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Festive Season Fitness

Holiday season is definitely time for less structured training. Exploration should be your driving force for getting out on the trails, and hill repeats are best postponed until mid-January. But it’s also not ideal to throw all the hard work out with the left over glazed ham.

Here are our tips to keep it tidy during silly season.

1. Something rather than Nothing

So you usually have a lung-busting quality session at sunrise on a Tuesday, and now you’re holidaying at the beach or camping in the Kruger. Go for the “something over nothing” attitude. A 5km beach run followed by an open water swim. A strength training session on the stoep. Box jumps on the cooler box and a plank-off with hubby. A daily beach bats sesh. It all counts.

2. Leave the Leftovers

It is so tempting to fry up all the turkey and smash it on a buttery egg roll the morning after. Start the day with a green smoothie instead. Filling up on the good food that you usually consume will make the temptations fewer – but don’t be the nerd with a plate of salad at the Christmas feast. Your father-in-law did not slave away on that Weber lamb for nothing.

3. Don’t Pick

Unless you’re the one in charge of the potato salad, try to keep your kitchen time to a minimum. Picking as the food is prepped can double your calorie intake over one meal.

4. Make a List

Santa isn’t the only one who needs a list at this time of the year. If you are away on holiday or hanging around at home, make a list of the beautiful spots you want to explore. Get out on foot and find that cave that your trail group is always talking about. Find the shipwreck. Tag that peak. Its exercise, but the really fun kind.

5. Ask the Locals

If you’re unsure about safety or route mapping in a new location, find the local trail community, hiking group or a guide wherever you are heading and enjoy some authentic experiences full of local flavor.

6. Water

Increase your intake of water to assist with increased alcohol consumption. A hangover will not help your motivation in any way!

7. Sleep

Sleep is so important, and not just during party season. It’s an important part of staying healthy and fit. Not only because it’s good for your mind and your stress levels, but also because relaxing and resting will mean you have enough energy to achieve your health and fitness goals.You are bound to have some late nights and this can make you feel run-down. If your stress levels are high, this produces cortisol - the stress hormones which can affect how you digest food.

8. Moderation

Everything in moderation, including moderation. You’ve worked hard all year, and achieved many goals along the way. Depriving yourself over the festive season is a sure way to burn out and lose interest in your fitness goals. So don’t eat for St Nick and all his reindeer, but do give yourself permission to sleep in, have another cold one, and spend a few more hours in the waves with the kids. We’ll tackle the 2019 goals another day.

- Words and images by Kim Stephens