While Christmas is an incredibly busy time for professional clubs, amateur footballers are usually able to take it a little easier – especially with the threat of frozen pitches ruling out matches for weeks on end.
With no football to play, this often means that fitness can take a backseat; replaced by gingerbread houses and rivers of eggnog. All well and good, although by January you will have to scamper to shift some excess weight to get back to your best on the pitch.
That is why, in this article, we take a look at some simple ways you can keep the weight off and not be a pig in a blanket come the new year.
Balance Your Calories
We get it – Christmas is a time for indulgence and spending time eating in a way that you probably wouldn’t throughout the rest of the year. Yet, you don’t need to chow down like Henry VIII at every meal to enjoy Christmas.
Remember that calories are important. If you are trying to stay in shape, you don’t have to count calories, but follow some golden rules: eat protein and vegetables (to keep yourself full), and eat slowly (to aid the feeling of fullness).
If that fails, at least aim to balance your gargantuan feasts with lighter meals and snacks. For example, if you know you are going to overeat at lunch, try a lighter breakfast, or a Whey90 or Vegan Protein shake, which are both high in protein but low in calories.
Crucially, if you aren’t hungry, don’t eat! We understand, the struggle is very real, but just because it’s Christmas and just because you are attending a party with a lavish buffet, doesn’t mean that you need to eat yourself into a coma. Try to use some common sense, and your waistline will thank you come January.
While you may not be training as hard as usual, and it is good to give your body a rest (see below), you can still keep moving over the festive period.
This will help burn calories, move nutrients around your body, and keep you feeling fresher than had you spent the full week blobbed out on the sofa.
Remember that gyms are still open over Christmas, so you can work on both your strength and cardio fitness.
If the thought of going to a gym over Christmas makes you wince, then try something lighter than you would usually do. Perhaps a short run around the park (perfect excuse to try out those new togs you had for Christmas) or a brisk family walk in nature. Give all that sugar you have eaten a purpose and it is less likely to turn to fat.
If you feel healthy, you are more likely to do the healthier eating and movement we have mentioned. If you have a stinking cold, then you are more likely to want to lie in bed watching Gavin and Stacey reruns with a box of Quality Street for company.
So, staying healthy is important this Christmas – and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
When it comes to Christmas dinner, you can easily balance all the naughty stuff with lots of fresh vegetables (eat your sprouts – they are full of fibre, antioxidants, and are low in calories!). This will help keep colds and flus at bay.
Unfortunately, the festive season will always be dominated by chocolate log and cheese-filled profiteroles, which aren’t known for their vitamin and mineral content. This means that it is wise to supplement with a good multivitamin supplement, which will act as an insurance policy. Taking extra Vitamin D is also wise at this time of the year, especially in a cloudy country such as the UK.
Relax and Recover
If you have been training as hard as we recommend in our complete guide to football training, then chances are you will need a bit of a rest. This will allow your body to recover, and feel strong and injury-free come January.
The Christmas holidays are the perfect time to do this. Explore some active recovery techniques – such as light movement (see above) or stretching – or invest in a sports massage to get rid of any niggling issues. Even catching up on good quality sleep can help you recover.
You can also try our Collagen Repair Shots, which are designed to help support the recovery process after an injury, and get you ready for the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, remember that Christmas is a time to relax and enjoy. Taking a week away from football and fitness – especially if you go hard for the rest of the year – can do wonders for both your mental and physical health.
Kick back, grab a Focus90 shot, and get ready to crush your nan at scrabble. Let’s face it, she’s been asking for it all year – this is your time.
Happy Christmas from everyone at Soccer Supplement!