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How Ultimate Performance Trainers Workout Over Christmas

Ever wondered how our personal trainers work out over Christmas?

With more social occasions, family events and usually less time to train at Christmas, it can be difficult to stick to your usual workout routine.

Plus, finding the motivation to hit the weights when your friends are out partying can be hard.

We spoke to some of our personal trainers from around the globe and asked them how they would typically approach the Christmas holidays.

Here are five different takes on how to enjoy yourself but still remain on track over the festive season.

1. The ‘Plan Ahead’ Approach – Marianne Phillips, U.P. Mayfair

How do you train over Christmas?

Training never fails to make me feel good, both physically and mentally, so I make sure to keep it consistent during the Christmas season. 

I like to plan my week on a Sunday, so I know exactly which days I’m going to train that coming week.

If my schedule allows, I like to get my sessions done early in the morning. It sets up my motivation for the day and helps me make better food choices!

If I have extra free time, I like to fit a couple of 5km runs in with my dog to keep my cardio fitness in check!

What keeps you motivated to train over Christmas 

I always want to start the New Year feeling my best. January gets busy in the gym, so I try and get ahead of the game during December. 

It’s very important to me that my stamina, fitness, and strength are on point so that I am ready for a busy diary in the new year.

Do you have any workout advice for people over Christmas? 

Try to stay true to your non-negotiables during this season and plan your week ahead of time.

You are far more likely to get yourself to the gym if you have carved out time in your diary.

I also advise my clients to keep their breakfast and lunches as consistent as possible, to allow more flexibility around dinners and events if needed. 

If you’re taking time off work, it’s a great opportunity to go for long walks with family and friends. Think of the extra time to move your body as a luxury!

Christmas workout personal training Marianne

2. The ‘Nothing Changes’ Approach – Steve Chambers, U.P. Manchester

How do you train over Christmas?

My training doesn’t really differ over the Christmas period. I still keep everything consistent even during this time.

I usually only train four times a week, so across a week, it’s pretty easy to fit in around my work schedule and gives me leeway.

I try to get the most out of every session by sticking to the basics, especially when I might be short on time. Do the basics, but do them well with maximum effort.

What keeps you motivated to exercise at Christmas?

My main motivation to continue over the Christmas period is knowing that I am going to be out for food with friends and family more often than usual.

I want to go out feeling good and confident, and training helps me to do this. Plus, I don’t want to start the New Year playing catch up on training I missed over Christmas.

Do you have any workout advice for people over Christmas?

My advice is to stick to your usual training routine. Try not to feel pressured to do extra training or cardio just because you have eaten more, as I think this can instil a bad relationship with food.

Christmas workout personal training steve

3. The ‘Keeping Active’ Approach – Emily Schofield, U.P. Los Angeles

How do you train over Christmas?

Even though I’m based in L.A., this time of year, I am usually at home with my family in Australia. Christmas time in Sydney is also summer, so it is fairly easy to keep activity levels high even outside the gym.

On Christmas Day, I’ll be in and out of the pool throughout the day, and this is where most of my activity will come from. Since I know it’s likely to be a higher-calorie day, I often go for a walk in the morning. This is partly because my parents live in a nice quiet area of Sydney, and it’s very leafy and great for walking.

It’s warm early in the morning, so it’s nice to get out and about before guests start arriving at the house.

What keeps you motivated to exercise at Christmas?

I stay motivated as I enjoy training and generally feeling strong and fit. When I deviate from my usual routine it doesn’t take long to feel the effects which promptly reminds me of why I follow a certain regime.

My advice for staying motivated is basically to find something active that you enjoy. There is no need for discipline when you’re doing what you enjoy, in my opinion.

Luckily, I will be in Sydney which means I will be able to pop into our U.P. gym there in the CBD for a few sessions. Commercial gyms are everywhere, so if I didn’t have access to U.P. then I’d look at a week pass at a standard commercial gym.

Do you have any workout advice for people over Christmas?

If you’re holidaying, hotel gyms usually have the basics which you can get by with. There are also hotel bedroom workout options, which you can do anywhere if you have access to no equipment. It may not result in progression with your training, but it will help keep you active and in a routine.

Christmas workout personal training Emily

4. The ‘Extra Sessions’ Approach – Matt Parsons, U.P. London

How do you train over Christmas?

For the Christmas period, I change from an upper/lower body split for my training, to a three-day split of chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs.

A reason for changing my training split is to go from four sessions a week, to six sessions per week.

I can recover the areas I am training better with this split, and have a higher output throughout the week. I find this allows me to account for the extra food and drink I consume around Christmas.

With it being a busy time in and outside of work, I also adjust my training time. I move the majority of my sessions to first thing in the morning, which means 5:45 am – 7:00 am before my first client at 7:00 am. This enables me to spend the rest of my day managing the gym and training clients. The gym is and has always been something that I enjoy doing.

Do you have any workout advice for people over Christmas?

Whether I am looking to build muscle or get leaner, I like to set performance goals all year round but especially at Christmas, as I find this helps my motivation.

I like to go into my sessions with a purpose, whether that is to lift a certain amount more in a lift or to add a number of reps to a lift.

Christmas workout personal training Matt

5. The ‘Extra Cardio’ Approach – Natalie Kuan, U.P. Singapore 

How do you train over Christmas?

I’m doing a strength programme now, so I will keep my training the same over the festive period. However, given that there will be a lot more eating out involved from get-togethers with friends and family, I will start implementing fasted cardio in the mornings (as often as my schedule permits) to keep myself in check.

I weigh myself first thing every morning to make sure my weight stays within an acceptable range. If it exceeds this range there will be some ‘damage control’ in the form of extra cardio or some metabolic work like prowler pushes.

What keeps you motivated to exercise at Christmas?

To be honest, being a trainer at U.P. is enough motivation to stay in shape even over Christmas! Whilst I do additional cardio to create a calorie deficit, if I know I will be eating out or having a bigger meal which I cannot track, I will try to allocate more of my total daily caloric allowance to said meal and have less calories during the day.

Do you have any workout advice for people over Christmas?

As I’m busier than usual at Christmas and often have less time, to get the most out of my session I will decrease the rest time and make sure I’m thoroughly focused. I will also time my rest times and ensure I’m not sidetracked by random chit-chat in between sets.

Christmas workout personal training Nat

Don’t Stress – Enjoy Christmas!

Don’t lose sight of what’s important at this time of year — spending time with loved ones.

While all of our trainers will tackle the Christmas holidays differently, they all plan ahead.

Get organised so that you can enjoy the break, the parties and socializing with friends, knowing you won’t be playing catch up going into the New Year.

Read our Ultimate Guide to Surviving Christmas for more tips and expert advice on your diet, exercise and lifestyle over the festive period. 

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