Over the festive period parties are as much of a certainty as mince pies and Christmas trees. Everyone likes to let their hair down and party after a long, hard year. However, too much partying can have negative implications on your fitness goals. It can leave you feeling tired and run down which consequently means that exercise and healthy eating take a back seat. That is why today I am going to provide you with five Christmas party survival tips.
1) MODERATE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE:- This may be one of the biggest clichés in Christmas party articles. However, my advice is slightly different to the normal advice on offer. I understand that it is difficult to moderate your alcohol intake at every party you attend. Furthermore, the occasional heavy night is not going to have long term implications on your fitness goals. So instead of moderating your alcohol consumption on a party by party basis, why not instead try and moderate your alcohol consumption over the entire festive period?
You probably have a good idea of how many festive events you will be attending where alcohol is on offer. Your office Christmas party, Christmas dinner, the traditional nights out you have with your friends over the festive period and New Years Eve are all days that you can earmark in advance as potential heavy drinking sessions. Once you have identified all these days, map them out on a calendar. Then try and split them 50/50 between days where you will be drinking and days where you will be avoiding or seriously moderating your alcohol intake. For example, you may want to drink at your office Christmas party, on the traditional Christmas Eve night out with your friends and on New Years Eve. If this is the case then avoid the alcohol on Christmas Day, volunteer as the designated driver when you go out for a few Boxing Day drinks and just have a couple at your neighbour’s Christmas party. By moderating your alcohol intake in this way you can ensure that you do not have a constant Christmas hangover whilst still enjoying a selection of the festive parties.
2) HAVE A GOOD MEAL BEFORE YOU PARTY:- This is another popular cliché but also excellent advice. Christmas parties are often loaded with high calorie treats and if you go to the party on an empty stomach then you are much more likely to get hungry and indulge. By eating a good meal before you start partying you can ensure that you get some good, nutritious food in your body and minimise any snacking you do at the party.
3) EAT SELECTIVELY AT THE PARTY:- If you do decide to eat at the party then make sure you eat selectively. Certain party snacks are a lot healthier than others. Avoid the sausage rolls, pork pies and Chocolate cakes. Instead go for the fresh, natural slices of meat, fruit portions and salad bowls. Not only are these lower in calories but they also provide your body with high levels of fibre, protein and vitamins.
If you think it will be too difficult to avoid the unhealthy food at every party you attend then take the same approach that I have recommended with alcohol. Map out the parties where you know food will be on offer in advance. Then split them 50/50 between parties where you will be avoiding the processed foods and parties where you will let yourself indulge.
4) EXERCISE AFTER A HEAVY PARTY:- Exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing if you have a particularly heavy party session. Drinking lots of alcohol or eating lots of junk food does not leave you feeling very fresh the next day. Whilst it is true you cannot compensate for a poor diet with exercise, a post party workout can partially offset the negative effects and at the very least help you burn off some of those excess calories. So if you know it is going to be a big party, set your alarm to get yourself up nice and early the next day. When it goes off, face the hangover head on and do some exercise. If you are stuck for ideas hitting the gym, going for a jog or going for a bike ride are all good ways to combat a particularly heavy party.
5) MAKE SURE YOU CATCH UP ON YOUR SLEEP:- Just because it is party season does not mean everything else stops. You still have to go to work (unless you are one of the lucky people who gets an extensive Christmas break) and keep up with all your other duties. This means that something has to give. Very often it is your sleep that starts to suffer over the festive period. If you have a mid-week party to attend but still have to be at work first thing in the morning then a lack of sleep is unavoidable. However, you can minimise the impact of these late nights by catching up on your sleep elsewhere. If you have a Thursday night party but know that your Wednesday evening is going to be quiet, make the effort to get in bed extra early on the Wednesday night. By catching up on your sleep in this way you will feel much less fatigued as the festive period goes on and be much more refreshed when the new year comes around.
Whilst it is extremely difficult to stay as focussed on your fitness over Christmas as you do during the rest of the year, you can maintain some momentum whilst also enjoying the traditional Christmas get togethers. Hitting the gym everyday, avoiding all alcohol and not eating any Christmas treats is unrealistic. However, the tips above should give you the balance you need to party whilst not completely derailing your fitness regime.
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