Planning = Everything

Oh dear, oh dear… it’s Christmas, and the potential to go backwards from a health and fitness point of view is everywhere! I can even see it in class, Christmas parties have kicked in, and so people start missing a class or two here and there. That is all really normal for this time of year, but without some planning, this is the thin edge of a very big wedge that will make January a bit of a nightmare. With that in mind, I’ve put together some strategies to help plan a less bad end to the year. As always, this is just based on my experience – but this one is particularly close to my heart – Christmas as a lightweight rower was always a bit of a challenge!

Outside of Christmas or other holidays throughout the year, our days have solid rhythms and routines that help to anchor us and keep us on the straight and narrow from a health perspective most of the time. With so many distractions, these routines tend to fall away during the holiday period. The solution here is to create new routines that will at least reduce that wedge and will make that first week of January a much less torturous time.

On a normal day, I commit to training before 12pm – it’s built into my day, every day. However, over the holidays, I cut that to 9am. I know the potential to get distracted throughout the day is much greater; someone will call, or there will be something on to go to… whatever that distraction is, I need to get ahead of it, and so getting my session done before 9am is the only way for me to do that. Training routines will be different for you. Maybe your training is typically built around your Crew Class sessions or some other gym session. If that’s the case, take the 3-4 days break, but commit to being at every Crew Class session on the schedule between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve?!

Don’t leave it to chance or wait for the motivation, it won’t come!! Make a plan in advance, pick a time and place – DON’T deviate, just get it done!

I’ve talked about how I manage my diet in previous blogs – I try to eat relatively well most of the time and typically front load my meals earlier in the day so that I am not hungry and eating late in the evening. Again, Christmas/holidays can mess with this routine and so instead of trying and failing to stick with my normal day-to-day, I build in new routines. One of my routines from a food perspective is to make a conscious decision to buy and eat more fruit over Christmas – this psychologically helps me to make better food choices throughout the day. I also try to eat one healthy meal, usually at home, each day. That’s a very normal routine for most throughout the year, but during Christmas, it can be more difficult than it might seem. Again, this might be different for you, it might be committing to a more regular meal schedule or maybe having a small healthy meal before you go out so that you don’t arrive at parties or functions hungry. Whatever that change is, make it a conscious one… planning is everything!