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Holiday health hacks to optimize your festive season!

Holiday health hacks to optimize your festive season!

The holiday season is upon us, your bags are packed, or you’re probably midway though and everyone’s in unwind, party-mode… but if only you could enjoy those cocktails on the beach, shots around the braai and those decadent desserts at the restaurants you’ve been meaning to try out all year, without ringing in 2016 looking like the ‘Before Picture’ of the Biggest Loser.

To help optimise your holiday, without the added guilt, we share with you, Fitness enthusiast Risel Govender’s holiday, health, hacks to make the best of your festive season! “If you’re as horrified as I am at the thought of losing that ripped physique, rocking round ass, or gains you’ve worked so hard for all year, then read on carefully,” encourages Risel!


Here are my top five Holiday, Health, Hacks to enjoy your festive season while staying in shape!

1. Get wasted smartly!

When indulging in alcoholic beverages make sure to pick your poison carefully. Choose drinks that are simple and don’t have too many unnatural ingredients. Stick to one type of alcohol throughout the night (or day- hey you’re on holiday right!) and dash with water to stay hydrated and assist your liver.

My top recommendations: 

  • Your favourite brand of Vodka, Gin or Rum, with water and a splash of lime to taste.
  • Even better- opt for a flavoured Vodka and ditch the lime.
  • For the acquired palette, whiskey and water does it best.
  • For the beer drinker, choose a dark/stout beer if you absolutely MUST have a beer.
  • Try to, as far as possible, avoid all sugary drinks and beer! You may even experience the added bonus of little to no hangover if you ate sufficiently before boozing up!



2. Make up for those gluttonous moments of carb-filled indulgence!

The season is not festive without those giant cheese-dripping burgers, death by chocolate attacks and midnight pizza-hunts… However all things in moderation.

My top recommendation: 

  • Plan these moments to enjoy all the delicious meals the foodies are raving about.
  • Balance out the indulgent moments by sticking to your lean proteins, complex carbs and greens at every other meal.




3. Get enough sleep and don’t let yourself go hungry!

Your sleeping pattern in all likelihood will not be regular, but when you do eventually hit the sack, be sure to get in a full 8 hours – this is the ONLY time your body has to recover and rejuvenate so make sure you have enough protein and nutrients in your system to maximize the quality and benefits of your sleep.  Remember, if you let yourself starve, your body goes into survival mode that turns everything to fat (including your next meal), thinking you need to survive in the wilderness for days without food!


My top recommendations: 

  • Keep quick and healthy staples available at all times wherever you’re staying.
  • These can be oatmeal, eggs, avocados, bananas, Greek yogurt, etc.
  • Snack on something to avoid your body going into survival mode!


4. Give yourself a daily boost

Personally I’m not a fan of vitamins, tablets and pharmaceutical products. Fruit and veggie juices are an efficient way of supplementing your daily consumption with essential nutrients. Off-the-shelf juices are generally packed with sugar and preservatives without the right combination of ingredients. Blend your own smoothie once a day to keep your body happy on the inside and it will reward you by keeping you feeling and looking strong on the outside throughout the holiday.


My top recommendation: 

Make your own smoothies: My personal favourite blend is spinach leaves, avocado, kiwi, carrot and almonds with water thrown into a Nutribullet or blender.

You may prefer to buy a smoothie daily but beware the cost-benefit, making your own gives you control over the ingredients you consume, but also allows you to mix-up your blends at a fraction of the cost of store bought versions.

5. Sugar is the enemy, and simple-carbs are the devil!

This is a no-brainer but I always feel the need to emphasize it – fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate that isn’t at least 70% dark, off-the-shelf fruit juices, sweet cocktails, bread, pasta, white potato and white rice should be strictly off-limits at all times!

EXCEPT for those planned moments of indulgence we discussed.

Lastly, if you are a fitness enthusiast and planning to go nearly as hard as I am these holidays you need to accept that you will not maintain your current standards to 100% parity, but you will be able to minimize the damage and kick-off the new year with comparable strength and shape.

Woman eating fresh fruit

Happy, healthy holidays!! 

We advise you keep these these holiday, health, hacks in mind all Summer long!


*Risel Govender, is a part-time Industrial Engineer and full-time aesthetic gains-seeker!

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