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Balancing Fitness With Festivals

06/10/2017 11:36 BST | Updated 06/10/2017 11:36 BST

Are you the kind of person who loves the gym, but equally loves sinking a Strongbow Dark Fruit at a Festival with your best mates?

Want to know how to balance them both?

Good, you're in the right place! To give you some context, here's a little about me... My name is Sam, I'm a 23-year-old Online Personal Trainer from Nottingham, England. Basically - I like lifting heavy things, and I LOVE House/Techno Music. Over the past 2 years, I've built up a reputation on Facebook and Instagram for being slightly (very) obsessed with bodybuilding, and for the festival-filled, often-spontaneous nature of my social life.

As I'm sure you can guess, both have completely contrasting lifestyles. One requires commitment and consistency with Training and Diet, the other involves mammoth drinking sessions and almighty hangovers.

On paper, it seems pretty difficult to balance the two. But I'm here to show you it's entirely possible, so let me tell you about the steps and strategies I use to win at the Fitness Life, and Festival Life!

#1 - Save Your Calories

Let's be real here - excessive drinking at festivals means you'll be consuming ungodly amounts of calories (I calculated my intake from last months Forbidden Forest, it wasn't pretty). The best thing you can do is Damage Control. In the week running up to a Festival, I reduce my daily calorie intake by 100-200kcal to save me in excess of 500kcal. That way, when it comes to the day of the festival, a minimum of 500kcal of your stupidly-high calorie intake that day can be accounted for as the calories that you've 'saved' over the week. It may not account for all the 857 cans of cider that day, but at least you control some of the damage.

If you decide to cut the calories from your daily intake, make sure you're still consuming sufficient Protein for your goals, as well as adequate Fibre and Micronutrients.

#2 - Increase Your Daily Calorie Expenditure

Another Damage Control tactic I deploy is increasing my overall calorie burn, in the days running up a festival. Without boring you to death with the laws of thermodynamics, your body burns X number of calories on a daily / weekly basis. Another easy way of 'saving calories' just like point #1, is to simply do more exercise.

Say for example you train 5 times a week, and walk roughly 5000 steps a day through general walking, at work, shopping etc, and this roughly means you burn around 2500kcal a day. If you decided to increase your steps to 8000 steps per day, or added in 3 x 20-minute light cardio sessions to your training week, this could add another 200/300+ calories on top of your average daily calorie burn. This is a very simple way of burning extra calories to create a 'bank of calories' that you can use up at the festival.

I'd recommend going with the increase in daily steps option personally, as this is very low-impact, isn't likely to affect your training programme and should be very easy to recover from.

NOTE: The numbers in the example are completely made up. Individual metabolisms rely on many different factors, including height, weight, age, activity level and much more.

#3 - Pick the Smarter Alcohol Choices

Wine, Ciders, Beers and Alcohol-pops are the calorie killers, I hate to break it to you.

If you're looking to keep your calorie intake DOWN at these festivals, go for the spirits. Variations of Vodka and Whiskeys tend to float between the 65-80kcal mark per shot, and if you couple that with a calorie-free mixer, you're on to a winner!

Let's face it though, going with that option is likely to lead you to Destination Drunk VERY quickly though..

#4 - Dance Your Ass Off

I technically consider Festivals as workouts themselves... With the amount of walking and dancing you're going to do on the day... your calorie expenditure is going to be INSANE. The last festival I went to, I racked up 37000 steps, burning over roughly 5500kcal... damn.

Want to limit the damage of the calorie intake? It's simple - GET DANCING.

#5 - JUST. HAVE. FUN.

Festivals are usually just 1-5 days in length. Over the course of an entire year of grinding in the gym, it's not going to ruin your hard work. Festivals are meant for incredible memories and unforgettable moments, so please don't let the fear of losing your gains spoil that for you.

Whatever the hell you decide to do with your approach to Fitness and Festivals - just make sure you live in the moment, have a damn good time and embrace the hangover!