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6 Ways to Survive Christmas
Roast Potatoes, Honey-Roasted Parsnips, Mince Pies, Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake, Pigs in Blankets, Turkey & Stuffing, Yorkshire Puddings…
What’s that noise?
Your Stomach Rumbling?
Oh wait, no! That’s MY stomach rumbling!
Why do we save all the best food for Christmas? Because it just makes it that much more special!
That’s right, I said it. Those foods are delicious and they are a big part of the joy of Christmas!
I’m not some hard-grinding drill sergeant telling you that ‘you MUSTN’T eat good-tasting food because it’s bad for you’ and ‘you MUST stick to your eating regimen 247365’
I’m a regular, food-loving, human being and I’m not afraid of a bit of *discrepancy* in my diet here and there.
But I can guarantee you that I will still be keeping active, energetic and becoming BETTER whilst the majority are becoming worse… wanna know how?
Mastering the Basics
Sure, I won’t be on my regular training program and I probably won’t train quite as much as normal, but that doesn’t mean I have to do nothing…and neither do you!
When I’m in my regular weekly routine, I can take time to get a thorough, complex workout done with advanced training principles… but family is important to me and I will be spending a lot of time with everyone to celebrate Christmas.
So I have to train smart;
Which is something that a lot of people get wrong in their training.
They learn the basics, progress and never look back…neglecting the basics which form the foundation of every movement you can do.
I myself am guilty of this from time to time… but not at Christmas!
I look forward to Christmas as the time where I get to go back to the basics and continually practice these as I know they will have instant benefits in the more complex areas of my training.
When I’m talking about basics, I mean breaking it down to the fundamental movements that every exercise will originate from… Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Rotate, Lunge and Brace. (there are a few more but they’re not essential)
All these movements have a primary exercise that performs them and it is these primary exercises that I will be trying to master technically over Christmas:
Push = press-ups
Pull = pull-ups
Squat = overhead squat
Hinge = stiff-legged deadlift
Rotate = barbell twists
Lunge = reverse lunge
Brace = plank
These are the primary exercises YOU should be focusing on (obviously, check with an expert to ensure you are safe and able to perform these exercises first)
They are very technically difficult exercises and you should devote a lot of time into improving your ability to perform them as they will have instant transfer into the more complex areas of your training.
Eating with Health in Mind
That title probably terrified you and made you think I’m going to tell you to feel bad about having less-than-perfect foods and form a negative-reinforcement when you eat these foods.
Well, I’m not. I’m just going to tell you to be mindful of the food you’re eating, the process it will go through within your body and the affect it will have on your goals.
The more aware you are of what’s happening, the more in control of the temptations you will be.
This is a short subject on the surface but can suddenly become incredibly complex, so I’m going to save the lecture and instead let you Email me your questions if you want to learn more.
Knowing What YOU Need
This could be a very simple one if the knowledge was all available for you to grab for free.. but unfortunately it’s not and so you must rely on experts (like me) to pass down the knowledge in a more understandable way so you can apply it to your life.
Basically, knowing what you needs is about learning your maintenance calories, goal-based calories, macro breakdown and appetite. Each one of these could easily become an article in themselves, but I’m going to keep it short and just say:
Once you know what your body needs to remain the same, you can work out what you body needs to achieve your goal, then you can look at how much of each macronutrient you need, before putting this into context of what your appetite is like.
Fortunately for you, I’ve already written up a walkthrough guide on this that you can check out here.
Sticking to Your Portions
This is kind of an extension from the last one in that, once you know what your body needs in order to achieve your goal, you’ve got to make what you eat match that. You can still have all those delicious foods that come round for only a small part of the year, but just have portions that allow those foods to fit into your requirements. You’ll be surprised how easy this is once you know what you need and you’re clear on your goal.
Loosening some Bolts
Unless you’re hyper-mobile (if you are then I can offer you some advice on that), you’ve probably got some unwanted tightness and tenderness lurking in the depths of your muscles and joints. With the more laid-back lifestyle of Christmas and the less time spent training, you should have plenty of opportunity to be working on your flexibility, mobility and movement efficiency. A simple stretching routine could be all you need to fix the problems that you have and allow you to perform better when January comes around.
Here are some main joints to focus on and 1 key exercise for fixing each one (working from the ground up):
Ankles = Calf & Soleus
On the stairs, face up the stairs
with the ball of your feet on the edge of the step. Take one foot off the step and let your bodyweight push through the stretching leg’s heel. Hold for 15 seconds and then bend the knee to hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat on both legs
Knees = Hamstrings
Hold a work surface or ledge about hip or waist height. Place feet in front of the surface about hip-width apart and grab the edge of the surface firmly with your hands. Keep legs straight and let bum fall back behind you, lowering your chest to intensify the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat again shortly after.
Hips = Glutes & Hip Flexors
Sit on the edge of a chair that has
feet flat on floor with a roughly 90° angle on the knee joint. Raise one leg to place the foot upon the resting legs knee. Allow raised leg’s knee to fall out to the side as you lower your chest upon your resting leg’s thigh. Hold for 20 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Lower Back = Erector Spinae & Quadratus Lumborum
Stand tall and inhale deeply as
you raise your ribs and shoulder high. Breathe in as much air as possible and allow your knees to bend slightly, before powerfully exhaling and relaxing your entire upper body to fall upon your thighs. Try to completely relax in this position for 30 seconds before gradually lifting back up, one vertebra at a time, starting at the base of the spine.
Upper Back = Rhomboids & Infraspinatus
Stand tall and link hands together. Extend arms out in front and allow shoulders to stretch forward also, you shoulder feel your shoulder blades separate. Hold for 10 seconds and then continue stretch with head relaxed and facing down toward ground, holding for a following 10 seconds.
Chest = Pectorals and Latissimus Dorsi
Place hands on wall at shoulder height, double shoulder-width apart. Step back from the wall as far as possible whilst keeping your hands firmly planted. Slightly bend your knees and stick you bum out as your let your chest and head fall between your arms. Hold in position for 15 seconds, the repeat with hands at shoulder width for a following 15 seconds.
Try find time to repeat this twice daily and you’ll feel excellent when you step back into your routine.
To be honest, I know that the majority of the people reading this won’t sustain it. And that’s not because they lack motivation or because they don’t care… it’s because they’re stuck in the one moment that they are currently living and not considering the fact that health & fitness is serious and not just for ‘active people’; it’s a vital part of life and has been proven every single time to improve quality of life, enjoyment, energy levels, confidence and overall health & longevity.
If you were thinking of putting it off until after Christmas; DON’T!
Don’t let anything get in your way, because your health is so precious that you can’t live without it…literally! No Health = No Life. More Health = More Life. That may not always mean length of life, but it definitely means quality of life!
It doesn’t matter how much you do, just do something!
Sure, I’d love it if you were totally honed in and didn’t let the time of year impact your training at all.
But I know that’s not exactly desirable for most of us (me included).
So whatever your goal, whatever your lifestyle, however much you ‘love’ Christmas food, JUST DO SOMETHING!
And I know it’s not easy and other people, who aren’t on the same journey, will struggle to understand and perhaps will even want to tempt you off of the road you’re travelling.
So, if you want guidance, support or even just someone to talk to about, I’m here for YOU.
Call me, Email me, Turn up to RAW or whatever other means you have of contacting me – just do it.
I want to help you in every way I can.
The best way I can do that is if you become a member, but if that’s not ideal for you for whatever reason then please know that I still want to support you and hold your hand every step of the way to your better, fitter, happier life.
Now have a fantastic Christmas and I hope to have the opportunity to see or speak to you very soon