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The Young Londoner has 5 expert tips for staying in shape over the festive season

‘TIS THE season for indulgence. Amongst the bright lights and festivities, it can be hard to prioritise staying active, especially when you’re juggling a busy social calendar with Christmas shopping, decorating, baking and attending office parties.

Combine your busy schedule with the excessive consumption of mince pies and mulled wine and you may notice your exercise routine dropping and your waistband expanding.

But is it possible to enjoy Christmas with all the trimmings and stay trim?

Steven Virtue, Fitness Content and Programming Manager at Total Fitness, the North’s leading mid-market health club, shares his five top tips for staying in shape over the festive period:

Set realistic goals

This is the number one thing to bear in mind when it comes to your fitness regime over Christmas. Everyone deserves a rest and the Christmas break is a great time to take some well-earned downtime. Keep sight of your fitness goals but don’t be too hard on yourself – set yourself realistic goals with plenty of time for rest and enjoying the company of family and friends. Instead of pledging to hit the gym every single day, try and maintain a low but sustainable level of exercise. This could be getting out for a short walk every other morning, doing half an hour of yoga at the weekend, or doing a quick 10-minute blast of HIIT to keep your body in the habit of exercising.

Drink lots of water

What would party season be without a festive tipple or two? Don’t deny yourself the glass of bubbly – or the deluxe hot chocolate with lashings of cream – but do remember to keep up your water intake. Drinking plenty of water not only supresses appetite; it also boosts your metabolism, helping you to digest the festive treats faster and more efficiently.

Optimise your workout

If you’re particularly short on time over the Christmas season, plan a more intensive workout to get the most of your workout window. Try VIIT (variable intensity interval training) to target all the muscles in your body, as well as the various energy systems; this will improve strength and endurance, while burning more calories. Whatever your preferred exercise is, there are ways to increase your gains in a shorter workout time. For example, when practicing yoga, intersperse your poses with quick blasts of cardio, or practice poses whilst holding weights for extra burn. If you prefer strength-training, try increasing your weights – this will induce muscle fatigue faster, shortening your workout time.

Don’t overdo it

Whilst a good fitness regime will help you stay on track during the festive season, the best way to stay in shape is to combine regular exercise with a balanced diet. Be mindful of portion control; it can be tempting to pile up your plate over the holidays or go back for a second helping of Christmas pudding but an easy way to manage weight gain is to stop eating when you feel full. The festive season would be nothing without a few delicious indulgences but be sure to also incorporate plenty of vitamins and nutrients into your festive meals. Load up on leafy greens like brussels sprouts, cabbage and other winter veg; the nutrients will give you a healthy festive glow and help replenish energy levels, so you can keep going throughout party season.

Workout with a friend

Combine your workouts with socialising by buddying up with a friend and commit to working out together over the holiday. Exercising with a friend is great way to ensure you see your fitness goals through, as you can hold each other accountable for showing up to classes or meeting for that morning walk. It’s also a great excuse to get some more socialising booked in and have a catch up.

Total Fitness is the leading mid-market health club in the north and provides more ways to get fit, stay in shape, and more support to keep members focused. With 17 health clubs across the North of England and Wales, Total Fitness provides a full-service fitness offering; guided by knowledgeable and supportive fitness teams, the brand works hard to meet the individual needs of its members. For more information, please visit:

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