So without any further ado we have come the end of the year, and that means parties, functions, catch-ups and long lazy lunches to celebrate the festive time.

Now let’s add to the mix end of the year work projects, family life, children, spouses, friends and any other obligation that still needs to be dealt with and you got a recipe for burnout and disaster. The festive time of the year can be one of great joy and endless celebrations and parties however, if you don’t bring your A-game in terms of health and fitness you can quickly suffer more than just indigestion after you finish Christmas lunch. The end of the year balancing act is indeed a tough trick to master, making sure you get enough sleep,  stay hydrated and fuel your body appropriately is key to keeping on top of all of your responsibilities. Keeping your daily routine to an achievable amount will make sure you survive the “silly season”.

1) AM -PM: Making sure you begin and end your day right is a huge factor in making sure the festive season goes smoothly. In the AM (or as soon as you rise) start the day with warm lemon water or teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water if you prefer. This tried and true old wives tale can help kickstart the digestive system, detox from whatever you’ve done the night before and help to keep your complexion glowing. It’s best to do this on an empty stomach so that it can be easily digested. In the PM (or whenever you get home) make sure you end the day hydrated. I have  been ending my day with a simple “ shot”  of green  juice. Simply blend one thumb of ginger,  half a lemon, half sliced and peeled cucumber, with 250mL of whatever water you prefer (such as cold coconut water or just tap water) and drink before bed (you can blend it in whatever juicer, blender or nutribullet-like device you have). This simple recipe is a lot quicker than trying to do the standard green juice and the less ingredients you need to have on hand the easier it’s going to be.   This “shot” at the end of the night will help to keep you hydrated and hopefully reduce any “side-effects” (read: hangover) that may occur the following day.

2) Shake what yo Mumma gave you: It’s not always easy to stick to exercise routine, formalised workouts such as group fitness classes and personal training can often go unattended. Don’t beat yourself up over it if you can’t make it to the gym or if you have to cancel personal training to attend functions, it’s the festive season! It’s when we spend time with our nearest and dearest. So being realistic about the time and scheduling a personal training session or fitness class that you definitely know you can make. You can always increase your home practices, such as committing to walking to and from the train station, going for a jog for after work – you can even start a home yoga practice at home. And finally just get on the dance floor if you’re at a  function!! It may be the only time that week that you get some movement into the body.

3) Food Fight: The festive time of year doesn’t have to result in a food fight. Making sure you have a well-stocked kitchen full of simple ingredients that can be consumed quickly is key. Simple ingredients like fresh fruit and veg. Three of my favourites would have to be spinach, mushrooms and zucchini these ingredients can be whipped up into an omelette (just add the egg), they can be sautéed and eaten on their own or even cooked into a simple veg-quinoa bake. Making sure you’ve got lots of fresh fruit in the house to snack on is always handy. A good friend of mine, who is also a personal trainer, once gave me the best tip: simply buy the biggest salad bowl you can find,  place it in the centre of your kitchen bench and fill it with as much fresh fruit as possible. Anything from avocados, peaches, apples, bananas etc — whatever fruit you like and keep the bowl full.  This way if you’re ever in a hurry and on the run, you will always have fresh fruit ready to go. Also stocking up on good snack items such as nuts, seeds, and maybe even dried fruit. Making sure you eat before you attend functions is key to avoiding binge eating. If it’s possible, try not to attend an event starving. Sometimes that is difficult to do if you are on the run from one event to the next but, if possible, try to make sure you’ve got healthy food options at home so you don’t hit the party scene on an empty stomach.

The most important thing at this time of the year is to enjoy yourself. Indulge in the food you love,  have a glass of wine or two, and spent time with the people who mean the most to you. You have plenty of time to get back into a routine of working out and get back to your clean eating lifestyle. Having realistic expectations of yourself and your time means you will make the best choices for you.

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