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Merry Christmas!!

Christmas is creeping up and I bet the calories are currently doing the same whilst the exercise is creeping down!?… For almost everyone this is the norm at this time and truth is we are unlikely to change much unless we have a major shift in our behaviours that can seem laughable this time of year for some!…

Putting all change of lifestyle chat aside because you know and I know Most people are not planning on doing very much until well into January and the idea of keeping your diet etc on point seems too much stress during Christmas!… However, maybe you don’t need to be as restrictive as you think, if, you can keep training even if it’s much less and shorter than usual…

Given that it’s difficult to avoid overeating at Christmas, researchers Ramirez-Jimenez et al (2020) decided to study exercise during the festive period from 20th dec-10th Jan and its effects on weight & other Cardio-metabolic health markers… Their randomised control trial of 53 obese males split into training & non-training groups found 9 training sessions across 3 weeks of Christmas time prevented weight gain in the training group whereas the non-training group gained weight while blood pressure, waist circumference, insulin sensitivity, cardiorespiratory fitness and the capacity to oxidize fat during exercise deteriorated.

These results may seem obvious given that one group exercised & one didn’t but what struck me was the exercise protocol used was only 43 mins on a stationary bike consisting of a 10 min warm up, 4x4 min high intense intervals with 3 mins between then 5 min cool down… 43 mins of cardio or 28 mins of HIIT is simple enough for most to do 3 times per week for 3 weeks over Christmas to negate the effects of the festive indulgence I’d say rather than setting un-realistic nutritional & lifestyle goals during this period!… I also doubt the subjects regularly hit the intensity’s prescribed during the spin intervals given (my own opinion!)… Worth mentioning there was no control over nutritional & other lifestyle factors of the subjects…

Take home message firstly I’m not saying don’t make an effort to control your diet over Christmas but it’s often inevitable for most but enjoy the festivities and just do something for 30-60 mins at least 3 times per week that constitutes exercise, even a fast paced walk will do to stave off unwanted weight gain & metabolic issues come January!… Have a cracking festive period folks!… Andy 🧑🏻‍🎄

Ramirez-Jimenez et al (2020), Effects of Exercise Training during Christmas on Body Weight and Cardiometabolic Health in Overweight Individuals, Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul; 17(13): 4732

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