Cambridge’s Leading personal trainers

Managing your goals around the festive period

With Christmas just around the corner and the colder, darker, and, let’s face it, rainy days coming more frequently, staying on track to achieve your goals can be challenging.

The ‘it’s Christmas!’ excuse kicks in for regular overindulgence, skipping workouts, and an extra glass of prosecco here and there…

Now, don’t get me wrong.

The festive period should be enjoyed!

That extra mince pie will be eaten.

After work, drinks become a regular occurrence.

That box of Celebrations on the side is talking to you every night, and let’s be honest, who can resist the Malteaser one (hands down, the best one, no debate to be had).

Embrace the festivities and time with friends and family, especially after not being able to experience it in the same way over the past two years.

However, you need to understand that this will impact your goals.

If your goal is weight loss, those extra calories will impact.

If your goal is lean muscle gain, that missed session to go to the pub will impact.

There is no point pretending that it won’t.

However, there are ways you can manage this time to help you have a festive period filled with fun where you don’t miss out on social occasions AND keep on track to achieve your goals.

1.Stop thinking, ‘there is no point, it’s almost Christmas’.

It does not need to be an ‘All or Nothing’ approach.

There are seven days a week.

That is, on average, 21 main meals and 3-5 exercise sessions to be had.

Even if you have two meals out per week and one extra day where you aren’t exercising, that is still 19 main meals and 2-4 training sessions you are in control of.

You choose what to do then.

Manage those meals you can control to account for those you can’t.

Get up a little earlier and do a morning session, if possible, to account for an evening out with friends.

Just because one meal is off-plan or more calorie-dense than you’d like does not mean the whole day needs to be a write off (or week/weekend, which we’ve all been guilty of saying before).

You are in control of more than you may be thinking.

2. Don’t stop tracking your food as you can’t track that one meal you are having out.

Family dinner and visiting your favourite restaurants can be tricky to track when you are unsure what has gone into meals.

There are a few ways you can approach this.

Firstly, if you are going out, most restaurants have a menu online, and I know you are probably like me and take a little look before you go so you can spend all day daydreaming about what you’re going to have.

It is becoming more common for chain restaurants to list some nutrition information, so if they do, excellent! Utilise this as it is straightforward to put that into My Fitness Pal.

If they don’t, and this applies to going to someone else’s house for a meal, estimating might be the best option.

If you know similar meals from other chains or your homemade version track, you can take an average of those to estimate what you will account for in your daily/weekly total.

It’s far from perfect, but if you want to track but don’t want to be asking someone what oil something was cooked in to track it, this is a viable option.

Tracking is a tool that is incredibly useful when looking to lose weight, but you shouldn’t let it stop you from enjoying social moments and being present.

Perhaps you can make better choices and be content with doing that.

But as mentioned previously, this probably will slow your progress down if you are eating out more often than not and failing to make conscious efforts to make these situations fit in with your goals.

Just because one meal in a day can’t be tracked, the other two, three, four… can be!

Again, it does not need to be all or nothing.

Control the controllable.

3. Alcohol can be enjoyed!

If you drink alcohol, your average weekly consumption will likely increase during this time.

Is alcohol consumption optimal for fat loss? Certainly not.

Does that mean it needs to be avoided? Definitely not!

Opt for 1-3 drinks rather than heading to the bar for that sixth drink you don’t need.

It’s also a win, win… less beer fear and hangiexty over those questionable decisions, which will definitely be brought up during the next Bootcamp!

You could also pick lower-calorie options – Slimline tonic, soda water, diet lemonade/coke, white wine spritz, and spirits are good options.

Don’t forget to track your alcohol!

You could add them in before you head out, which may also help you to stick to that handful of drinks rather than ten fingers and ten toes worth…

This will allow you to manage your intake around this event and keep your calorie intake more in line with your target.

4. Focus on those health-related, non-weight related goals

This is a rule for general life but stop viewing exercise solely as a tool for burning calories.

When this is your focus, it is easy not to bother exercising as you know you’re going way over your intake target and doing 3 Bootcamps back-to-back to ‘level it out’ is pointless (correct, it is pointless).

Realising movement is good for the mind, body, and soul will help you prioritise it when it is easy to make excuses not to.

Take a moment to think, when you regularly exercise, do you:

–          Feel more energised?

–          See improvements to your mental health?

–          Less anxious?

–          Walk up the stairs a little easier?

–          Sleep better?

–          Run around after a little one without having backache?

–          Get to push yourself beyond your limits with a group of lovely, like-minded people during a Bootcamp session?

I’m hazarding a guess that more than one of these things are relevant to you.

Perhaps now is an excellent time to set some short-term goals that are irrelevant to your weight.

This could increase the weight you’re squatting during Bootcamp or decrease how long it takes you to get that 10 kcal on the wonderful SkiErg.

Speak to one of our Trainers to discuss what could work for you!

Think about these benefits of exercise to keep you moving and attend as many sessions as you can during the week to help keep you motivated.

5. Why wait until the New Year?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client get to November time and say, oh, I’m going to just wait until the New Year to start my journey with you.


Because between now and then, you’ve still got those 21 meals a week and 3-5 training sessions you could get in.

Let’s say you start December 1st.

You stop tracking and exercising on the 23rd as you finish work for a short time and begin to embrace the festivities fully.

That is 23 days.

Three weeks.

In that time, you could have built some sustainable habits, and you may have started to lose body fat, you might be lifting more weight in the gym.

You’re progressing towards your goals.

Not starting until January only means you haven’t got started yet and are missing out on these three (maybe more) weeks of building a routine that works for you, and you can go straight back to after a week of celebrating Christmas and New Year.

Often, people say, ‘yeah, but I’m just going to undo all of that over Christmas, so what is the point?’.

You may well undo it if that is your mentality!

If you see things as a long-term journey and realise these goals will take time to achieve, you understand waiting to start does not help.

And the likelihood is, you won’t undo everything you have done, perhaps halted the progress or slow it down, but unlikely to go backwards, especially if you are using these tips to help manage this time.

Relieve the pressure! Being 100% consistent 100% of the time is hard going and unrealistic. You might be able to do this for a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks. But it is likely you will find this too restrictive, especially this time of year, and then you suddenly aren’t doing anything to work towards your goals.

Now, it’s 0% consistency, 100% of the time.


80% consistency, 100% of the time across a more extended period of time, gives you that freedom to enjoy social situations but not completely go off the rails when it comes to your goals.

Are you looking to start your transofmration?

Hit ‘Enquire Now’ to have a free chat with a member of our team. 

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