To navigate the holidays past a spare tire and turbo thighs

December 9, 2015
Matt 'the Pillar' Miller

Behold fitness goers! Pay close heed as I divulge all of my ancient wisdom and tricks for staying on point with fitness & nutrition AND still having an actual life! 

Out with friends:

People are strange. Everyone talks about being more healthy and fit, but the second you actually DO it, they can easily be moved to chastise you. Turns out we don’t actually like our peers to be markedly better than us. So If you have recently lost two stone, and gone from fat to fit, you may shockingly find that some of your friends, coworkers or even family are not supportive of your new-found six pack. They may even try to pull you down by pressuring you to drink or eat foods that are not on your

Pub Crawl

individual plan. Follow my sage advice and you may still be invited out with your friends!

1. Never talk or brag about your fitness successes or progress unless directly asked. Even then, do so with humility. Otherwise you look like a pompous ass. Not to mention you could actually be putting other people off starting their own fitness regime.

2. If you agree to go out with friends for drinks and you dont plan on drinking, you need to make them believe you are in on their fun. (Remember you are the one who changed behaviours, not them, so accommodate.)

3. If you are doing pub rounds, proactively make the first one yours.  Order yourself a drink that you DON’T like ( tonic and lime is the best, Campari and soda, or a beer you hate ). This way, every time you absently go to take a drink, you are reminded that you are NOT drinking that evening!  When the next round comes along, make sure you have casually abandoned your first one and express excitement for another despicable libation which you will also be discreetly abandoning on some table.  One amazing fact I have learned about social drinking is that no one cares the speed of your drinking – only that you ARE drinking. Just holding a glass of alcohol (regardless of whether it ever touches your lips) keeps you solidly in the club.

Coyote Ugly trick with shots

4. Shots? Easy one. Remember the movie Coyote Ugly? Ok, you probably don’t remember anything else besides the push up bras and boots, but they had an amazing shot trick that I use often:  Shots come around. You gladly accept said sambuco. Cheers ensue all around and bottoms up! … EXCEPT that you kept yours in your mouth without swallowing, and quickly took a beer (or whatever drink you ordered that you are not drinking anyways) and seemingly take a swig as a chaser. BUT instead of actually drinking the chaser, you spit the sambuco shot back into the glass! Coyote Genius! Then  immediately and exuberantly order doubles of more shots for the whole lot and proceed to do the same thing! Ha! 

5. Come early leave late. The best part of being with friends is the begining when you can still have engaging chat and meaningful interaction . Once friends are very drunk they are not going to be lucid, much less remember anything the next day!  That is about the time I make a stealthy exit home with a bit of pride that I was quite social, got to spend some quality time with friends and was home In bed without the guilt of going off track on performance and progress.

5. If going out means a boozy meal I will privately tell the waiter that I want a separate bill for my dinner as I will be leaving early (which I will).  That way I don’t have to fund everyone else’s binge drinking.  Alternatively, I will accept a glass of wine that everyone is having (and not drink it of course) and balance my food bill by ordering more food (and more expensively) – to make up the difference of not drinking! At the end of the meal you will be the superstar by generously offering up your full glass to someone else when all other glasses are empty!


Rather than imposing all your crazy food restrictions on your host ( that’s just rude! ), bring things to share that will cover your own requirements.  So go ahead and bring some quinoa maple pecan stuffing and sugar-free spelt tart with oat crumble and enjoy! Come mealtime make sure you put a little on your plate of things you know you are not going to eat. Especially if you know the host is very proud of it. You don’t have to actually eat it, just leave a little of everything on your plate and express your gratitude for making you so happily sated! 

On vacation:


I always make a run to Marks and Spencer pre-flight for some #MattMillerapproved in-flight snacks. Nuts, chicken skewers, carrots and hummus , dark chocolate, vegetable & feta salad, tomatoes and mozzarella. Big flavours that will feel like I am treating myself.  That way I never have to rely on what is served in the cabin .  I also bring a big empty 2L bottle stuffed with a lemon wedge, a tea bag and some sweetener pellets. In flight I have the  attendant fill the bottle. Wait 5 minutes and Voilá cold lemon tea! Oddly they won’t GIVE you a big bottle of water, but they are required to fill yours!   When you reach your vacation destination there are two problem areas that need to be solved: Breakfast  and on the go snacks during the day:

1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the whole day. And depending on where you are it varies as to what is culturally available at breakfast. I bring along a protein shake with carbs like Marco:meal from . If there is nothing I can eat I will have a few scoops of that with water and be done with it.  But I also pack along Truvia® or Splenda® sweetener pellets for coffee/tea and instant oat sachets in case there is a protien (like eggs or ham) available that I can easily supplement with the porridge.

2. During the day I will bring a protein cookie and an oats and whey bar (also from in my pocket.  This way supplement lunch (depending on what is available) – and have something delicious for an afternoon snack when feeling randomly peckish.

The “Day After”:

Hydrate yourself – coconut water

So you had a big night out. Everyone deserves one on occasion. You may even have went off the rails and let your guard down by eating loads of naughties while your will power and sensibility were off somewhere else. The essential thing to remember is: get yourself back on the horse as quickly as possible. Stop wallowing. Banish guilt and remorse. Pick up right where you left off and eat what and when you are supposed to eat. Put the past behind as past and move back into behaviors you are proud of as quickly as possible! You also need to hydrate. Alcohol is a powerful diuretic so you will need to replenish as a matter of priority.  My favorite tool is a litre of plain coconut water and hot lemon water all day. You can also take a litre jug and fill with water, 1/2 a squeezed lemon and several pellets of Splenda® Sweetener. Definitely try to take in a total of 3 litres if not 4.

At the end of the day we all need a social life, we are going to make mistakes and even fall off the wagon. This should be expected and anticipated. Hopefully you will take on board some of my tried and true personal tactics and smoke & mirror magic for managing a life of fitness and not having every one around you mock you for your efforts.  

Now go forth and party on! (Or so they will think! ?


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