Its that time of year again, and now is probably as good a time as any to get ready for the following fact:
Your diet and training is going to need to be manipulated a little to get you through the festive season and you are going to have to mentally prepare for a bit of rest and relaxation away from the gym!
A lot of multi-chain gyms and franchised gyms will probably operate a reduced Christmas to New Year opening policy (typically I see these types of gyms opening weekend or bank holiday hours such as 8-4 as opposed to the usual early AM opening and late PM closing they run through the rest of the year). Smaller gyms may completely shut for the week between Christmas and New Year with the owners opting to have a whole week off to be with loved ones and enjoy the festive season. These reduced hours may not tie in with any work commitments so start asking your gym what the opening hours will be so you can plan.
My plan – take a week off – use this as a “de-load” phase to fully recover from the last few months of hard work and heavy training. If you have to exercise because you have some sort of complex (and you’d be surprised how many people actually do!) then get out for a nice walk or play some sports. I know many of us struggle with this concept, but it will do more good than harm in the long run to take a break. Sit down and evaluate your progress, what you have achieved in 2011 and what you want to achieve in 2012 and how you are going to go about it. What has worked well for you in 2011 and what was a complete waste of your time?
Baring in mind that you may now be pencilling in a de-loading and recovery period for Christmas to New Year you may also want to think about ramping up your current training schedule. Go heavy and hard, start using drop sets, forced reps and going to failure – mainly in the week leading up to Christmas day. Give it blood sweat and tears - everything you got - in the knowledge you’ll be putting your feet up the next week.
Food wise I have already seen rumblings of “my Christmas Day dinner will be a piece of meat and broccoli” across forums…..Rejoin the real world – even most of the pro’s and pro athletes will be sitting down to a proper Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on 25th December. Schedule in a loading/cheat day for Christmas Day and lap it up – you’ve worked hard all year, you’ve earned this so tuck in and enjoy because you’ll be getting back on the straight and narrow afterwards!!