Man at His Best

Ask A PT: Am I Undoing All My Hard Work If I Indulge Over Christmas?

December can be the hardest month to train, but feeling guilty about it isn't the solution.

BY editors | Dec 18, 2018 | Fitness & Health

Dear Luke,

I've spent 2018 getting in reasonable shape, but now it's December I'm losing the will to workout. Actually - it's worse than that. I'm in a full party mode. Am I going to throw all that hard work away? Or can I take my foot off the pedal safely till January?

Anon

Dear Anon,

This is probably the most common question that I get asked as we get into December, so firstly take some solace in the fact you are not alone.

A quick browse on the internet will reveal a multitude of tips for staying fit in December, including low calorie Christmas pudding alternatives, sneakily swapping your gin and tonic for a lemonade, alternating rounds with a glass of water and a host of weird and wonderful hangover cures.

While there is a lot to be said for doing anything that will make moderation a little easier, my advice to all my clients when faced with the office party, client lunches and all the additional, unplanned get togethers this season brings is actually very simple: Don’t worry about it!

Just as no one gets in shape by training hard and eating well for a week, no one gets out of shape by having a couple of extra mulled wines and pigs in blankets. While making progress in the gym can sometimes feel painstakingly slow, the go news is that the reverse progress also takes time.

The important thing to remember is that your health and fitness journey is about being able to enjoy a more fulfilling, rewarding (and hopefully longer!) life. It should not be about abstinence from the things that make you happy. If you’re being too draconian with your regime and taking an ‘all or nothing’ approach, you are more likely to burn out and throw the towel in. So give yourself break.

Throughout the year, I ask my clients for 80% adherence to a training or nutritional regime. That way we have a far greater chance of consistency with the whole program and we're in far less danger of giving up altogether when there's a bump in the road.

So: my advice here is to enjoy the party season without carrying any guilt about enjoying your life. Merry Christmas!

Luke Worthington is an Elite Master Trainer and Trainer Educator at Third Space Group. He's also a former professional rugby player and a former world endurance record holder.


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