There’s always lots of food and drink about over Christmas, it would be boring without! But what should I try to avoid or keep to a minimum?

Everybody’s ‘naughty’ food is different so it’s hard to say what an individual should avoid.   It’s best to keep party snacks to a minimum and eat (and drink) in moderation.   Avoid fatty food like rich meat pates and blue cheese.  Stick to alternatives such mackerel pate and lighter cheese such as feta. These are much healthier.  Also it’s tempting but try to avoid eating bread (and wine) with every meal.

It is important to drink lots of water during the party season.  It will help offset the hunger feeling that comes with dehydration from over-indulging on the alcohol!   Dehydration can give the brain the same signals as hunger and you don’t want that!

And if your willpower beings to waver just remember – it takes approx three miles of running to burn off one mince pie!

What’s the best exercise plan to adopt over the Christmas period?

It’s inevitable that your fitness regime will take the back seat during the festive season.  But you can still enjoy all the parties and family celebrations and keep fit.  There are lots of things you can do to keep up your exercise programme at home.  Remember you don’t need to spend time travelling to and from the gym during the festive period! Instead you can set time aside to perform some mini circuit based workouts at home.  Here at Edgbaston Priory Club our fitness instructors and personal trainers advise members on the best exercises to perform at home.

There’s bound to be a few heavy nights drinking over the festive period, should I exercise the following day?

Avoid exercising early in the morning following a heavy drinking session the night before.  You will be dehydrated and your body will not be in the best state to perform exercise.  Make sure you drink lots of water and exercise later in the day if you really want to train.  Even then you should reduce the intensity of your normal workouts; the body will certainly not be in the condition to be breaking any personal bests!  It’s probably better to go for a walk and take in some fresh air!

If I miss a whole two weeks of exercising I find it really hard to get back into training, any tips?

The easy answer to this one is don’t! Edgbaston Priory Club is only closed for Christmas Day so we’re always there to help members get back in shape after Christmas!  No seriously, if you follow the suggestions above and plan in some downscaled workouts at home you will find it much easier to get back into your normal routine in the New Year!

If you do miss a whole two weeks of exercise the best thing to do is ease back into it gently and not rush back into the level of intensity you were doing before. You may need to drop the weight down slightly on machines and free weights then build back up gradually.  Jumping straight back into your old routine could cause injury.

Are there any exercises you suggest to do at home to at least ensure I keep my training momentum up?

The best exercises to do at home are bodyweight ones like squats, lunges, crunches, press ups and tricep dips on the edge of a chair or bed.  You could try doing a set of crunches or squats during the adverts of a programme or film you are watching.

However, we would advise you consult your fitness instructor or personal trainer who will be able to suggest a programme appropriate to your needs and fitness levels.

We would recommend going for a brisk walk as light exercise after a heavy meal.  It’s a much better aid to digesting your Christmas dinner than slumping on the sofa in your pjs !

The Health & Fitness Team at EPC