USANA Athlete Tips: Keeping Fit and Healthy over the Festive Season

The festive season is a great challenge for everyone, especially for our team of USANA Sponsored Athletes. If anyone knows to survive the season, they definitely do!!! So for all you health and fitness lovers out there, here’s some advice that our athletes have to offer…

"Christmas time is always busy, visiting friends and family and the whole social experience. I travel a lot in the months leading up to the middle of December and so for me I find it to be particularly hectic. I use this time as a bit of a rest period from my normal squash specific training, so I am not working as hard as I normally do, however I still like to do something most days to keep active.

I don’t see a lot of summer time, so I like to make the most of it and be outside. I find that the best thing for me is to get up in the morning and to have a training session straight away. I mix things up, sometimes I will go for a run, workout in the gym, or maybe a casual bike, but I always try to do it first thing in the morning. If I wait until the afternoon, I find too many distractions and then this is when I have a much bigger chance of not doing a training session that particular day. I have found this to work best for me over the summer period and hope it works for you too during the summer holiday season."

Martin Knight, Professional Squash player

"The best way to stay healthy and fit over the holidays is to set yourself a specific goal. At the moment is the right time to look for something to train for or set a specific goal. It can be something like a little race, for example a 5km running race or a bike race or whatever you like. It could even be something for yourself, for example do your favourite running loop faster or do a higher weight in the gym. But you want to achieve it by January or February. By doing this, you will always have it at the back of your mind, while still allowing yourself to have a nice Christmas dinner. You will try to make up for it the next day, because you want to achieve your goal. Myself, I will have a big race at the end of January. I am very excited about the Christmas holiday period, because I know, I have a few more holidays and time to do more training. I will still have some treats and nice food, but will run it off the next day. Allow yourself to some treats, but make sure you do an extra km the next day :) Have a happy Christmas Holiday! "

Britta Martin, Triathlete and Triathlon coach

"During my break I am still active, I just change my routine to keep it fresh and interesting; to give the top two inches a break and have fun. I like getting into activities with my family. I took up aqua aerobics with my mum while off the bike for a while. It was solidly entertaining and provided a good excuse to visit the coffee shop for mother-daughter time afterwards. I also went on a few tramps/ rock climbing/ kayak expeditions with my sister and her crazy outdoor friends which was so much fun :)

I am also a fan of Bikram Yoga, it’s a hard workout, but very social and relaxing. Once again it is simply something different to do, that will help maintain fitness. I like it because it is an all over body workout, so helps balance my proportions somewhat (the upper body in most cyclists is non-existent).

I tend to get a bit spontaneous during the indulgent season too, with food and exercise. I find that I am rather relaxed with what I eat, but I am still conscious of not overeating, which is an important factor to maintaining shape without strict training regimes. I jump in the occasional social/indoor sports games, take dance lessons with friends, fall on my face and trip over my poles attempting Nordic walking and generally do things which are new, or that I think I would enjoy. I do still get in the saddle for the odd toodle, and even joined the dark side, going mountain biking a couple of times.

The main thing is keeping it relaxed, fun and interesting."

Ashleigh Neave, Cyclist

"Maintaining your health and fitness over the Christmas & New Year celebrations is absolutely possible, and believe it or not you can still enjoy the festivites and start the new year feeling fit and fabulous to boot! Like any goal you need to make plans and a commitment to stick to them. You might actually find this is a time you can sneak in a bit of extra exercise, if you have some time away from work.
For me, I always keep the bigger picture in mind- in my case the next big competition and my goal to win a medal at the next Paralympics. Christmas and New Year fall right in the middle of the swimming season in Australia, so I have been training hard for months and over indulging just isn't worth it. For me Christmas is MOST fun when I KNOW I AM STILL ON TRACK WITH MY TRAINING.

If I am heading into a REALLY major competition, not much about my routine changes. I will be training on Christmas eve, sometimes even on Christmas day. If the public pool is closed on the public holidays I substitute by going for a ride of my handcycle in the park or doing a workout at home.

One way we tend to over indulge during the festive season is with all the delicious food at parties and friends’ places. To help with this I often take a healthy dish to a gathering, which other friends can enjoy and can help me keep on track. I prefer to taste a few 'treat' items I will REALLY enjoy rather than try EVERYTHING. Filling up on salads and light options help.

I like to get my training done for the day before heading off to celebrate with friends and family so I am free to enjoy the rest of the day.

Wishing you a Merry, Happy and Healthy Christmas!"

Marayke Jonkers, Paralympian

"I find Christmas is that part of the year to enjoy myself and spend time with family, but I justify eating all the good stuff by substituting it for exercise, for example during that time I will take the stairs instead of the escalator.

Eating in moderation is also a good way of handling it - eat what you want but in moderation. Seeing as though this time of year there are so many festivities going on, if I have to drive I'll park a good walk away so I get some exercise that way."

Nathan Charles, Australian Rugby Union player and Super 15 Rugby player

"This is a very easy question for me to answer because at this time of year in New Zealand we are preparing for Surf Life Saving and Kayak Nationals and for Events in Australia. So if you don't stay on track with the training and the complete nutritional regime you can kiss your season goodbye so it is business as usual!! There is time to rest at the end of March but not over Christmas and New Year. For example -The Squad I train with were all out on the Ocean in Surf Skis at 7am last Christmas day. I can remember that it was a stunning morning, warm and still with a glassy ocean and we paddled from the Club to the Coastal Mountains and back, around 25kms, before going home to a Christmas breakfast!! We still have time with friends and family but it makes it so much easier when your friends and "Family" are the people you train with because we help each other keep on track and encourage and support everyone.
I guess it depends on how dedicated you are and what goals you have but if you are part of Teams, whether it be Double Surf Ski or K2 Kayak, then you need to be on the same page with your Team Mate!"

- Alex Fort, Kayaker and Surf Life Saver

Some great advice from our athletes which each one of us can incorporate into our own festive and holiday routine. So get started and make your personal plan to stay healthy and fit this holiday season!

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