The festive season and beyond

Words: Hannele Steyn

With the festive season on our doorstep, what can we do to handle all those "I’m feeling too lazy to train" feelings and delicious food temptations? Most of us will take a short break from the racing season, which is a good thing. But with many of the races starting early in the New Year, we can’t afford to slack off too much. So here are a few tips to help you keep in the family's good books and see you through the silly season in the shape you entered into the festivities.

The festive season and Beyond

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Happy times

If you consider that you have more time available and lovely warm weather to train in during the holidays, it is actually the best time to get in some extra training hours. I do realise that many of us have families and we can’t spend the whole day training (although we may secretly want to). So, the most challenging part comes when you have to spend quality and quantity time with the family and not be the first one to leave a party or family gathering. Knowing that you have to get up at 5 a.m. the next day to train and be back by the time normal people wake up, can be a bit of a damper. (Normal people have always worried me though.) So here’s the plan:

• Firstly, get your mind set right and see this as cross training that will toughen you up.
• If you are ‘forced’ to lie on the beach and pretend that you want to get rid of your wonderful cycling tan (you need this to scare the competitors at the races), then use this time effectively to take as many power naps as possible. You can always use your heart rate monitor watch to set an interval set of a 10-minute power nap and then an interval of casual chat with friends and family.
• Presents. You are going to have to buy big presents to make up for what you have already spent on sports equipment throughout the year. For now, keep on walking when you see the latest carbon wheels (you can buy them later on CWC online on credit). And don’t buy your partner cycling stuff just because it is something you need and want to ‘borrow’ later. They won’t appreciate it!

Happy body

It is difficult not to join in all the festivities with good friends and family. And saying no to that second helping of cake, a creamy soft serve or chocolate is not easy. So what should you do? Again, you know how hard you have worked to get rid of those few kilos, so focus on healthy foods that are great to enjoy during summer. Here are some examples.

• Fresh fruits like watermelon, mangos, litchies, melon, etc, are in full season and although high in calories, are still healthy and far better than sweets and cookies.
• Choose sorbet instead of soft serve and make a beer shandy with sparkling mineral water and a squeeze of lemon instead of a whole beer.
• Enjoy some red wine ... at least you will benefit from the anti-oxidants.
• Rather leave the chips and snack on some game biltong or nuts.
• Choose corn on the cob and salads in stead of ‘braai broodjies’ and eat a nice piece of steak instead of fatty pork ribs.
• If you are spending the holiday on the coast, then enjoy the fresh fish that is normally available.

The festive season and Beyond

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Anyway, what is better than
• seeing the sun come up while others sleep until 11 a.m.?
• feeling good after having a healthy breakfast of Passion4Wholeness Muesli instead of over indulging on a fatty meal that leaves you feeling sluggish?
• enjoying that amazing feeling when everyone on the beach stares at your funny cycling tan and eyes that look like that of a panda bear? Who wants an overall bronze tan anyway?

Ok, I have tried to give you some well tested and tried tips, so go and enjoy the holidays and do take at least a few days off because you deserve it and it is necessary after all those long hours of training.

Remember the saying by a old wise Chinese man: “Champions do not compromise!”

Happy holidays and a blessed festive time!