Christmas is always such an exciting time for everyone. However, it can be stressful for anyone trying to stay on track with fitness goals. We asked ex-Olympic track cyclist Dani Rowe for her health and fitness tips to help you over the festive period.
Fill up on veggies at Christmas dinner
You can still enjoy all the delicious food at Christmas but just be mindful about your plate. Try to have bigger portions of vegetables rather than the roast potatoes, stuffing and pigs in blankets. Stick to one serving of dinner - let it digest before you go back for more. Be mindful of drinking calories - try to avoid full-fat drinks with hidden calories.
Rest and recover while you spend time with loved ones
As a coach, I make sure my athletes use the festive period for rest and recovery rather than a training period. It’s always a busy time, so trying to train hard will only put your body under stress and put you at a high risk of getting sick. Enjoy the mental break of spending time with loved ones and switching off from the strict schedule.
Organise training around the festivities
I always had Christmas Day off as an athlete. You would always have a day off in the week so why not schedule this to be Christmas Day? Try to be organised with other commitments so it doesn’t become stressful closer to the time. This way you can make your training work around the festive commitments. One tip could be running or cycling to a destination of a Christmas festivity. I used to cycle to my Grandmas on Boxing Day. That way I saved time, got my training in and could fully enjoy myself once I arrived with the family.
Be seen on the roads
The weather is generally cold, dark and wet around Christmas so safety is crucial. You should all be making yourselves as visible as possible. Fluorescent/reflective clothing should be worn and front and rear lights when cycling (even during the day). I would always advise people not to ride if there is risk of ice – it’s not worth the risk and training can be replicated on the turbo.
Training indoors can be more time-efficient in the busy festive period. Myself and our Rowe and King coaches always prescribe indoor training sessions to enhance the quality of efforts and make the most of time to train. By training indoors you have no reason to stop pedalling, unlike on the road where you could be stopped by traffic lights or junctions. You can even race indoors with new indoor cycling platforms, such as Zwift, which provide a social element to riding inside. Additionally, strength and conditioning training is great to focus on over the winter - either in a gym or at home where you can focus on specific exercises to help with your sport or event.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.