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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.
shanila sattar
Wellness
Published Wednesday Mar 17, 2021 by Shanila Sattar

Foundational Steps to Cultivating a Daily Self-love Practice

Self-care
Expert Advice
Personal Growth
Wellness

When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do. 

How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?

As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.

 

Step 1: Learn to set boundaries

Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.

When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:

  • How do I feel without having boundaries?
  • What would I like to have boundaries around?
  • Are my boundaries actual boundaries or am I creating walls in my life?
  • How do I plan to uphold my boundaries?
Step 2: Cultivate self-compassion

In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect. 

Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.

When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:

  • How do I respond to stressful situations?
  • How hard am I on myself?
  • How do I celebrate myself?
  • How do I show myself kindness?
Step 3: Nourish yourself

In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.

Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion. 

When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:

  • How do I nourish my emotional well-being?
  • How do I nourish my mental well-being?
  • How do I nourish my physical well-being?
  • How do I nourish my spiritual well-being?
  • How do I nourish my social well-being?
  • How do I nourish my financial well-being?

That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain. 

If you’d like to try breathwork, mindfulness, or play classes with me, check out these workshops and training sessions that work with your schedule. For other breathwork classes, browse Mindbody.

 

About the author
Shanila is a 4th generation sound healer, breathwork coach, mentor, women’s researcher, and speaker. She is the Founder of AlwaysPlayStudios where she trains breathwork facilitators and sound healers. Her background is in tech, having co-founded an award-winning web agency, and in women’s research, specifically in mindsets, implicit bias, perfectionism, women's health, and societal experiences supported through the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and several universities. She has implemented several health and wellbeing programs in underserved populations throughout the US. Shanila mentors healers on their healing and intuitive wellness journeys. Connect: @shanila.sattar