• Amer the Trainer

Keeping HEALTHY HABITS while watching the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is now well under way and if your anything like me, you will probably be watching a lot of TV for the next 4 weeks.

32 teams will battle it out for the most famous trophy in football, with a total of 64 games being played which is roughly 96 hours of football. As good as this sounds, this most certainly means that sedentary behaviour throughout the day and night will most likely increase.

Hitting the sofa for up to 96 hours will not benefit that summer body you’ve been working hard for. Couple this with the unhealthy binge-eating that’s associated with watching football you will certainly be taking two steps backwards when trying to achieve your fitness goals.

Here are some tips of mine for staying healthy while you follow all the action from Russia!

Snack wisely

Changing the way you eat by swapping your usual high sugary snacks (crisps, chocolates, sweets) for more healthy options (fruit, veg, nuts) will better aid your fitness goals whilst increasing your intake of whole, natural foods. Be mindful of what you’re eating and try not to over eat as this can be the case when watching TV, especially when watching the football. Try replacing:

· crisps with rice cakes, lentil chips, or sunflower/pumpkin seeds

· salted nuts with a small handful of the unsalted varieties

· sweets with strawberries, blueberries, chopped vegetables like carrots, cucumber and celery with a reduced-fat hummus dip

· chocolate bars with protein bars (go for ones with less than 8g of sugar per bar)

Be mindful of drinking alcohol

Football and alcohol is common practice in much of the UK, and many of you will be enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two while watching a match. But two beers with every match you watch during the week could slow your recovery from training, affect your performance in the gym and put you off eating healthy.

To help avoid this, try replacing:

· alcoholic beers with non-alcoholic versions

· adding soda water to your alcoholic drinks instead of soft drinks

· not drinking alcohol at home or during the week

Have a curfew set

Football matches last for 90 minutes. However, extra time, penalties, and post-match analysis may take the coverage past your usual time that you would to go sleep. A lack of sleep will lead you to feel tired and un-motivated to go to the gym, as well as increase your cortisol levels. Fortunately the matches in the FIFA World Cup in Russia this year will start no later than 7pm. To avoid sleep deprivation try:

· watching the games on catch-up TV if you have an early start, you could watch it on the way to work or on your break

· recording the games to watch at a more convenient time

Move when you can

There are 3 games a day with kick off times varying between 1pm and 7pm, which means that if it's your day off you could potentially be on the sofa for up to 8 hours.

This type of sedentary behaviour has consistently been linked with chronic conditions and diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease so with that in mind, use every opportunity (i.e. half time) to move and perform some light exercises such as bodyweight squats, push ups, dynamic stretches or even in between matches, use the break to go for a walk.