The Health Matters column with personal trainer Mel Spencer

Turkey is high in protein which helps to rebuild lean muscle and burn more fat.
Turkey is high in protein which helps to rebuild lean muscle and burn more fat.

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to health and fitness relates to calorie restriction.

If I don’t put enough fuel in my Ferrari, then how does it perform at its best and do what it’s designed to do? (I don’t actually own a Ferrari by the way – maybe Father Christmas will bring me one?)

In my last article I spoke about working smarter and not making things harder for yourself.

By eating enough calories and making sure they are spread out over five meals a day, you are actually giving yourself a buffer zone.

This buffer zone is the extra calories your body will burn as fat every day during normal activity, but this only happens if you eat enough on a regular basis. So because you have already set your metabolism up to work correctly prior to certain events such as your holiday or Christmas your body allows you breathing space.

The average person can eat between one to two thousand extra calories a day without putting on a single pound of fat – if you get your nutrition right.

Your body also needs to rest. I use holiday periods as my opportunity to take this rest.

Your body only becomes fitter while resting (not when you’re exercising).

As long as you exercise and eat correctly, then a period of rest for around five to seven days a few times a year does you the world of good, as long as you have a set date to get back on the horse so to speak.

Active rest is fantastic.

This involves taking part in very low level activity such as walks to keep your body moving.

I love a walk on Christmas Day before I have my Christmas dinner.

This not only depletes my body of some stored energy but also allows my Christmas dinner to refill that depleted energy rather than storing extra fat if I indulge to the extent that I go past my buffer zone – which I’m most certainly prone to do on Christmas Day!

And we can’t overlook Turkey! Turkey is high in protein which helps to rebuild lean muscle and burn more fat all day every day, even while you sleep!

Lower in saturated fat than chicken, turkey also contains selenium which is essential for a healthy thyroid.

Looking at all of the above, what is there to worry about over Christmas?


Eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy your food, it fuels you.

Enjoy your relaxation, you are repairing and enjoy your time with friends and family. Happy Christmas everyone!

If you are looking for more advice or want some help with your goals then please just get in touch at or 07703 589259.