By Nutritionist, Hannah Norris
During the social time of year that is also known as Christmas, we may find ourselves missing training, eating differently and trying to juggle work with parties. So, with Christmas parties a go, how can you recover quicker and keep your energy up throughout the festive season?
Firstly, as a nutritionist I try to encourage people not to be so hard on themselves and take their focus away from any weight loss goals and instead focus on maintaining some sort of routine and healthy eating, so it’s not horribly difficult come January. It’s a wonderful time of year to see friends and family and enjoy the merry moods and we should embrace this.
That being said, we can still be healthy and still exercise during this time of year, and here are some top tips to keep you on top form.
Try get daily movement and exercise in, as exercise is so good at helping our bodies flush out toxins and actually improves energy and mood overall. We’ve all been there where we’ve not worked out for a while and we start to become sluggish. However, as we’re going to be busy, sleeping less and drinking more alcohol etc. we want to ensure we’re still recovering with hydration, protein including BCAAs and of course carbs (but there’s no shortage of carbs at christmas time!). Plus to help us get those workouts in, some caffeine may help…
We all know caffeine can be a life saver for helping us stay awake and keep going and may be helpful for you to maintain your exercise routine. Caffeinated drinks are a great option pre-workout to give us a boost of energy, when we mayyyyy be a little worse for wear from a few late nights of festive fun.
However, if we don’t have it at the ‘right’ time, it actually doesn't serve us. The best times to consume caffeine are an hour after waking and then no later than around 1/2pm.
B vitamins are crucial for energy metabolism, i.e. giving us energy. When we drink alcohol, B vitamins such as folate, thiamin, biotin and B12 are depleted so we should ideally consume foods high in B vitamins on a hangover, however lets be honest sometimes that’s not possible, so grabbing a drink infused with B vitamins, like Upbeat, is a great way to top up.
The festive season is known to be loaded with high sugar, high fat and non-nutritious foods. Yes, they’re delicious, but often low in protein. Protein is not just important for workouts, we need it daily to keep our bodies functioning properly. However I understand it’s not always easy to get into meals (unless you’re having a turkey roast!) so adding protein in via a drink, with no added sugar, may be a convenient and low calorie option.
In addition to this, the difference in diet, less sleep and alcohol can disrupt our digestion, meaning we absorb less nutrients including protein, so topping the levels up in an easy to digest way such as Upbeat, which uses clear whey (a highly digestible protein) can be a good way to do this.
Last but not least, hydration is key. Drinking more alcohol, doing more, sleeping less and probably eating more high sodium (salty) food means getting those extra fluids in are going to help keep your energy levels up. When we’re dehydrated we feel worse and don’t perform as well! Dehydration is also to blame for our not so ‘glowy’ skin. Research shows a low fat whey drink can improve how well we hydrate.
I’m all for water and I encourage clients to drink as much as possible, but if we can combine some key nutrients and ingredients and have something that tastes nice and less than 100 calories, all in one? Winner.