Food

The festive balancing act

For an elite athlete, willpower is everything during a Christmas period full of temptation. Here New Zealand captain and Orlando Pride defender Ali Riley explains how to make the most of the celebrations while keeping in shape

We call it the most wonderful time of the year – a time of giving, family traditions and, of course, food! But for many professional athletes, just because the holidays roll around doesn't mean we take time off from training and competing.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy the delicious edible (and drinkable) delicacies that go hand in hand with Christmas? Of course not. But there are a couple of things that I like to take into consideration before stuffing my face.

Ali Riley and her gingerbread cookies

First, how will my body react? I don’t eat much sugar or drink a lot of alcohol, so I’ve become quite the lightweight in both departments. I can handle a small dessert or Swedish ‘fika’ (a coffee and cake break during the day), but more than that and I'm usually doubled up with stomach pain. Meanwhile, too many sugary cocktails in the evening and I just can’t fall asleep. Sad but true.

“Not only is balance the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life”

So if I really want to optimise my performance and recovery during the holidays, I make sure that I schedule the big feasts and treats for the day before a day off. Sometimes it feels dramatic to plan such a spirited time around exercise but my body always thanks me when I’m running intervals on the treadmill.

The second thing I try to do when eating and drinking during the holidays is be mindful. Being present in each moment makes every bite taste better. I eat more slowly and end up eating less because I actually notice that I’m full. Even if I do end up overdoing it, I never feel guilty because I know I've savoured the entire experience. Sometimes that can give me even more energy and motivation than the healthiest of meals.

This is why I love gingerbread cookies. The process of rolling out the dough, carefully cutting shapes, and then creating ‘art’ when decorating. I also compete with my mum to see who can make the most interesting gingerbread person. We can’t help it. When it finally comes around to eating our masterpieces, there’s much more to each cookie than the basic ingredients that went into the bowl. Basically, it all comes down to balance. Not only is it the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life.

Now I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cookie.

For more fitness tips, recipes and words of wisdom, check out Ali Riley’s insta account @love2eat2love

We call it the most wonderful time of the year – a time of giving, family traditions and, of course, food! But for many professional athletes, just because the holidays roll around doesn't mean we take time off from training and competing.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy the delicious edible (and drinkable) delicacies that go hand in hand with Christmas? Of course not. But there are a couple of things that I like to take into consideration before stuffing my face.

Ali Riley and her gingerbread cookies

First, how will my body react? I don’t eat much sugar or drink a lot of alcohol, so I’ve become quite the lightweight in both departments. I can handle a small dessert or Swedish ‘fika’ (a coffee and cake break during the day), but more than that and I'm usually doubled up with stomach pain. Meanwhile, too many sugary cocktails in the evening and I just can’t fall asleep. Sad but true.

“Not only is balance the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life”

So if I really want to optimise my performance and recovery during the holidays, I make sure that I schedule the big feasts and treats for the day before a day off. Sometimes it feels dramatic to plan such a spirited time around exercise but my body always thanks me when I’m running intervals on the treadmill.

The second thing I try to do when eating and drinking during the holidays is be mindful. Being present in each moment makes every bite taste better. I eat more slowly and end up eating less because I actually notice that I’m full. Even if I do end up overdoing it, I never feel guilty because I know I've savoured the entire experience. Sometimes that can give me even more energy and motivation than the healthiest of meals.

This is why I love gingerbread cookies. The process of rolling out the dough, carefully cutting shapes, and then creating ‘art’ when decorating. I also compete with my mum to see who can make the most interesting gingerbread person. We can’t help it. When it finally comes around to eating our masterpieces, there’s much more to each cookie than the basic ingredients that went into the bowl. Basically, it all comes down to balance. Not only is it the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life.

Now I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cookie.

For more fitness tips, recipes and words of wisdom, check out Ali Riley’s insta account @love2eat2love

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

We call it the most wonderful time of the year – a time of giving, family traditions and, of course, food! But for many professional athletes, just because the holidays roll around doesn't mean we take time off from training and competing.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy the delicious edible (and drinkable) delicacies that go hand in hand with Christmas? Of course not. But there are a couple of things that I like to take into consideration before stuffing my face.

Ali Riley and her gingerbread cookies

First, how will my body react? I don’t eat much sugar or drink a lot of alcohol, so I’ve become quite the lightweight in both departments. I can handle a small dessert or Swedish ‘fika’ (a coffee and cake break during the day), but more than that and I'm usually doubled up with stomach pain. Meanwhile, too many sugary cocktails in the evening and I just can’t fall asleep. Sad but true.

“Not only is balance the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life”

So if I really want to optimise my performance and recovery during the holidays, I make sure that I schedule the big feasts and treats for the day before a day off. Sometimes it feels dramatic to plan such a spirited time around exercise but my body always thanks me when I’m running intervals on the treadmill.

The second thing I try to do when eating and drinking during the holidays is be mindful. Being present in each moment makes every bite taste better. I eat more slowly and end up eating less because I actually notice that I’m full. Even if I do end up overdoing it, I never feel guilty because I know I've savoured the entire experience. Sometimes that can give me even more energy and motivation than the healthiest of meals.

This is why I love gingerbread cookies. The process of rolling out the dough, carefully cutting shapes, and then creating ‘art’ when decorating. I also compete with my mum to see who can make the most interesting gingerbread person. We can’t help it. When it finally comes around to eating our masterpieces, there’s much more to each cookie than the basic ingredients that went into the bowl. Basically, it all comes down to balance. Not only is it the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life.

Now I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cookie.

For more fitness tips, recipes and words of wisdom, check out Ali Riley’s insta account @love2eat2love

The festive balancing act
Food

The festive balancing act

For an elite athlete, willpower is everything during a Christmas period full of temptation. Here New Zealand captain and Orlando Pride defender Ali Riley explains how to make the most of the celebrations while keeping in shape

We call it the most wonderful time of the year – a time of giving, family traditions and, of course, food! But for many professional athletes, just because the holidays roll around doesn't mean we take time off from training and competing.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy the delicious edible (and drinkable) delicacies that go hand in hand with Christmas? Of course not. But there are a couple of things that I like to take into consideration before stuffing my face.

Ali Riley and her gingerbread cookies

First, how will my body react? I don’t eat much sugar or drink a lot of alcohol, so I’ve become quite the lightweight in both departments. I can handle a small dessert or Swedish ‘fika’ (a coffee and cake break during the day), but more than that and I'm usually doubled up with stomach pain. Meanwhile, too many sugary cocktails in the evening and I just can’t fall asleep. Sad but true.

“Not only is balance the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life”

So if I really want to optimise my performance and recovery during the holidays, I make sure that I schedule the big feasts and treats for the day before a day off. Sometimes it feels dramatic to plan such a spirited time around exercise but my body always thanks me when I’m running intervals on the treadmill.

The second thing I try to do when eating and drinking during the holidays is be mindful. Being present in each moment makes every bite taste better. I eat more slowly and end up eating less because I actually notice that I’m full. Even if I do end up overdoing it, I never feel guilty because I know I've savoured the entire experience. Sometimes that can give me even more energy and motivation than the healthiest of meals.

This is why I love gingerbread cookies. The process of rolling out the dough, carefully cutting shapes, and then creating ‘art’ when decorating. I also compete with my mum to see who can make the most interesting gingerbread person. We can’t help it. When it finally comes around to eating our masterpieces, there’s much more to each cookie than the basic ingredients that went into the bowl. Basically, it all comes down to balance. Not only is it the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life.

Now I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cookie.

For more fitness tips, recipes and words of wisdom, check out Ali Riley’s insta account @love2eat2love

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

We call it the most wonderful time of the year – a time of giving, family traditions and, of course, food! But for many professional athletes, just because the holidays roll around doesn't mean we take time off from training and competing.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy the delicious edible (and drinkable) delicacies that go hand in hand with Christmas? Of course not. But there are a couple of things that I like to take into consideration before stuffing my face.

Ali Riley and her gingerbread cookies

First, how will my body react? I don’t eat much sugar or drink a lot of alcohol, so I’ve become quite the lightweight in both departments. I can handle a small dessert or Swedish ‘fika’ (a coffee and cake break during the day), but more than that and I'm usually doubled up with stomach pain. Meanwhile, too many sugary cocktails in the evening and I just can’t fall asleep. Sad but true.

“Not only is balance the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life”

So if I really want to optimise my performance and recovery during the holidays, I make sure that I schedule the big feasts and treats for the day before a day off. Sometimes it feels dramatic to plan such a spirited time around exercise but my body always thanks me when I’m running intervals on the treadmill.

The second thing I try to do when eating and drinking during the holidays is be mindful. Being present in each moment makes every bite taste better. I eat more slowly and end up eating less because I actually notice that I’m full. Even if I do end up overdoing it, I never feel guilty because I know I've savoured the entire experience. Sometimes that can give me even more energy and motivation than the healthiest of meals.

This is why I love gingerbread cookies. The process of rolling out the dough, carefully cutting shapes, and then creating ‘art’ when decorating. I also compete with my mum to see who can make the most interesting gingerbread person. We can’t help it. When it finally comes around to eating our masterpieces, there’s much more to each cookie than the basic ingredients that went into the bowl. Basically, it all comes down to balance. Not only is it the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life.

Now I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cookie.

For more fitness tips, recipes and words of wisdom, check out Ali Riley’s insta account @love2eat2love

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

We call it the most wonderful time of the year – a time of giving, family traditions and, of course, food! But for many professional athletes, just because the holidays roll around doesn't mean we take time off from training and competing.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy the delicious edible (and drinkable) delicacies that go hand in hand with Christmas? Of course not. But there are a couple of things that I like to take into consideration before stuffing my face.

Ali Riley and her gingerbread cookies

First, how will my body react? I don’t eat much sugar or drink a lot of alcohol, so I’ve become quite the lightweight in both departments. I can handle a small dessert or Swedish ‘fika’ (a coffee and cake break during the day), but more than that and I'm usually doubled up with stomach pain. Meanwhile, too many sugary cocktails in the evening and I just can’t fall asleep. Sad but true.

“Not only is balance the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life”

So if I really want to optimise my performance and recovery during the holidays, I make sure that I schedule the big feasts and treats for the day before a day off. Sometimes it feels dramatic to plan such a spirited time around exercise but my body always thanks me when I’m running intervals on the treadmill.

The second thing I try to do when eating and drinking during the holidays is be mindful. Being present in each moment makes every bite taste better. I eat more slowly and end up eating less because I actually notice that I’m full. Even if I do end up overdoing it, I never feel guilty because I know I've savoured the entire experience. Sometimes that can give me even more energy and motivation than the healthiest of meals.

This is why I love gingerbread cookies. The process of rolling out the dough, carefully cutting shapes, and then creating ‘art’ when decorating. I also compete with my mum to see who can make the most interesting gingerbread person. We can’t help it. When it finally comes around to eating our masterpieces, there’s much more to each cookie than the basic ingredients that went into the bowl. Basically, it all comes down to balance. Not only is it the key to nutrition during the holidays but, in my opinion, it’s also the key to life.

Now I’m going to go and eat the rest of my cookie.

For more fitness tips, recipes and words of wisdom, check out Ali Riley’s insta account @love2eat2love

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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