Don't fall off the clean eating and workout wagon this holiday season. Use these tips from IFBB Pro Raechelle Chase to help you stay motivated
One of the biggest challenges for me, leading up to Christmas is staying motivated between events as the pro figure calendar usually runs between March and November. When you’re right in the midst of achieving a goal, it’s easier to keep up the drive, keep the focus and work as hard as you possibly can. The end point is continually in sight, the steps are in place and you keep working towards it. But when the event is over, it can be hard to keep the momentum going and stay on track until the next event. And, as I’m sure we’d all agree, you don’t want to have to go back to the start once the pressure really does come back on.
My advice is to have mini goals – these are smaller goals that I set myself along the way. They help to keep me motivated but also keep it fun and fresh. Maybe try different types of training that are outside of the weights room. Booking photo shoots is always a motivating way to stay in shape.
My second piece of advice is to surround yourself with people who are doing similar training, or are just generally motivated people. You’ll feed off their energy and they’ll feed off yours. And that little piece of advice works in reverse as well – if you’re surrounded by a lack of motivation or, worse, lethargy, you’ll feel that lack of energy, too. So, if you have someone who can help you reach your goals and stay focused, you’ll reap the benefits. If necessary, hire someone — a personal trainer will certainly keep you on track.
The festive season certainly has its share of temptation when it comes to that element of dieting. Trust me, I may be a pro figure professional but chocolate and I go way back. But, just like working out, you also do need to keep focused on your diet to ensure all the good work you have done to date doesn’t go out the window.
One of the best things you can do is plan. If you’re meeting friends out for dinner, plan to choose a healthy option from the menu and make sure you skip dessert. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff to alter it to suit your needs – “no rice/bread/frying for me, thanks,” or “please leave off the sauce/jus.” Most restaurant staff are usually quite accommodating when you ask for variations of the menu, or even order something not on the menu at all!
Now back to that eating plan – as they say, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. So, to plan for those moments when you’re likely to be hungry and head for the fridge, have a whole day’s worth of food ready to go. I find that when I’m hungry, I can barely wait to eat so if the food is there at my reach, I’ll grab that. Things like nuts, ready-cut veggies or low-fat yogurt are terrific to snack on. Keep plenty of healthy alternatives on-hand in your house, and minimize those that aren’t on your diet plan.
Make a plan, if you can eat healthy and keep to your game plan for five days of the week, then you can allow yourself a treat day. It’s good for you mentally – after all, we all need a treat now and again – and, it also has physical benefits. Scientific studies show that when you cut back on carbs, your metabolism starts to slow down. And it can be good for your body to shock it once a week by giving yourself more calories than it is used to. The theory is that this can kick-start your metabolism into overdrive, which in turn helps you during the following week as your metabolism reaches higher speeds for fat burning once again.
The holiday season is synonymous with overindulgence, both in food but also in alcohol. Without preaching from the sobriety pulpit here, it has to be said that alcohol does not mix well with a training program. Not only does too much booze set you back in your training – after all, who can train well when they are hideously hung-over? The truth is, there are a ton of calories in almost all alcoholic beverages. At the same time, alcohol also stimulates your appetite, so the upshot is you’re very likely to eat more if you’re drinking alcohol than you would with a glass of water by your side. The key, like everything, is moderation. It’s not that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself – just be smart about it.
A quick recap one of my favorite sayings is that ‘It doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’re still running rings around everyone sitting on the couch’. Just getting started means you’re a step ahead. So use the upcoming holiday period as an opportunity to refocus and re-energize.