Forget the 12 days of Christmas… here are 12 reasons to stay motivated this festive season. Below are my quick 12 tips to stay on track with your swimming, training and healthy eating.
Book your appointments in advance. If you’re booked in early with your coach, you can plan your christmas shopping, family visits and present wrapping around your training! No more excuses, fail to prepare – prepare to fail. Don’t leave your training until last, it will most lightly fall by the wayside.
2. Set achievable goals
Small achievable goals are ‘quick wins’ that are easy to accomplish. For example, this week I have swapped coffee for green tea… Seems very small, but its made a massive improvement to my energy levels with an added bonus of calorie reduction (from cutting the milk) This approach is much more realistic than saying “I’m going to cut out coffee from my diet forever” In the long term plan, my ‘quick wins’ are going to build momentum and become ‘big wins’.
3. Find a training partner!
Find someone with similar health and fitness goal to you and plan to go for a swim together or go for a walk on your lunch break with them. The more people that are involved, the more likely you are to stick to the activity as you don’t want to let the others down. When they are feeling unmotivated, you are there to help them and vice versa. Plus the added bonus of being able to have your weekly catch up!
4. Keep it varied
Keeping variety in your exercise helps to stop plateaus and builds motivation. Why not ask your coach if you could focus on a new target for a few weeks? Ever thought of learning to swim butterfly? Well, now might be a good time, you have plenty of time to practice before impressing your friends and family on next years summer holiday.
5. Make the right choice
Knowing that you are in the gym, in the pool, eating your chicken and vegetables whilst everyone else is indulging in the box of chocolates watching Christmas movies makes you feel like you are really achieving your healthy goals! And you can still enjoy the Christmas songs whilst working out and the Christmas film when you’re home.
6. Surviving the work Christmas buffet
Overindulging is very common around this time of year, you don’t want to feel like you’re ‘missing out’ on the mince pies, especially at the office Christmas party. It’s easy to fill your plate with food, if you’re like me, you’ll make sure you’re up first before your colleagues so that you get the pick of the buffet. Just have a little think about what you’re eating, do you really need that 4th mince pie?
7. Do your exercise early
Doing exercise in the morning or on your lunch break will get it out of the way, instead of you thinking about it all day. Achieve something early, earn your breakfast, clear your mind and set yourself up for the day. Not forgetting the added benefit of kick starting your metabolism by getting that blood pumping. Check with your swimming coach to see if they have any earlier lessons available.
8. HIIT training is your new best friend
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is great for those who are short on time and struggle to fit in a workout. There are some great online workouts lasting only 15 minutes that you can do in your own home. Most of these workouts go on 30 seconds of hard work, followed by 30 seconds of rest and really get the heart pumping. Try and schedule a couple of these into your busy week and you’ll reap the benefits. You could even do HIIT training in the pool- try doing one length maximum effort followed by one length nice and easy.
9. Book yourself a challenge for the new year
Ever considered the Great North Swim? Triathlon? Booking an event like one of these will keep you on track to achieving your goals in the pool. The Great North Swim have a variety of distances so you are sure to find something suitable for your ability (250m, ½ mile, 1 mile, 2 miles, 5k and 10k open water swims). They are great fun, as well as the opportunity to raise money for charity so it’s a win-win situation!
10. Consistency is key
Missing a big chunk of time over Christmas will set your fitness back a few weeks and make it really hard to get going in the new year. Keep up your weekly lessons, even adding in a couple of extras for extra practice. You don’t want your hard work to go down the drain.
11. Give yourself some ‘Me’ time
All that Christmas shopping is too much and the thought of preparing Christmas dinner may be very stressful! Giving yourself some ‘me’ time will clear your mind allowing you to complete these tasks a little easier. The festive period is a good time to get those extra swimming lessons and training sessions in. Look after your mind and body by creating the perfect balance of enjoyment and fitness.
12. Don’t forgo the treats!
It’s all about balance, everyone deserves a treat, if you stay on track with your training, there’s is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a few treats at Christmas. Just be a little mindful what you’re eating, immerse yourself in the festivities and be ‘in the moment’, knowing that you’ve worked hard and you’ve earned it.
Here is a short video from a few clients about what keeps them motivated! Enjoy!