Illawarra Athletic Health Hack: this week and for many weeks to come I’m going to discuss different strategies to optimise your health and fitness via simple and achievable nutritional and lifestyle strategies regardless of if you’re a beginner taking those first few steps in reclaiming your life, a fitness junkie who is always looking for that white unicorn option to optimise your health within your busy life or the seasoned athlete looking for that “one-up” on your competition. Illawarra Athletic Health Hack will do it’s best to bring you the answers.
This week in Illawarra Athletic Health Hack I thought it would make sense to just leave discussions around the gut alone for a week and discuss how to navigate through the Christmas period without sabotaging your progress too much.
This is Australia and I know what Christmas generally means; parties, BBQs, beers and wine, bread rolls, crackers, dips and cheese and also general overeating. I’m going to give you 7 ways to minimise the damage caused. They are simple solutions but if you always keep one or two in your pocket during the holiday season you should come out the other side relatively unscathed.
- Eat before you go out: This is always an easy method I use to ensure I don’t overdo it at my destination. Times when I personally haven’t done this I’ve always ended up raiding the chips bowl or the crackers and dip and I just don’t stop! Hunger “signals” are up and I walk into a room where there are salty and sugary snacks. The results are catastrophic!
- 1-4-1 drink rule: Before going to a party make sure you drink a bucket of water. In the chaos of getting out the house to go the neighbour’s house for a BBQ you forget to drink water, thirst is up and on top of this it’s a 30 degree afternoon. The next thing you know you’ve put 3 beers or wines away without even thinking about it. So get some water in before you head to your do. Also get into the rhythm of drinking one water for every beer or wine, it’ll keep that next day headache less severe.
- Keep your training up: This one goes without saying! Remember it isn’t about doing some cardio to burn off the extra food onboard, you need to keep the strength training up as well as the cardio so still get to the gym as much as you can and lift those weights. If you absolutely can’t get to the gym still get out and go for a long and fast walk.
- Be active/Go outside: Sometimes the holiday period is met with rest time from the busy year that has just been. Although there is a time and place to recharge the battery physically and emotionally, being lethargic is where that concept becomes counterproductive. So get out and simply go to the park or in the backyard if you have one. Get some vitamin D and enjoy the fine weather we are lucky to have in Australia at this time of year.
- Don’t skip meals: This is a big one! You may feel the need to skip a meal because you ate so much the day before but don’t do this, especially with breakfast. WE have spoken so much about what it means to miss meals and how avoiding breakfast affects your metabolism. Don’t do it!
- Be selective: There is so much nice food that pops up specifically this time of year. Why not create a boundary for yourself that the treats you eat/drink are Christmas related. Just because it’s Christmas does not mean tonnes of chips and salsa and cocktails need to be put away.
- Have fun but set realistic goals for yourself: “I’m only going to have a couple of drinks at so-and-so’s house”, “I won’t eat any bread while where at X”, “I’m going to maintain sessions 3 per week”, If you really think about these and you come to the conclusion that they won’t happen then there is no point setting yourself up for failure. That’s not to say you don’t have any self-control altogether, you just need to make sure the goal you set for yourself is realistic whilst supporting your bigger picture goals but allowing you to have some fun at the same time.
We all are lucky here to enjoy such great weather and be absolutely abundant in all the good things life has to offer. So we are realistic to know that peoples choices during this period don’t completely align with the health parameters we set here at Illawarra Athletic, heck I’ll be eating a bread roll or two over the period (to my stomach’s dismay). But you can also have a good time whilst aligning yourself somewhat with your long-term objective. I once heard a point made that “short-term gratification and long-term plans don’t often mix too well”, not gospel but there is a lot of truth to it.
Nest week I’ll return to the gut cause there are some really exciting things I want to share with you. If you missed last weeks post you can find it below.
Be safe this holiday period.