How To Get Back In The Game | Post Christmas Exercise

Written by Simon Cushman

Get Back In The Game After Xmas

After Xmas, everyone seems to lack a certain bit of motivation to get up and go about their training routine. The main problem I see is people mindlessly going about their sessions or training with no plan and an expectation to just rock up at the same levels of fitness as before. So here’s some helpful tips to give you a New Year kick start to help you get ready for the back end of your season.

gym training

#1 Start Fresh


Before Xmas, you have had the chance to build up to a level of fitness that you can cope with week in week out. Unless you have kept your training load up over the break, your levels of fitness will have dropped slightly as will have your capacity for exercise so going back to the same session will demotivate you. Have a new plan ready to start in the New Year. It will give you a boost with everything starting a fresh and will help if you set a realistic goal to achieve before your first match.

#2 Start Off With Some Speed


Your ability to produce fast movements will be the first thing to decrease if not trained, so your first session should focus on some lower volume, higher velocity training to maximise your preparation to play matches. Following this, a strength endurance session based around some high volume, lower load session. This will give you the feeling of flushing out the cobwebs, but also help you to produce a high quality movement with a good range of motion.

90s dance running

#3 Interval Train


Interval training will bring you back up to speed the quickest after a short break. Seeing as your aerobic capacity (the amount of oxygen you can use in the muscles) will remain similar for up to 30 days, the longer duration endurance training won’t matter as much as getting used to buffering toxins and working at high enough level to produce and utilise the lactate from energy metabolism. You could even add this into some speed training using a work:rest ratio of 1:4 where you might sprint for 5 seconds, followed by 20 seconds passive recovery. Repeat 6-10 times for 2-4 sets to see maximum benefit.

#4 Sort Your Diet Out ASAP


This might not be something to do immediately, seeing as you might have a New Year’s eve party to recover from, but set a target of eating better on a date. I normally say the 2nd Jan I will eat better and by the 10th, I will be back to a strict diet which I will track in a food diary app to make sure I stick to my macro- and micro- nutrients.

macros diet

#5 Track Your Progress And KISS


Keep it simple, stupid! Having a grand delusion of getting back to Ronaldo levels of fitness is unrealistic and simply unmeasurable. Test before Xmas, something simple such as body composition (if accessible), strength, endurance (a 12 min distance run or yo-yo test), speed, power (sprint speed and agility). After the break test one thing each week with the aim of getting back to the pre Xmas values and building each one up at a time. This will give you the focus you would have had in the pre-season to hit your peak!


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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