Ever wondered how our personal trainers workout over Christmas?
With more social occasions, family events and usually less time to train, 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 trainers from around the globe and asked them how they would typically approach the Christmas holidays. Here are four different takes on how to enjoy yourself but still remain on track over the festive season.
1. The ‘Nothing Changes’ Approach – Steve Chambers, U.P. Manchester
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. 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 have missed 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.
2. The ‘Keeping Active’ Approach – Emily Schofield, U.P. Los Angeles
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. 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. 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.
3. The ‘Extra Sessions’ Approach – Matt Parsons, U.P. London
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. 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.
4. The ‘Extra Cardio’ Approach – Natalie Kuan, U.P. Singapore
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 a 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. 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. 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.
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 2019.