Your Christmas health and fitness round-up

How to focus on having a healthy and successful Christmas period and keep on top of your game.

With just a couple of shopping days left for you to cram some last minute present buying in, we discuss how to keep on your game for the crucial few days of Christmas and how to have a perfect balance between enjoying yourself and staying in top shape.

Over the last few weeks we have looked at present buying ideas for the fitness fan, setting new year's health goals and sticking to them. This week sees you have just a couple of more days of the festive period to make sure you have planned effectively and to make any last minute changes to your plans. With most of your shopping (hopefully) already done and finished you should be thinking of finishing wrapping and looking at exchanging your gifts with family (or Santa, depending on your beliefs :) ).

With your presents hopefully sorted you should have a last minute re-think of who to send a card to and if anyone has dropped off your list then make sure you write one swiftly and get it in the post ASAP! Your decorations should be in full swing and your home should be looking like Santa's grotto and the next thing to consider is have you got space for the essentials? No I'm not talking mince pies or if you have enough cases of beer and alcohol ready. I'm thinking more is your gym bag ready and prepared for those last minute sessions before the Turkey dinner? Are your workout clothes all washed and available for you? Does your week's plan have enough YOU time amongst the present exchanges and the family meetings?

It may sound silly to some people but if you are committed to staying on top of your weekly routine, be it a daily run, your four times a week in the gym or the home workout then you should be thinking of these things no matter how small they may seem. Pre planning is possibly one of the most important traits for the most hardcore and dedicated of health enthusiasts. Without some real thought into planning your festive time off then you will struggle to really see any benefits or continue your good progress through Christmas.

What about your diet?

Nobody will tell you off or having the odd cheat day here and there as long as you training doesn't suffer and you are keeping active throughout your binge eating! Christmas time can sometimes present a different challenge all together! With the reduced daylight hours, sugar laden treats, warm nights by the fire and many alcoholic tipples to go around it can be easy to slip into some bad habits over the Winter months but you can and you WILL avoid a complete meltdown!With good planning why not throw in some small dietary changes in order to lighten the load and keep yourself trim and in shape during Christmas!

Try a spiced fruit tea instead of a fruity mince pie to avoid those unwanted sugar and calories. It is a well known fact that nearly half the time you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty so make sure you are keeping your metabolism going by taking in some much needed vitamin C and digestion boosting green tea and fruit flavoured hot drinks.
Swap the stodgy Christmas cake for a light butter free orange citrus cake for pudding. The heavy classic of a Christmas pudding can sometimes leave an overpowering effect after a full hot dinner so swap it out for a lighter cake if you have a sweet tooth. If you really want to ramp up your efforts and cut down on the sugar and the fats then leave the cakes alone and just go make yourself a protein shake instead!
Try to ignore the opening of the chocolate tin and avoid all wrapper opening at all costs as once you start it can be tough to stop. Why not pre-plan and make some protein balls and store them in a container ready for when you have a desire for something sweet but with a protein packed punch!

Along with all this to keep an eye on don't forget that the month of December is a perfect time for you to remind yourself of your new year's goals and to stay motivated. Why not pin up a couple of A4 pieces of paper with your goals on around the house so you can be reminded just what exactly you are working toward come the new year. Visual notifications are often the best kind of reminder of why you are doing something in the first place so keep your mind's eye active and your fitness and health goals at the top of the tree for some good progress, and a great Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody and remember to have fun with it all!

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