year for a slightly awkward night of merriment where the prospect of plentiful food and alcohol plus the joy of impending holidays and potentially a financial bonus has everyone in high enough spirits to be dancing on table tops and partying til the wee hours of the morning.



Now apart from the obvious dangers of the ill fated office romance, the main danger of this period for many people is the potential increase at the waist line. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a lifestyle of excessive amounts of indulgent food, high alcohol consumption and poor sleeping habits will have a negative impact on your body.

A couple of my clients' goals for this period is simply to not put on weight, so with that in mind, here are a couple of principles to help to get you through the holiday period in the same shape that you began it.

  1. The 80/20 law. Get your nutrition right 80% of the time and you can enjoy your other 20% relatively guilt free. If you know you have two or three nights that will present nutritional difficulties in the one week, I'm not advocating being the fun police and taking prepared meals with you, it's important to enjoy life too.  But if you've identified the 20% of the week that will be difficult, make sure you get the other 80% right. 
  2. Utilise the "Metabolic Window". Most people get the order of their exercise and indulgence wrong. They have a bad weekend with their nutrition and try to make up for it by working out as hard as they can on Monday. This is the WRONG way to go about it. Dr Paul Cribb's research has shown that intense exercise creates a 3 hour window of opportunity, whereby your body will be burning energy at an elevated rate, and potentially for up to 24 hours. Putting this into practice, if you know you're going out on Saturday night, do 20-25 minutes of interval training before you get ready to go out and your body will be incinerating the energy you'll be consuming that night, meaning you won't be storing that energy as body fat.
  3. Drink water. This tip is a simple one and is really relevant all year round but alternate your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water. Excessive alcohol consumption has such a negative effect on your body that it really should be avoided altogether but I'm realistic enough to know that won't be the case for many. So 1 beer, 1 water. You'll be far less likely to over eat and need that late night trip to the kebab shop, and you'll wake up feeling far better the next day.
So there you have it, three tips to get you through the holiday season. I hope you've all had an enjoyable and satisfying 2011, enjoy the time with your family and friends and re-charge the batteries for a massive 2012.

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