This festive season, focus on balance. 

The Christmas indulgences are coming in strong, and not only are there huge dinners and mince pies to contest with, but there’s also the inevitable festive season laziness – so you’ve got a double whammy. It’s difficult to get up and go to the gym when you’ve been up since 5am helping prepare the house for guests. Or after a long day making food…and eating food.

Admittedly, the festive season is a good time to relax and unwind a little, so don’t feel guilty if you take a short break. If you’re determined to keep your fitness levels up while you tuck into that Christmas pudding though, here are some practical ways to fit in your workouts without feeling like you’re missing out on all the fun.

Eat little and often

While we accept that this will be a hard rule to follow on, say Christmas Day itself, it could probably be applied to most ‘normal’ days over the festive season. Eat before going out for meals, or if there are buffet or finger food options, stick to small portions and little plates. Keep your fridge stocked with fruits and vegetables so that you can grab a quick snack easily. Not only will it prevent those post-meal comas, but it means that you’ll be able to fit in workouts more easily as you won’t have that sluggish, heavy feeling – plus you’ll be properly fuelled and ready for exercise when you find yourself with a spare half an hour.

Do your workouts early in the morning

Get up half an hour or an hour earlier and go for a jog or a strength session. Even if it’s a quick one, some exercise is still better than none. Your motivation is still strong in the morning, you’re well rested, and you’ll avoid family members’ passing comments about you needing to take a break/spend more time with the family/relax and enjoy Christmas. Then, you’re free to spend the rest of the day helping out, socialising, and enjoying yourself.

Work out at home

Time comes at a premium over December, so instead of driving to and from the gym, why not exercise at home? Play a soccer game with the kids, do a mini circuit workout at home, go for a jog or cycle. Remember that HIIT can be done quite easily with little equipment so is a good choice for a fast workout at home – if you don’t live near anywhere where you can run safely on the roads, then just a skipping rope in a garden or hallway will do. You can also fit in bodyweight exercises like squats, crunches and push ups quite easily. They only take a few minutes, so do some in the morning before you shower, in the evening before bed, or even in between TV shows if you’re feeling ambitious!

Drink loads of water

It’s more important than ever to stay well-hydrated during the festive party season. You’ll need to flush out the extra toxins, but more importantly, dehydration can make you feel hungry, and you don’t want that feeling to kick in every day when there’s so much delicious but unhealthy food around. Remember to drink a glass of water before or during all your meals, and plenty more of it if you’re going to be drinking alcohol. You’ll help avoid those junk food cravings and will fight any possible hangovers too.