I'm sure the picture above will be a familiar site at this time of year.
Christmas for many of us is the season of parties, lots of food and impromptu nights out. A lot of you guys will be out most weekends and some midweeks.
I don't think I need to tell you not to use this as an excuse to 'start again come January'. Every fitness coach is telling you that, instead I'm going to give some thoughts on how you may realign your goals and expectations for the month.
The world in general and, particularly the fitness industry, is big on telling us to always strive for progress, improvement and general growth. This is obviously something we are big proponents of, however there is a time and a place where 'maintenance' may be a suitable goal.
'Staying the same' isn't as sexy a goal as others but here is the logic.
If you can enter January(a time when stereotypically people put a lot of focus on their health and fitness) in the same place you were on December 1st it makes reaching your new goals a much more straightforward process than if you have to 'undo' a months break.
Not only does it make it easier to hit the goal it actually makes it more likely you will hit it. We've all been there when we hit the gym on the first Monday of January and feel like we've been hit by a bus, this can really derail motivation thus increasing the chances we will give up.
A simple way of looking at it is that if your first 3 weeks of training in January can be used as progress rather than catching up on December you will be 3 weeks better off(it obviously isn't anywhere near as simple as this it just gives you an image).
My process for this is something most of you will have heard me mention before but it is particularly relevant this time of year.
'Minimum effective dose'.
What is the LEAST you can do that will maintain what you have built over the year?
It will be different for all of us but I'd say for 90% of people reading this if you manage:
-2/3 workouts a week.
-2/3 Long walks and a general awareness of moving more.
-Eating consciously outside of meals out and occasions.
-Limiting alcohol to X times per week.
You will be in a much better place come January and I'd say for most the above framework isn't impossible.
It's just a mindset shift. As we eat out or drink more we think 'ah I've f****d it I'll just start again next week'.
Actually your 'bad' choice wasn't that bad but the actions you compounded it with after were the problem.
(All of this is absolutely NOT saying don't enjoy it. Life is too short not to have a drink at your Xmas party or to binge on a random Terry's chocolate orange if that is what you desire because you're trying to 'stay fit').
What is your minimum standard for the month?