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DAMAGE CONTROL: CALLUM MELLY'S TIPS FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON

Which are the best low-calorie drinks for the party season?

If you’re trying to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle then I wouldn't recommend alcohol full stop. However, the reality is that alcohol is a big part of our social lives and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. I would always aim for a lower sugar and calorie options such as vodka diet coke or gin and slim line tonic; it's not so much the calories you need to worry about, I am more conscious of the detrimental and irreversible damage that can be done to your body, especially your kidneys and liver from excess alcohol consumption. Furthermore, alcohol can affect the efficiency of your metabolism whilst in your system as it will slow down and become less effective at naturally burning body fat.

What treats can we indulge in without feeling guilty?

There is no doubt about it, Christmas and New Year are probably the most calorific times of the year when everyone including myself tends to overindulge and give in to temptation. However, tasty and healthy alternatives can be made to ensure that at the very least you maintain your previous progress. Some examples of healthy food swaps:

1. Swap your traditional "roast potatoes" for pecan & maple sweet potato mash. This is probably one of my favorite healthy alternatives that tastes great & is far lower in calories in comparison to your goose fat roasted potatoes.

2. Curb sweet cravings with dark chocolate! Exchange your sugar laden milk chocolate bars for two squares (20g) of 85%+ Lindt chocolate each day to not only curb cravings, but to also enhance your mood, aid fat loss & provide a source of healthy fats.

3. Keep your leftover turkey & make some post Christmas day high protein snacks! Turkey is one of the leanest sources of protein available.

What’s the best way to workout on a hangover?

Firstly, I would always recommend drinking as much water as you can when you get home after a night out drinking; hangovers are influenced by a lack of good liquids in your system and consequently make you dehydrated. I also usually have some healthy food readily available at home or a protein shake before bed which gets some food into the system, and prevents you picking up any junk food like a kebab on the way home and I often feel better for that in the morning. I would then start my day with a bowl of blueberry protein oats or a protein and berry smoothie that's rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. In terms of exercise, I would just train when I feel well enough to get the most out of my workout. Getting a good sweat onoften helps me to combat my hangovers! I would stick to the programme you are following, although maybe add in some extra LISS cardio at the end for some targeted fat burn.

What are the best festive foods which won’t leave you feeling tired and bloated?

The thing that people forget or simply don't realise is that digestion is one of the most natural energy consuming processes of the body, so when we eat vast amounts of food, we can often feel lethargic. Too many sugary carbohydrates can also cause uncomfortable bloating & insulin spikes that can further add to that lethargic feeling. I always recommended following a balanced nutrition plan, high in protein, high in balanced carbohydrates & moderate healthy fats. Ideally you want to be eating your carbohydrates in the morning & pre & post workout for brain & muscle fuel & recovery. I tend to stick to low G.I. carbohydrates during the day such as oats, sweet potato, brown basmati rice and quinoa. I then have my faster absorbing carbohydrates post-workout such as white potato, white rice and maltodextrin.

What would be the best workout on Christmas morning?

Ideally you would want to do something which doesn’t eat into your day, or leave you with aches and pains.

Start your day with 30-60 minutes of fasted LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio. This will not only wake your body up & set you up for a successful day, but it will also put you in a calorie deficit before your day has even begun. LISS cardio is great for targeted fat loss, it can help to improve your general health, fitness level & wellbeing & as the name suggests, it has a very low impact on your body, so can be done by anyone, anywhere. This can be either a power walk or gentle jog, but make sure you are working at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate which is your optimal fat burn zone.

What would be your one top tip for a healthy Christmas?

It's all about balance, everything in moderation and enjoying the process of living an active and healthy lifestyle. If I could have done anything differently, I would have invested in myself by following a structured exercise and nutrition programme. That being said, if I hadn't learnt the hard way, I wouldn't be where I am now.

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