During the holidays I take a break (believe it or not) from our private clinic treating low back pain, perfecting my deadlifts, personal training and the gym as a whole. Here’s what I get up to instead:

Walking the dogs

During the Canadian winter, with snow capping the trees and frozen lakes, walking the dogs is one of my favourite things to do with a bit of free time. My standard schnauzer Lacy, Golden Retriever Murphy, my fiancee Ashley and I love to head out
to the off leash dog park and let the dogs run around for a while.

Watching Christmas movies

The whole family gets involved with this one, popping on a movie and grabbing a bowl of popcorn ready to enjoy the same movies year after year. Most notably, National Lampoons Christmas vacation is the mandatory movie for us to watch on Christmas Eve.

See Santa on the firetruck

In the village of Midhurst there is an annual tradition of Santa driving around on the fire truck. Luckily he passes straight past my moms house, so we make our way to the end of the driveway and give Santa a wave while the sirens are blaring and he shouts back (with glee, of course)

Family walks

With the constant distraction of TV’s and cell phones, it has become a regular occurrence for the family to go for a Christmas walk around the neighbourhood. Getting the heart rate up a little, having no distractions and doing a bit of house shopping is the best way we have found to have meaningful conversations and spend quality time together.

Watching strongman comps

As a new tradition this year we have been watching strongman competitions. It is tradition across the UK to watch strongman comps over Christmas as they are aired on TV for the first time. Thanks to a VPN, we have been keeping up and watching my competitions on channel 5 in London, England, culminating with Worlds Strongest Man airing on January 1st.

Eating copious amounts of food

As with everyone else, Christmas is the best time to take a break from stringent training and diet, sitting back and relaxing while enjoying my moms Christmas cooking. Stuffing, turkey, homemade bread, sweet potato, asparagus and roast potatoes always feature. If there is enough room left afterwards, the dessert table always involves my moms famous shortbread cookies. 

Catching up with extended family

While my family is quite small, we are also scattered throughout North America. Having one Uncle come up from Florida and another down from Toronto, it is the only times we are in the same room over the course of a year. While the whole family unit consists of 10 people, it feels like a full house with the variety of large personalities kicking around.

Mitchell with his family at a Christmas photoshoot

While consistency of exercise and diet are very important, it is also important to consider living your life while pursuing any health goal. Weight loss is the easiest one to explain the magnitude of one bad day. If you went crazy during Christmas and ate 4000 calories over the day and didn’t move a muscle all day, you have probably overeaten ~2500 calories. If you did that for a few days, you will be in an excess of ~7500 calories. That is a little over 2 pounds. That is offset by eating 21 calories less every day for the rest of the year – an amount you wouldn’t even notice.

The lesson here is to enjoy yourself, spend time with family, move around if you can but take a good break to reset and get ready to kick into some goals for 2023.