1. Drink more water
Optimal hydration is key to staying on track. Without enough water we are unable to perform at our physical and mental best, and we may feel hungrier- the last thing you need when Christmas mince pies and ham are in easy reach!!
The human body turns over about 100ml an hour so we need at least two litres per day to remain hydrated.
2.Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in the morning
Both Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and lemon juice are time honoured naturopathic remedies to promote digestion and detoxification. They are also highly alkaline promoting in the body. Perfect for times when you may be over indulging!
3. Eat at least six fist sized servings of vegetables per day
Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and other essential nutrients. These ‘little’ guys are like the spark plugs in your car—without them you’re not going anywhere! I think of vitamins and minerals as the keys that unlock cellular processes, and the body cannot effectively utilise fat for fuel or store carbohydrates and protein where we want them to be stored (in muscle and other functional tissue) without them. Do enjoy yourself over the christmas break but aim to still get in your veges!
4.Drink green tea
Green tea is packed with antioxidants and is also a potent thermogenic that increases metabolic rate and the utilisation of fat for fuel. It has around 1/3 the caffeine of coffee and so provides less stress on our already over taxed adrenals system whilst still giving benefits in cognition, alertness and fat loss and also gently relaxes through the actions of l-theanine, an amino acid with proven benefits for mood, relaxation and cognition.
5. Use a quality ‘green’ supplement
A good quality Greens supplement can be like a ‘nutritional insurance policy’. It provides a range of essential and secondary nutrients to support your health and make sure that you are getting what you need to perform and feel at your best. While you may not be eating as well as you usually do over the Christmas break- using a green supplement will ensure you don’t get too far off track!
6. Get straight back on the horse
If you ever have a ‘slip up’, be it not getting into the gym when you had meant to, or eating something that’s not on your plan—simply get straight back on track. Remember that we are in this skin a long time. One slip up does not mean complete failure! In fact if you get straight back on track and take the learning from the deviation you will continue to move steadily towards your goals.
7. Perform high intensity interval training
Second only to strength training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), sprinting protocols or metabolic conditioning (Met-Con) work is the most effective form of training. Overall it promotes a much greater loss of fat than slow, steady cardio – even when performed for much shorter periods. It therefore gives the biggest training stimulus with the least amount of time input. So perform HIIT training to ensure you can spend as much time with loved ones but still head towards your goal! A simple protocol is to: warm up for four minutes; then sprint for one minute—jog for one minute (for a total of 8mins), and then warm down for four minutes.
8. Just move more!
Increased movement, the act of simply doing more, helps to not just increase the amount of calories we are expending, but also helps to actively recover from high intensity training.. It makes sense—in ‘real world’ situations we move through different movements, in different planes, on different surfaces, not to mention we are simply on our feet much more than if we are more sedentary!
9. Get enough sleep!
Sleep is crucial to the recovery and repair of our bodies. A lot of restoration and repair occurs while we are asleep and sleep is critical for achieving an optimal hormonal balance. If we get insufficient sleep we are less likely to be able to build and maintain muscle optimally and we are more prone to overtraining, injury and also to overeating and mood disorders. It has been conclusively demonstrated that even just one poor night’s sleep can result in over-eating and sugar craving!
Stress affects our ability to train intensely, recover effectively and get enough sleep. It also directly affects fat-loss by promoting the ‘fight or flight’ response which includes providing more sugar to the body from internal stores. This sugar is supposed to allow us extra fuel to run away from tigers, but we don’t use it, and so it promotes insulin release and the potential for fat storage. Learning strategies to relax is therefore crucial to both health and weight loss! So be sure to unwind this silly season and enjoy a well deserved break!
These tips are taken from the book ’99 things you need to know to lose fat’ by Cliff Harvey.
Research and popular science articles by the members and faculty of the Holistic Performance Institute.