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Every year at Christmas time we read article upon article on how to “beat the Christmas kilos” or “avoid undoing all your hard work”. So let’s set the record straight on holiday fitness & training.

The Real Truth

The above examples are the opposite of how you should approach Christmas, and buying into these articles only adds fuel to the negative fire. “tis the season” to celebrate the year that was… and to be MERRY! Not a grinch.

Instead of thinking negatively about the holiday season and going backward, why not look at ways you can set yourself up for 2021 and move forward?

Mental v Physical

What if we told you that the mental side of health was just AS, if not MORE important than the physical?

Stress and a lack of sleep are two of the biggest factors in weight gain, strength loss, poor mood, and injury. While striving to achieve a balanced life where you get enough sleep and stress less may be the ultimate goal, we know that life gets in the way and it’s easier said than done. Instead of looking at the festive season as a dangerous period, how about looking at the opportunity it provides you?

What if you gave yourself the green light for 2 weeks?

A chance to relax, sleep and eat delicious food (calories = recovery!), reconnect with loved ones, and hitting a big mental and physical reset button after the year we have all had.

A study by Neufer P. D (1989, p 302) found that reductions in VO2max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise) have been reported to occur within 2 to 4 weeks of detraining. Adaptations to aerobic training may be retained for at least several months when training is maintained at a reduced level. So please take that break!

Keep an eye on how you are treating your body if holiday fitness & training are on your mind – go for walks, play backyard cricket with the family, surf, swim, dance, yoga. Find movement that your body enjoys – the list is endless. Have you heard of NEAT? Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended that is not from sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise. A study by (Levine et al., 1995, p.212) found that as humans overeat, activation of NEAT dissipates excess energy to preserve leanness and that failure to activate NEAT may result in ready fat gain. Park your car further at the shops, take the dog for a jog, accidentally find yourself at the bottom of a big set of stairs ????

The Takeaway

Just don’t stress about what you are doing! You really can’t go too far backward in 2 weeks (trust me, we’ve tried!).

Eat that pudding or raw banoffee pie, get some sun in the skin and salt through the hair, add that extra brandy butter and ice cream, have that afternoon nap, and don’t feel guilty for choosing your loved ones over exercise.

Just know that come January 11th, the ION team will be there to get you back into the swing of things with our updated programming and fresh approach to the year ahead. Or if home training is more your thing and you want to continue exercising at your own pace anytime, anywhere, check out The ION Way Online Fitness.

If there was any year that calories don’t count, it’s 2020. Stay safe and have a wonderful festive break. You deserve it!

Rhys Pritchard, Training Director, Performance Specialist

Sam Rooney, Accredited Exercise Physiologist

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