The Fairytale of New York, the ultimate Christmas party singalong tune, tells the tale of a man suffering from over-indulgence on Christmas Eve, reflecting on yet another year of missed opportunities. As gym-goers, the Pogues classic should be a timely warning about celebrating a year of health and fitness achievements with a month of full-blown, unadulterated gluttony.
To avoid another year of regret and ruined dreams, and to ensure your physique stays more runner bean than Christmas pudding, Dolphin Fitness' Personal Training Manager, Ryan McMahon has put together 7 tips on how to survive the festive party season.
1. Pick your battles - Client dinners, company parties, drinks with the boys/girls, department dinners, team drinks….social events seem to multiply every year, starting earlier in November and continuing later into January. Pick one event in which your attendance is most likely to benefit your career and another which you actually want to attend. Politely decline the rest.
2. Prepare in advance - A high protein, high fibre breakfast and/or lunch on the day of your party will satisfy your hunger for longer and ensure you are not ravenous at dinnertime.
3. Exercise - If possible, train on the day of the party. Make it a tough workout with challenging exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges and overhead presses. The goal is to balance calories expended at the gym with calories consumed at your party. Typically I wouldn’t advise training with a hangover the next day, but if you feel ok, drink lots of water and do a lighter workout.
4. Plan your attack - A Christmas dinner can be a daunting sight when placed in front of you. Its important you plot your path on the plate. Go for the lean protein first - turkey, then the fattier choices - ham, smoked salmon (if you're posh), then fill up on whatever veggies are offered. As delicious as potatoes roasted in goose fat taste, they are going to push your calories through the roof. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to leave room for Christmas pudding!
5. Pick your poison - Be warned - drinking alcohol is like hitting the pause button on fat burning. But if you must, avoid mixing booze which will lead to the mother of all hangovers. A glass or 2 of red wine is fine but if you’re on a session, drink spirits with a light mixer. Stay clear of beer, cider, cocktails (a Pina Colada can be a whopping 300Kcal). Avoid anything the creepy guy from HR has bought you. Remember the maxim - go slow, drink H2O.
6. Dance - the more vigorous the better. Think Running Man. You need to start shedding calories as soon as pudding is done.
7. Recover - The worse the hangover, the longer it will take you to eat and train again as normal. Before bed, drink a glass of coconut water mixed with a litre of water to rehydrate. On waking make a greens smoothie with some kale, ginger, avocado, coconut oil, himalayan sea salt and honey to replace lost vitamins, minerals and balance blood sugar. Your liver will thank you. Eat some eggs and finish off with a relaxing Epsom Salts bath to replenish magnesium levels.
8. Keep Fit - One of the best ways to weather the Chrismas party storm is to keep fit throughout. You'll not only have plenty of calories burned so you can enjoy the festivities to the maximum, you'll also feel better within yourself no doubt. If you're looking to find a London gym holding regular classes, head over to DSQ gym at Dolphin Square.