Mince pices, chocolate advent calendars, roasts with all the trimmings. With Christmas feasts fast approaching, we asked our Harley Street practitioner and wellbeing expert Matt Lovell to provide us with his top three tips for keeping your body a temple without having to ditch the indulgence…

Matt Lovell's Top Festive Tips

1. Get plenty of rest

With the year coming to an end, tiredness and fatigue are often present which can make food choices more difficult.

Matt explains that when we get tired it’s natural to crave carbohydrates and be tempted to overload on them. However, doing this can contribute to early morning fatigue and excess body fat. Matt says it is possible to mitigate these by varying your carbohydrate choices and avoiding wheat-based options in particular to feel fresh on boxing day. Going on a run or some HIIT before breakfast will also do the job.

2. Plan your alcohol tactics and stay hydrated

Matt’s second piece of advice is to take a moment to plan before the big day. He explains that alcohol in excess is an anti-performance and anti-nutrient; the longer it’s in the body and the higher its concentration, the more damage it will do. So, Matt suggests incorporating around two litres of water into the day to help prevent fatigue.

Top tip: The best drinks are spirits with lots of diet mixers and white wine spritzers.

Matt also recommends light aerobic activity to help you to sweat some of the alcohol out the following day but this only works if you’ve had enough water to drink beforehand. He also notes that having milk thistle will help to support your liver through the Christmas period and beyond.

3. Keep to a routine

Finally, if you are used to eating little and often Matt says to keep doing so.

“If you suddenly change to fasting and big meals it can wreak havoc on your body composition. Similarly, if you are used to fasting, suddenly eating all day long (other than Christmas Day) can lead to rapid weight gain if you are eating too much.”

If maintaining muscle is key for you however, then keep eating protein or aminos little and often. Every 2–3 hours keeps a steady flow of nutrient supply to the muscles.

Matt also explains the benefits of grazing throughout the day instead of starving yourself and then having infrequent larger meals.

“Starving leads to high levels of insulin sensitivity and active fat storage enzyme and a huge appetite. The only exception to this is to do intermittent fasting which if you exercise before refeeding can be an excellent strategy to stay lean and healthy.”

To summarise…

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Detox where possible — run off the booze and the turkey!
  • Fasting is good for keeping calories down.
  • Maintain frequent protein feeds if muscle mass retention is a priority.
  • Use your downtime to plan your goals for the New Year.
  • Lift heavy — you’ll have the energy to do so.
  • Sleep as much as possible to regenerate your nervous system.

Matt has worked with world-renowned sports teams including Manchester City and Aston Villa as well as many individual athletes including Jonny Wilkinson and Jodie Taylor. If you’d like to learn more about how to implement a healthier lifestyle and discover the wellness strategies you need to feel great every day, Matt has the know-how — book in a PepTalk Live with him today.

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