Ahhh…. Christmas. The festive season conjures up images of indulging in your favourite sweets, freshly baked artisan breads and pastries – and for some – their body weight in alcoholic beverages and meats. Even the most stringent diets tend to be kicked to the curb to make way for festive feasting.
Wait a minute. At the risk of sounding like the Grinch who stole Christmas, you did NOT punch, kick and elbow your way to a fighting fit bod, only to let yourself transition back to a big softie over Christmas. Take a minute to think back about those 100 kicks Pradit subjected you to… AFTER 20 sets of hell. It was painful, torturous, but worth those gains. Now picture all of those gains floating away, transformed into fluffy, pillowy clouds… of lard.
Get the picture? OK, here are some ways to maintain your Muay Thai Gains and beat the Festive Flab Gains this festive season – while still enjoying yourself.
1 Exercise early
Twas the night before Christmas… And Andy was setting his alarm clock. No, not to catch mummy kissing Santa, but so that he could smash out a quick workout before celebrations started.
You know once the family wakes up and the feasting starts, pulling yourself away to get some exercise is going to be harder than pulling out your teeth with pliers. So why not get up a little earlier and get it out of the way while most of the household is still in dream land? And realistically, you probably won’t even have to wake up that early – seeing everyone is on holiday.
By the time people head down for breakfast, you’ll be showered, dressed, and ready to greet them with an angelic post-workout glow.
2. Make your workouts short – but effective
A quick 30 minute workout does not have to be less effective than a long one. It’s all about the intensity. Have you seen how competitive food eaters can put away a week’s worth of calories in five minutes of eating? Just emulate them – in the opposite direction. Rev up your workout pace, and your increased metabolism will still be hard at work burning calories hours later when you’re debating whether to have a second helping of X’mas pud.
If long runs are your thing, do 30 second sprints followed by one minute of jogging. If an hour-long weights session is your norm, replace it with an intense burpee workout. For example, a tabata workout takes only four minutes to complete and is famed for its effectiveness. You don’t even need any equipment. 20 second intervals of exercise performed at your maximum effort and 10 seconds of rest in-between for eight sets. And, four minutes of pain is a nothing, compared to kicking for one hour right?
3. Involve the family and friends
Being fit doesn’t have to be a solo exercise. The festive season is a time for sharing with your loved ones, so why not gift them with something that’s good for them – fitness! Turn exercise in a fun group activity. Here are some ideas:
- Bring them for a Muay Thai class (we are open throughout the festive season with the exception of the public holidays – see our festive timetable HERE)
- Lead them through a scalable no-equipment boot-camp (tell them it’ll help them workout and appetite for feasting). hint* You can include shadow boxing and some of the exercises we do at JAI!
- Suggest a post-brunch walk to combat that sluggish feeling – so much more social than having a nap!
- Pull out an iPad and do a quick group workout together. A good one which requires no equipment, and just 4 minutes of your time is HERE
4. Stock up on nature’s candy – fruit.
Strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, watermelon, raspberries, tangelos and peaches are some of the fruit ripe for picking at the moment. Yes, it may seem pricey, but less so if you put things in perspective. If you’re willing to splash out $50 for a bottle of wine, fillet mignon or cake, that same amount will get you a decent serving of nature’s candy and so much more health benefits. Keep a bowl of fruit in plain view for snacking throughout the day.
5. Stay hydrated
What’s your poison? Craft beer? Pinot? Vodka? Anything with bubbles? We don’t want to be that teetotaller, but here are two tips to manage your alcohol intake – and make sure you don’t end up making a drunk fool of yourself this festive season.
- Avoid topping up your drinks before the glass is finished. This will allow you to keep an eye on how much you’re drinking. Tip* It helps to start this before you’re already drunk!
- Drink a glass of water in-between each alcoholic beverage. This works two-fold. It slows down your pace of drinking AND keeps you hydrated. Stick to water – those sugary drinks add up.
- Make sure there are attractive non-alcoholic beverages on offer. A jug of sparkling water with lemon slices or fruit-infused water looks and tastes good, with minimal calories. Stay away from those diet drinks – research has shown the chemicals can actually contribute to weight gain and other negative health effects.