Guest blog from our Registers Operations Manager Greg Small .
Christmas is coming, the release of the new John Lewis advert to pull at our heartstrings serves to confirm the fact that the festive period has officially begun to descend upon us. As well as an onslaught of highly emotive adverts, decorating trees and shopping this entails, Christmas also means endless rounds of parties, stockpiling of chocolate, and for many, the excuse to consume to excess, forgetting what exercise is. The author of this blog may have got up for an 8am 10k cross country run last Boxing Day, but many of us are not that inclined to work off this Christmas turkey, or indeed have the time to indulge in such activities. Despite the best of intentions, many might lack the time and motivation to focus on their training schedule; the warm twinkly lights and festivities of the season prove far more appealing to the harsher glare of the gym. The gym drop out rate for the Christmas period is palpable. Many adopt the ‘I’ll start again in January’ mantra, writing off their month of inactivity and poor eating choices. Over indulging will only make it harder to get back into a routine and find the motivation to do so. As exercise professionals, it is important to show clients that the festive period needn’t be a time to put exercise on hold, but can be carefully incorporated into their plans. Planning is the key to a successful Christmas. Working together on a plan that works for your clients should ensure that exercise can still have its place in their Christmas calendar, and all the good work done throughout the year needn’t be undone in one food-coma inducing sitting. Knowing when their next session is will help keep them on track. Looking ahead into the New Year is another way of ensuring they are of aware longer term targets and have the motivation to achieve them. Communicating with your clients through this time will make them less likely to fall off the radar. Make them aware of special offers and promotions that are going on. Offering reward incentives are great ways of ensuring clients don’t become strangers! Encourage your clients to remember why they came to you in the first place, and re-address the original goals you made with them. If weight loss was the incentive, remind them of how far they have already come. Taking another set of measurements will be a sure-fire way to make anyone think before tucking in to another helping of Christmas pudding. As an exercise professional, keeping focus and not letting things slip might seem imperative, but you must communicate this mindset to your clients. You are not with them all day to guide them, so they must learn to help themselves. Ensuring that they have the right mentality to want to eat healthily and exercise properly will mean that half the battle is already won. Calling upon personal experience when giving advice on nutrition and ways of coping with extra temptation should help to enable them to negotiate this period successfully themselves. The festive period is a special time, providing a break from everyday life and the chance to enjoy ourselves. As professionals, we should understand normal exercise routines are bound to be compromised as other events take priority, but there are positives that can be taken from this too. The body needs the chance to rest and recover from exercise, reducing the intensity of fitness schedules provides the opportunity to do so. Clients can return with renewed focus and motivation after a break. REPs need to communicate to their clients the importance of balance and moderation; missing one exercise session won’t make us unfit but falling out of the routine of regular exercise will. The festive period doesn’t last forever, but successfully negotiating it will allow for plenty of enjoyment whilst keeping on track with fitness goals.