With the festive season upon us, its sundry temptations have returned. With a new-year refresh just around the corner, it can be enticing to let our healthy habits slide.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy this period without setting you back too much for 2023:
- Have fun and don’t miss out on social occasions just because there will be temptations
- Continue your exercise routine, but if you’re busier, modify or reduce it—shorter or less frequent exercise sessions still count
- If reducing your gym session frequency (e.g., from 3‒4 to 1‒2 days per week), consider doing full-body sessions (i.e., upper-body and lower-body exercises in the same session)
- If pressed for time within a gym session:
- Prioritise big compound lifts (e.g., bench press, chin-up, squat, deadlift)
- Use opposing-muscle-group supersets (e.g., bench press into a row), or use upper-and-lower-body supersets (e.g., bench press into a squat)
- NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) up as much as possible—walk more and be more physically active throughout the day
- Hit your protein goal daily, but reduce your fats and carbs if you're planning to go out, drink, etc.
- Centre your meals around protein
- If you’re going to be overconsuming calories—eating and/or drinking—in the evening, reduce the amount you consume at breakfast and/or lunch, or don't eat breakfast (it’s not the most important meal of the day) or lunch
- To reduce your calories, you can drink 0-calorie drinks (e.g., water, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, 0-calorie cordials) instead of higher-calorie drinks (e.g., soft drinks and fruit juice)
- When drinking alcohol, drink spirits like vodka or gin, and low-calorie mixers like soda water or diet coke
- Total calories for the whole week trump daily calories—if you go above your calories one day due to a big meal or too much alcohol, for example, you can manipulate your calories for the next day or two to get back on track
- Treat yourself but exercise restraint!