Combine festive feasts, tasty tipples and a severe lack of training, and you’ll be saying hello to a slightly out of shape post-Christmas body.
But fear not, if you’re staring into the mirror wondering how to put right your wrongs, we’re here to get you back on track.
If you’re a serious trainer like myself, deviating from your planned macros over the Christmas period can be a welcome break from your usual strict diet. But whilst Christmas is typically a time for over indulgence, it is important not to continue this into the New Year. Getting back on track is essential and will ensure you’re back to building your perfect body again, with minimum down time.
Whilst it might seem hard swapping roast potatoes, stuffing and Christmas pudding for your usual diet, it is important you switch back ASAP. To make the transition easier, focus on healthy meals that you actually enjoy, that way it won’t feel like such hard work. What about a tasty turkey curry followed by a protein powder pudding? For more recipes ideas check out our free Ultimate Protein Recipes ebook.
You could also incorporate cheat days to make the shift a bit more pleasant. Not only will they keep you sane, but they will also stop your metabolism from slowing down and replenish your glycogen stores (if you usually eat low carb).
To get back to your pre-Christmas shape, try looking at some pictures of yourself in peak condition. It always helps to have motivation, and one of the biggest motivators is looking at past pictures of yourself in better shape. I know several competitive bodybuilders who use this technique in their prep, and the mental boost can be the difference between an average workout and an amazing workout.
New Year’s resolutions are another way to motivate yourself, but before you set them, make sure they are realistic. Try to set yourself some achievable goals to meet over the year, and then break them down into staggered stages to monitor your progress. An example goal could be adding 10-15kg lean body mass by the end of the year. To achieve this, simply break down into quarterly targets, and work towards those. It is much easier to achieve smaller, regular targets than having tunnel vision towards the end goal.
You will most likely be feeling well rested after the New Year, and will feel a noticeable increase in strength. Make sure to put this renewed strength to good use by getting back to training.
Even if you are fizzing with motivation, make sure you ease back into your routine slowly. Whilst the rest from the gym will have done you good – many bodybuilders take a 1-week break every 6 to 8 weeks – it is important to ease back into it. Whilst it is always important, warming up is extra essential after a week off.
The New Year could also be a great time to start a new training regime, as keeping the body guessing with new workouts can be a great way to encourage growth. So why not consider something you may not have tried before? Try a week of hypertrophy training followed by a week of strength training. Or switch to the classic PPL (Push, Pull, Legs) routine to see what works well for you.
The Christmas period is fun and it’s OK to let yourself go, with such rigorous dedication shown in the previous 51 weeks, some time off to recharge and refresh can be just what the doctor ordered. Just make sure you keep your eyes on the prize and dive back in with 100% dedication and focus. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to excelling your 2014 goals before you know it.