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6 Tips to Help You Stay Focused During the Holiday Season
Wellness
Published Tuesday Dec 05, 2017 by Chris Gregory

6 Tips to Help You Stay Focused During the Holiday Season

Motivation

The holidays are the time to catch up with those you love most (and even some you don’t), but it’s also the moment people are most likely to forget their fitness goals, ditch their diets and eat and drink everything in sight leaving themselves the task of having to get in shape again in the New Year.

It’s also definitely the time of year to enjoy and indulge a little–and we’re not going to recommend to stick to boiled chicken and sprouts and steer clear of all the puddings, pies and chocolates. But you can have a little indulgence and still come through with your health, fitness, and physique intact.

Follow these six tips from Ultimate Performance and you will survive this festive season in great shape and head into the new year with resolutions intact.

1. Stay Hydrated

It’s always important to stay hydrated–not just for peak performance, but for increased satiety between meals and improved focus at work.

Drinking enough water will mitigate some of the effects of alcohol and increase satiety and vanquish food cravings too. When you’re heading out to a holiday gathering, always drink plenty of water before and stay hydrated throughout the evening. Not only will you feel better, but it will ebb the temptation to indulge to excess.

2. Don’t Skip Meals

So many people are spot on with their diet and nutrition all year, then as soon as December comes around the routine goes out of the window.

“One huge mistake is going to a party on an empty stomach–when you’re hungry and surrounded by tempting food, it’s a recipe for disaster,” said Russel Lee from Ultimate Performance Sydney.

Lee encourages people to eat a protein shake and some nuts (almonds, cashews or Brazils) before going out – it will help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce cravings.

3. Beware the Liquid Calories

Eating, drinking and being merry is part of this time of year and you don’t have to forgo the festive indulgences, but you should be aware of what you’re putting in your body as the calorie count can quickly get out of hand. A good tip is to avoid sugary mixers. Stick to clean spirits, soda water or a few small glasses of quality red wine.

Pick and choose when you drink, as too many nights in a row of heavy imbibing can rapidly undo much of your hard work from the year.

4. Train Hard

Just because it’s the busiest time of year doesn’t mean you have to stop training. A big part of maintaining your physique or even progressing over the holidays means continuing to work out. Training hard with weights as regularly as possible will keep you sensitive to insulin (to better process those extra carbs) and will keep your metabolism ticking.

This month you might not be in a position to be smashing personal bests every session, but you should still be active every day. If you’re short on time, don’t limit your activity to the gym – you can easily do some hill sprints, bodyweight circuits at home or just get out into the fresh air for a power walk. Focus workouts around higher rep schemes, with a full range of motion and accumulate as much blood flow in as little time as possible.

5. Boost Your Immune System

Make sure you’re looking after your immune system during the holidays. It’s a time of year when many bugs and illnesses are going around–and nothing will kill off your motivation to train more quickly than getting sick. f you live in a place that gets cold and dark in December, it’s always advisable to supplement with Vitamin D3 every day.

High-quality probiotic supplements are important, too. Staying on top of your gut health, especially during December when many new and rich foods are introduced, will help maintain a healthy immune system.

6. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the key to achieving any fitness goal – and the end of the year is no exception. One great tip from our clients at UP London is to push the training and the diet harder in the days between parties or events. This creates a buffer to counterbalance any indulgence that is likely to happen.

You can drop your calories by cutting back on fats or carbs on the days you’re not doing anything social – this gives you that little bit extra caloric leeway when you treat yourself. It can be useful to diet in the weeks running up to the big end-of-year gatherings to get leaner and more insulin-sensitive to mitigate the excess.

Conclusion

How you approach holiday celebration depends on the goals you set and your current relationship with fitness and physique. If you’ve had a great year and have been consistent with your diet and training, it’s the time to live it up a little.

If your health or body composition isn’t great, or you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, it’s probably advisable not to go on an all-out, month-long binge during December. Regardless of where you are in your health story, the key is to do what makes you happy. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year.

Chris Gregory
Written by
Chris Gregory
Guest Blogger
About the author
Chris Gregory is a Senior Personal Trainer Ultimate Performance Manchester. He holds a BSc Hons Degree in Sport and Exercise Science from Liverpool University. Chris is a Poliquin International Certification Program Level 1 & 2 Coach and BioSignature Practitioner.
Prenatal Fitness - MINDBODY
Fitness
Published Wednesday Sep 11, 2019 by Whitney English

The Do’s and Don’ts of Prenatal Fitness 

Yoga
Pilates
Barre
Strength Training
Cardio
Expert Advice

For many pregnant women, exercise can take a backseat. I get it. You’re exhausted and uncomfortable—slipping into a pair of tight leggings and sweating your booty off doesn’t exactly sound like a great way to reduce your discomfort.
 
While working out may sound like the last thing you want to do when you’re carrying another human inside of you, engaging in regular, low-impact activities during pregnancy is extremely beneficial to both you and your baby. In fact, some studies show that prenatal exercise may help to reduce aches and pains, improve sleep, and boost mood. But figuring out which exercises are safe for you and your baby can be confusing. If you Google prenatal exercise, you’ll find a wide range of conflicting opinions on what moms-to-be should and shouldn’t do.
 
As a dietitian, a Certified Personal Trainer, and a mom to a 16-month old, exercise has always been a priority for me. During my pregnancy, I was determined to continue my regular routine as long as possible, so I spent a ton of time researching and speaking to experts to learn the best practices for exercise during pregnancy. Here is my list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to prenatal fitness, no matter where you are when it comes to motherhood. 
 

Yoga

First up, yoga. You want to avoid any poses that cramp your baby’s space or put pressure on your stomach. It’s easy to modify most poses to make them safer and more comfortable for you and your baby. For example, instead of trying to do a regular forward fold, open up your legs for a wide leg forward fold, which gives your belly more space. 
 
Some poses can be fine during the first or second trimester, depending on your prior yoga experience, but may be less safe later in pregnancy. If you are comfortable doing full wheel, it can be fine early in your pregnancy. I did this pose until about 25 weeks, but everyone is different. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not the time to push yourself with new poses. Additionally, after the first trimester, it’s best to avoid lying face down. Instead, try doing certain poses on your knees rather than on your stomach—like substituting camel pose for bow pose.
 

1
Yoga

First up, yoga. You want to avoid any poses that cramp your baby’s space or put pressure on your stomach. It’s easy to modify most poses to make them safer and more comfortable for you and your baby. For example, instead of trying to do a regular forward fold, open up your legs for a wide leg forward fold, which gives your belly more space. 
 
Some poses can be fine during the first or second trimester, depending on your prior yoga experience, but may be less safe later in pregnancy. If you are comfortable doing full wheel, it can be fine early in your pregnancy. I did this pose until about 25 weeks, but everyone is different. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not the time to push yourself with new poses. Additionally, after the first trimester, it’s best to avoid lying face down. Instead, try doing certain poses on your knees rather than on your stomach—like substituting camel pose for bow pose.
 

Pilates + Barre

Similarly, with both Pilates and barre, you want to avoid doing any stretches or poses that put pressure on or around your abdominal cavity. During the early stages of pregnancy, you may not need any modifications, but the most important thing is to listen to your body and not push the limits. As your pregnancy progresses, remember to ask the instructor for modifications, so the exercise feels good for both you and baby.

2
Pilates + Barre

Similarly, with both Pilates and barre, you want to avoid doing any stretches or poses that put pressure on or around your abdominal cavity. During the early stages of pregnancy, you may not need any modifications, but the most important thing is to listen to your body and not push the limits. As your pregnancy progresses, remember to ask the instructor for modifications, so the exercise feels good for both you and baby.

Hot Exercise + Heated Classes

Another crucial thing to avoid during pregnancy is hot exercise. There is a lot of misinformation regarding hot exercise, but be wary of anyone that tells you that it is safe. Increasing your core body temperature is known as hyperthermia, and it can be extremely dangerous for pregnant women. It is especially dangerous in the first month just after contraception, but hot exercise and heated classes should be avoided at all stages of pregnancy.

3
Hot Exercise + Heated Classes

Another crucial thing to avoid during pregnancy is hot exercise. There is a lot of misinformation regarding hot exercise, but be wary of anyone that tells you that it is safe. Increasing your core body temperature is known as hyperthermia, and it can be extremely dangerous for pregnant women. It is especially dangerous in the first month just after contraception, but hot exercise and heated classes should be avoided at all stages of pregnancy.

Strength Training

When it comes to strength and circuit training, exercises like lunges and jumping may put excessive pressure on your belly as you get farther along in your pregnancy. Trust your body and discontinue these if they feel unsafe. Any exercises that cause you to hold your breath or could result in trauma to your belly, (for example kettlebell swings or powerlifting) I would advise against.

4
Strength Training

When it comes to strength and circuit training, exercises like lunges and jumping may put excessive pressure on your belly as you get farther along in your pregnancy. Trust your body and discontinue these if they feel unsafe. Any exercises that cause you to hold your breath or could result in trauma to your belly, (for example kettlebell swings or powerlifting) I would advise against.

Cardio

With cardio, the rule is that you should be able to continue to hold a steady conversation during exercise. For some, running may be fine up until the end of your pregnancy. Others may find this puts too much pressure on their pelvic floor. Some low-impact alternatives include walking (on both a flat surface and uphill), swimming, elliptical machine, rowing machine, and low-intensity aerobic exercise.
 

If you’re looking for exercise classes to take while pregnant, I recommend searching for something mellow on the MINDBODY app, such as restorative or gentle flow yoga, beginner Reformer Pilates, or any other light, introductory classes.
 
As a general rule, if you’re questioning whether or not something is safe to do during pregnancy, it probably isn’t. Remember that the most important thing is the safety of both you and your baby, and no form or intensity of exercise is worth sacrificing that!
 
For more information on a healthy pregnancy, including nutritious recipes and exercise ideas, check out my Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide!

5
Cardio

With cardio, the rule is that you should be able to continue to hold a steady conversation during exercise. For some, running may be fine up until the end of your pregnancy. Others may find this puts too much pressure on their pelvic floor. Some low-impact alternatives include walking (on both a flat surface and uphill), swimming, elliptical machine, rowing machine, and low-intensity aerobic exercise.
 

If you’re looking for exercise classes to take while pregnant, I recommend searching for something mellow on the MINDBODY app, such as restorative or gentle flow yoga, beginner Reformer Pilates, or any other light, introductory classes.
 
As a general rule, if you’re questioning whether or not something is safe to do during pregnancy, it probably isn’t. Remember that the most important thing is the safety of both you and your baby, and no form or intensity of exercise is worth sacrificing that!
 
For more information on a healthy pregnancy, including nutritious recipes and exercise ideas, check out my Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide!

Whitney English - MINDBODY
Written by
Whitney English
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
About the author
A former journalist and entertainment reporter in Los Angeles, Whitney English found her passion in wellness and nutrition. Tired of the quick fix promises she encountered in Hollywood, she became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer, making it her mission to research health trends to help determine the best ways to eat, move, and live for long-lasting health.