Keep athletes on track and eating well over the festive period
Christmas might just be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many young athletes it can be a cause for panic and confusion. Should I train? Will I feel guilty if I don’t? Do I need to watch what I eat? How will I avoid all of the chocolates?
We’ve compiled some top tips to answer these questions and make sure young athletes can enjoy all of the festivities, while still keeping their training and nutrition on track.
Make a Plan
Plan your training schedule in the week up to and following Christmas so that, just like any other week, you know exactly what your sporting commitments over that time are. Once your plans in place, stick to it! That way you won’t feel like you’re missing out or compromising your performance by missing sessions.
In the same way, use your training plan to work out your nutrition as well. Use your post-workout meals when your body needs to replenish its energy stores to indulge in some of your Christmas favourites. But don’t get too carried away with the entire box of chocolates. Treat your Christmas days off in the same way as you would a normal rest day and make sure you’re giving your body what it needs to refuel ready for when your back in the gym.
Everyone deserves the treats that come with Christmas, but if you’ve got a big competition right around the corner then keeping on top of your nutrition can really help. Portion size is key here, think quality and not quantity. Enjoying a few of your favourite treats for a few certainly isn’t going to undo all of your hard work throughout the year, but try and keep your meals healthy and balanced as much as possible.
If your team is taking time off over the festive period and your training is less structured then why not stay active with the family? Christmas is a great time of the year for some winter walks, so get the family together and enjoy some quality time in the outdoors.
Relax and Enjoy Yourself
Most importantly, enjoy your time with your family and friends and do the things you love. Nutrition and training are of course important to any young athlete, but don’t get hung up on eating perfectly or exercising every day. Take some time off, recharge and start the New Year refreshed and ready to go!