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Elf and Fitness Tips for the Christmas Season

Welcoming back Mark Ames to Fireside Chats. Mark is the Founder and Director of Pure Performance Personal Training. Mark has overseen many hundreds of amazing health transformations in his time. Prior to this Mark was a Royal Marine Commando, and its the lessons he learned here that have helped so many. Here is his advice to you to help you thrive this Christmas season...

Tis’ the season started by a baby in manger, and it’s often ruined by your demading personal-trainer.  Don’t worry though, I am not a grinch, its ok for your waistline to go up the odd inch.  I’m just here to help you with some tips for your health, I’m more like an angel than an angry elf.  Here some thoughts so you can enjoy your festive break, without putting on lots of weight!


 Tip one – There’s no naughty list


A brief hiatus from training lasting a few days or even a couple of weeks is unlikely to significantly affect your overall fitness levels.  This is especially true if you maintain a somewhat balanced diet and remain moderately active during this time.  Don’t hear me wrong there – do feel free to indulge – but maybe minimise it to just a few days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day for example).   The body can sustain its fitness levels fairly well with short breaks, given overall healthy habits are maintained.


If you experience a slight decline in fitness or notice a small weight gain, it's no cause for concern.  By granting yourself the time to de-load mentally and to recover physically you are actually setting the stage for a stronger come back. This break provides an excellent foundation not only to regain lost fitness quicker but also to leverage a refreshed start and build upon it, ultimately becoming stronger and fitter than before.  There, aren’t I a nice Personal Trainer!


Tip two –  Don’t be a pig-in-a-blanket


Whilst you may want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, and eat treats whilst watching all the Christmas movies, I don’t recommend this being your predominant activity this Christmas holiday.  You will only end up feeling rubbish, both physically and mentally.


That being said, you don’t need to go to the gym over the Christmas break to stay fit and well.  In fact, for the reason I suggested above, it may be a good time to have a break from your routine.  Play with your kids and grandkids, go for nice family boxing day walks, offer to tidy up or cook Christmas dinner, and you will continue to burn calories at a decent rate. 



Tip three – Ho, ho, don’t go. 


The Christmas holiday season often brings a flood of articles aiming to guide you in maintaining your fitness goals amidst the festive celebrations. It's become customary to encounter lists and bullet points detailing the number of sit-ups or miles you'll need to achieve to work off those indulgent treats.


Ignore them. It is unreasonable to demand this level of focus 24/7, 365 days a year.  Good health and fitness is important but don’t make it an idol that ruins your fun. 


A final word

Christmas embodies the spirt of giving and rekindling connections with loved ones. It's a opportune moment to ease off the accelerator, relax and relish the time spent with family and friends. Remember the gym isn’t going anywhere.  It’ll still be there in the New Year (just a bit busier for a month or so!).   


Take this time to decompress and fully embrace the joys of the season and I’ll be back in the New Year to help you make it your healthiest year yet. 


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