Seven tips on how to stay fit and healthy over Christmas

Are you looking for ways to stay fit and healthy over the Christmas period? Worried you might come off track and give in to all that temptation that's around at this time of year? Or, perhaps you just want to give yourself a head start and start your New Year's resolutions early?

Well, just because it's Christmas, it doesn't mean you have to postpone working towards your fitness and weight loss goals until the New Year. You can start now! If you do, it will feel a lot less daunting when you return to the gym in January.

Don't get us wrong, we're not saying that you should deprive yourself of all that delicious food that will most likely be shoved in front of you at some point over the holidays. We're just saying that you can enjoy an indulgent Christmas without skipping your workouts and piling on the pounds.

If you feel tempted to put your fitness on the back burner, follow these tips on how to keep fit over the Christmas period.

Avoid shopping on an empty stomach

Don't make yourself vulnerable to buying junk food you could do without, by going shopping on an empty stomach. You know the saying, ' your eyes are too big for your stomach'? Well, they will most definitely be popping out of your head when you're starving! Save yourself the after-guilt and eat some grub before you go shopping. You will feel fuller and as a result, will make healthier choices.

Change up your workout routine

If you've become bored with your current workout routine, start a new one. It's important that you enjoy your workouts because it will keep you consistent in the long run. If you’re used to working out on your own, change things up a little and go do a fitness class of your choice. You could even try to motivate a friend to come along with you. As long as you’re engaged in what you are doing, you will meet your goals before you know it.

Set new engaging goals

Do you still have the same old goal of just to keep fit? Sometimes, in order to achieve our goals, we need to be more specific when setting them. What's wrong with setting yourself the goal to run a 5k or to improve your bench press by 5 kg? Be specific and you cannot fail.

Embrace morning workouts

Get used to working out on a morning as it can do you more good than harm. Not only will you feel better prepared to tackle those last-minute Christmas to-do jobs, but you will have so much more energy too. While everyone is sleeping, go for a 20-minute run or circuit interval. Take advantage of the time you have available!

Dance till your heart’s content

What better way to keep active than to dance your socks off! The next time you're invited to a party, put down the beer and hit the dance floor. It's surprising how many calories you can burn just from shaking your tush.

Choose drinks that are low in alcohol

There will be lots of alcohol around this time of year and there's no doubt you'll be eager to join in on the Christmas spirit with a glass or ten, but too much alcohol can really set you back when it comes to achieving both weight loss and strength related goals. Why not swap those extra bottles of wine your keen to binge on, for a low-calorie option. Most supermarkets sell alcohol with low alcohol % and they usually taste as good as the real thing.

Swap milk chocolate treats for dark chocolate

Everyone likes to snack on something sweet at Christmas. Milk chocolate is fine in moderation, but come on, we need a back-up plan just in case we want to splurge, right? Buy a couple of packets of 70% dark chocolate, melt it and create a chocolate bark with toppings of your choice. Pinterest have many recipes containing dark chocolate, so go and have a gander!

Thanks to Kiarna Lewis, aka Barbell and Me, for contributing this article.