Welcome to our Guest Writer Nuria Novoa!  Nuria is a personal trainer at Eastside Barbell in Christchurch and she's also quite the dynamic mover on the fitness stage. Nuria has won the NABBA/WFF and NZIFBB Fitness classes and is also the Overall International Figure champion at the NZIFBB Nationals 10. 

Thank you Nuria for your contribution and giving me the gift of resting from writing this Christmas :)

  The festive season is perhaps the hardest time of year to stay motivated about training and nutrition goals, so Lisa and I thought it would be great to write about this and provide Gofigure readers with some tips that are helpful, yet realistic enough to follow!

left: Nuria and Lisa 

My philosophy for advising my clients is to help them learn about making balanced choices, rather than avoiding "bad" foods & alcohol, so here are some ideas relating to being able to enjoy yourself over the festive season - while not completely falling off the wagon! 

I thought I'd cover 5 points - how to deal with more social functions, alcohol, training through this time, being given food as gifts & frame of mind.

Functions, work do's & parties...

Most of us do more socialising around Christmas & the New Year & this almost always involves food & alcohol!  If you have several social engagements in the same week I would suggest finding a way to maintain some control while still allowing yourself to enjoy life.  For example you could chose to eat clean at every other event you attend opting for meats & green salads & avoiding desserts, breads, cheeses & pasta/potato salads with creamy dressings etc.  Or you could choose to have a little of what you feel like but keep your portion sizes small & avoid second helpings.


Rather than advising people to avoid alcohol (unrealistic for many of us!) I encourage making smart choices.  There are several low carbohydrate beers available now such as Speights "traverse" or Stella Artois "Légere" which have about 3g of carbs & 80-90 calories per bottle.  If you like spirits try to mix these with diet soft drinks or soda/tonic water rather than higher carb (sugar) options such as coke or fruit juice.  Obviously drinking in moderation is also the key if you don't want it to have a big effect on your waistline!  If you are hosting a party provide some healthier options if you can.  Jugs of water with ice & citrus fruit or kaffir lime leaves is refreshing on hot days as a non alcoholic option.



With the extra food & alcohol that goes hand in hand with this time of year it is a good ideas to keep up your training, or even to increase activity levels to help counteract some of those extra calories!  If you find yourself shorter on time, rather than missing workouts all together because the gym takes up too much time - why not try shorter & higher intensity training instead.  This could be a circuit at home using what's around you & bodyweight exercises (such as push ups, tricep dips, lunges, step ups etc), or get yourself a few basic pieces of equipment to use at home such as dynabands or a skipping rope.  You could do 30 mins or high intensity exercise 5-6 days a week rather than your usual 3-4x 1hour plus gym workouts.

When you get given food as gifts!

A group of my clients have just finished an 8week challenge - one of them asked me an interesting question the other day, if you get given chocolates as a present would it be better to just eat them on the day & get it over with or try spread them out and have less at once... my advice was why not enjoy the ones you really like & share the rest out.  For example if I was given Cadbury roses I have favourites like the mint & caramello ones but I don't actually like the marshmallow or strawberry ones so rather than eat those too just because they're there Id offer these to someone else!

Frame of mind... don't sweat the small stuff!

Something I often talk about with my clients is to try not to beat yourself up about over small slip ups or the odd missed training session. One workout less here & there or 2 biscuits you hadn't planned on eating won't undo all your hard work & progress to date, but if fall into the "oh well I've screwed up now I may as well just start again on Monday" mind set you will find it hard to get anywhere!

So to summarise this advice:

-          Try to make some balanced choices with food

-          Limit alcohol & go for lower calorie options where possible

-          Keep training, up the activity or intensity if you can!

-          Don't eat everything you're given just because it's there

-          Stay positive & don't let little slip ups get to you!


Nuria Novoa
13 December 10

Nuria runs value for money bootcamps for only $10 per session.
You can contact her at her website http://nurianovoafitness.com/ or on facebook here


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