It’s the New Year and we’re all busy picking up where we left off before Christmas… right? Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been sitting at my desk all day today feeling the effects of a week of festivities.
One week of letting your hair down a bit isn’t going to completely derail your fitness, but it is going to be hard to get back on the horse. Now, I’m absolutely raring to go and put the carbs I ate to good use in the gym. However, it’s still important to take things slow if needed and to listen to your body.
Drink, drink, drink!
I’ve been drinking like a fish all holiday, and by that, I mean downing endless bottles of water! There’s something about the heavy Christmas food and rushing around that makes you very thirsty and dehydrated. Now, that dehydration isn’t a good thing when going to work out. You’ll only get more dehydrated as you sweat, so you should be mindful of rehydrating over the next few days. This will also help your body process the food you’ve eaten over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Load up on the veg
The sudden change in your diet that the holidays brings can wreak havoc on your digestion. To compensate, load up on the veggies this week to help your body restore balance. I’ve also been drinking a lot of peppermint tea to help my digestion.
It’s important to actually get your body moving after a week of relaxing. Again, take it at your own pace. Your body might be keen to get going or it might take some time to get back to your usual fitness level. Maybe take the New Year as a chance to switch up your fitness regime with yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling… something new that an ease your body in a bit. In fact, you might be forced to switch up your routine anyway, thanks to the gym frenzy this month. Bodyweight exercises and home workouts really come into their own in January!
Studies have shown that the sugar spikes over Christmas thanks to rich food and drink can cause your immune system to falter. Consuming more citrusy foods, drinking plenty of water and ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet can help stave off January colds and will enable your body to rebuild.
Make gradual changes
Going from a heavy diet to a completely restricted one is likely to shock your body, and not in a good way. The same applies to going from zero to one hundred in your workouts. Cutting out entire food groups, alcohol and overhauling your entire lifestyle in one day will likely drive you mad in the long term. Like anything worthwhile, you need to work on yourself over time. Changing everything to do with your health and fitness overnight is too much, too soon. You want to build healthy habits and not drive yourself mad with restrictions. A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and to commit to it long term you need to allow yourself some flexibility for, well, life. So, while I am committing to heading back to the gym this week and eating healthily, I’m also aware that I’m hosting a kid’s birthday party this weekend which will inevitably involve cake! For me, a slice of cake is a worthwhile treat at the end of a long week of working out, eating healthy and getting back to work.
Don’t forget your mind
In cold dreary January, the post-Christmas glow can wear off pretty quick. It’s important that while you’re getting your body back on track you don’t forget your state of mind. The cold and long nights (and seemingly colder mornings!) can leave you feeling pretty down, so invest in lightbulbs that imitate sunlight, don’t completely restrict yourself, and schedule in some things to look forward to. If you feel like it, try meditation, yoga, journaling or some similar activity to look after your mental wellbeing as well as your physical.
It is the start of a whole New Year. That gives us a whole 365 days of new opportunities to improve our health and fitness. But that doesn’t mean you need to suddenly throw yourself into a whole new lifestyle right from the get-go. Good things take time, so don’t kick yourself if you cannot stick to an all singing, all dancing healthy living routine from the first week of January. Everyone’s bodies are different and we all get over the holidays in different ways. For some that might mean going straight back to deadlifts and for others it might involve a bit more time off or trying something completely new.