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Staying Fit through the Festive period: How to Maintain your Shape & Weight

In the upcoming festive season, discipline in achieving and maintaining running and fitness goals is often challenged. After all, the abundance of delicious treats and festive temptations puts most of us to the test. Those who can find a good balance between indulgence and maintaining a healthy running routine during this time will benefit in the long term.

A study from 2018 (Winter Weight Watch Study) describes that the population gains an average of 0.4 to 0.9 kg during the Christmas holidays. Even if the readers of this blog article probably have a greater interest in exercise than the average population, the topic is still relevant. After all, athletes are also exposed to the numerous factors that are responsible for weight gain during the festive period.

The main factors for festive shape loss and weight gain

EATING HABITS

The festive season often sees an abundance of high-calorie treats, holiday meals and sweets. As a consequence, this means that runners should also exercise more if they want to compensate for the excess calories. Which brings us to point two.

REDUCED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

The holidays usually interrupt the normal training rhythm. Cold weather, social commitments and travel can result in less time for your usual running routine. As a consequence, the extra calories may not be burned off sufficiently. At the same time, there is a risk that general exercise form will decline due to reduced exercise.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Christmas preparations, shopping and festivities often take up a lot of time. This is another factor that plays into point two and can therefore have an impact on the quantity of training and therefore also on form.

STRESS

The holidays can be stressful, whether it’s due to buying presents, preparing for parties or other commitments. Stress can have a negative impact on running form as it can lead to fatigue, poor recovery and even emotional eating.

FESTIVE DRINKS

Alcoholic drinks are often plentiful during the Christmas holidays. Excessive alcohol consumption can not only provide extra calories, but can also impair recovery after running and reduce athletic performance.

How can we counteract the festive loss of form?

The study mentioned at the beginning highlights a few points that can counteract the negative effects:

  1. Raise awareness and include controls
    By reading this blog article, you have already completed part of the task – you have raised awareness of the issue. If you want to increase this awareness and at the same time build in a certain amount of control, the study suggests that you should regularly step on the scales. At running.COACH, however, we rely more on exercise and knowledge, which is why we don’t feel it’s absolutely necessary to step on the scales.
  2. Knowing calorie equivalents
    Another point listed in the study is to learn about calorie equivalents of your favorite holiday foods. When we talk about the calorie equivalents of foods, we are comparing the amount of calories to another unit to get a better idea of how much energy is in that food. In concrete terms, you could visualize how long you have to run to burn off the calories in the bar of chocolate in front of you.
  3. Plan time for exercise despite the festive activities
    For example, meet up with friends for an endurance run on Christmas morning to ring in the festive season.
  4. Avoid “overeating”
  5. Drink plenty of water, especially before meals
  6. Enjoy festive treats consciously and in moderation
    The most important thing here is to do this in moderation – because abstaining completely is not a solution either 😉
  7. Make sure you take stress-free breaks
  8. Combine social activities with exercise
    e.g. a walk / run after eating.

Conclusion

The festive season is not called such for nothing. So you can and should treat yourself to something. At the same time, however, it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your health and physical condition. With these tips, you can find a balanced way to keep the negative consequences of indulgence somewhat in check.

Create with running.COACH a customized and dynamic running training plan that optimally prepares you for your running goals based on your current fitness level. Try running.COACH free for two weeks after your first login!

 

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