Those who enjoy the regular benefits of eating well and working out can often succumb to the joy of the holiday season with absolute vigor….which can quickly turn to regret. There’s no reason to lose gains, or gain fat, this holiday season. Now, you have the tools of the trade to stay on track and start your New Year fitter than ever.
1.Honor the ROUTINE.
Holiday parties, work deadlines, family responsibilities, endless shopping lines, you name it; it can all disrupt our tried and true schedule. Did you know that sticking to a schedule not only makes you more productive, but will also lessen your stress levels? Plan ahead to make sure you can honor your schedule. You workouts may be shorter, but making sure you move each day will pay off in the long run.
2. Be Prepared.
There is nothing worse than Christmas shopping without money in the bank right? So why would you go out without making sure you have the foods you need? We all know that nutrition is the cornerstone of our health, vitality and energy, so start preparing for the season of overindulgence now. Prep your meals for the week in advance and take advantage of handy coolers and carriers. When you’re planning a shopping trip or dinner, look over the menu first and plan ahead as to what you will eat. Remember, treat meals can be an advantage, but a treat season will leave you feeling like a bloated whale by January first….and then you have to fight the resolutionists for your spot at the rack.
3.Be realistic with your expectations.
You wouldn’t stand around and wait for a piece of equipment at the gym right? Please say no. Of course not! You would take a look at your program for the day and re-write it a bit to keep your workout going. The same thing can happen during the holidays. You may need to switch up your workout time to accommodate family responsibilities or just bad weather. If you can’t make it to the gym, have a body weight workout ready to go in your living room. Too stormy for a run? Give HIIT training a try. Think outside the box and drop the “all or nothing” attitude during the holidays. It will lessen stress and improve results.
4. Move every day.
Make a commitment to do SOMETHING every day. A little too much wine or a few too many sweet treats can take its toll on our energy. Sometimes the gloomy winter weather can leave us feeling a bit low. One sure fix is to get up and move every day. If you find that you battle with low energy during the colder months, try these tricks to spice it up:
- Take on a group class at your local gym
- Enlist a workout buddy
- Try a boot camp
- Head to a different gym. Many chain gyms offer memberships that will get you into ANY gym. Use this during this season to get a new energy and maybe even play on some new equipment. Sometimes all we need is to change up what we see each day to give the brain and body a fresh energy.
- Take your training outdoors….if weather allows.
5. Maximize Your GAINS.
You know there are a few key foods you WILL NOT give up this holiday season. Grandma’s pumpkin pie? Your aunt’s homemade dressing? Anything smothered in either gravy or chocolate? Well, you should also know that you can use these foods to your advantage. Look at your workout split now. Take the time to train, let’s go with LEGS, before the big feast. This way, you can utilize the copious amounts of fuel you’re taking in to make some serious changes in your physique. Hit back the next day to capitalize on the extra carbs you know those yams packed in and reap the benefits of nutrition knowledge. The point here is to not just sit on your butt eating all week….move your butt and then you can “fuel” those awesome muscles.
6. Recreate Traditions.
I used to spend most Thanksgivings eating till the elastic on my waist band wanted to give out and downing an entire bottle of wine. This served two purposes: 1) It made the entire event more tolerable, no matter the drama and 2) It made me appear to still be “normal” in the eyes of my loved ones. What isn’t normal is the amount of time and energy wasted on recuperating from a holiday binge. Just thing of the sweet shoulders you could be building instead of trying to burn off wine and pie! So, I now bring healthier dishes and fruits and veggies to snack on. If I have wine I cut it with a little tart cherry juice. This keeps me from drinking so much and has the added benefit of lessening the soreness from the sweet leg workout I did earlier that morning. Check out the Bodybuilding.com recipe database for some GREAT finds on healthy fare.
7. Take a scheduled time out.
We can’t sustain ourselves for that long. Even the most outgoing of people need a little time to recharge. If you happen to be an introvert, like myself, then you will need to schedule a time out once a week. I know you think your gym time should suffice, but trust me here, you need something more. What can you do for a time out? You could soak in a bath, cuddle with the love of your life (that could be your teddy bear, we don’t judge here), treat yourself to a movie of choice, have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, stay in your house in PJ’s all day, go for a walk in nature, schedule short walks after dinner, sit by the fire, start reading that book that has been sitting on your side table for months, etc. The possibilities are endless and totally up to you.
As you can see, you can make it through the holidays stress-free and looking even better in your jeans….as if that’s even possible. Don’t get caught up in the drama, but enjoy the season. Focus on all you do have instead of what you still lack. Find someone to encourage. And remember that the world is a much brighter place with you in it…if you allow your light to shine.