With the holiday season upon us, you may be starting to feel slightly nervous about how you're going to make it through without setting yourself weeks back on all the hard work you've been putting into your workout and diet program.
There's no doubt that you're partially looking forward to some of the festive treats that do come out only around the holidays but, question whether you're going to be able to maintain some degree of self control so you don't wind up on a two month, extreme fat loss plan come January 2nd.
Fortunately if you have been working hard over the last few months as you move into the holiday season you will have earned some time off and you can actually schedule this right into your overall yearly schedule so that your body does fully recover and you come back into the new year fresh and ready to work hard again.
But, that said, 'time off' shouldn't mean that you say so long to the gym for 30 days straight while giving yourself free reign over every holiday buffet you come across. By keeping the following tips in mind you can practice some degree of adherence with your plan and enjoy the holidays without your physique taking a hit.
Let's go over what you need to know.
1. Scale Back Your Workouts And Consider A Full Body Routine
The very first thing that you should be doing to help ward off holiday weight gain is to scale back slightly on your workout programs. You're going to be busy with various other events and functions during this time that it's usually unrealistic to expect to devote the same amount of time to your workouts as you usually would.
That said, this doesn't mean you should skip over your workouts entirely. Instead, focus on simply reducing the total volume you're doing while keeping the intensity high. For instance you can reduce back on the total sets per exercise by half and then also choose to decrease the rest periods.
This means total work over the course of the workout but you'll be doing the work you do over half the time, thus experiencing metabolic benefits because of that point.
If you can do two sets of all the major compound exercises using a full body approach and keep the rest periods limited to 60-90 seconds while still giving a max out effort, you've just created a very effective fat burning workout that can be done in as little as 30 minutes.
2. Design A Low Carb Base Diet Plan
The second thing that you should do that will help you get through the holiday season with your current bodyweight intact is to come up with a baseline diet plan that meets all of your protein requirements. Form this plan to be around four to six meals of a solid source of protein along with plenty of vegetables and a very small amount of healthy fats (or just add 3-6 grams of fish oil per day).
This should then leave you with quite a significant number of calories 'extra' that would be required to maintain your body weight that you then have some flexibility with.
If you stick to the baseline diet for the most part throughout the day, then if you do have a special function or event to attend, you can relax slightly with what you're eating since you'll have built-up that calorie reservoir so to speak that you can then dip into.
If, on the other hand you don't have any social function to attend, then leave that day be as a very low calorie day that will move you towards the end of weight loss and help to counteract any days where you do take in a very high calorie intake.
3. Focus On Maintenance Rather Than Improvement
Another very essential thing that you should be doing as you prepare for the holiday season is get your mind more focused around maintenance rather than improvement. If you can instead just focus on keeping the current body you have, you won't be as tempted to throw in the towel when you find that you just aren't making gains.
The season is busy, without a doubt, and to expect yourself to continue to make ongoing gains like you do the rest of the year will be a very unrealistic expectation for most people.
If you have this expectation in mind though then when you do find you're not reaching it, you're very likely to grow frustrated and may give up altogether. If you're someone who suffers from black and white thinking, this is going to place you in a very troublesome situation.
Aim for maintenance not improvement and you'll feel better about the progress you're making with keeping up a semi-normal gym schedule and eating healthy choices.
4. Do Some Active Holiday Activities
Since you may be cutting back your time in the gym, this is also the perfect time to now focus on some physical holiday activities. Rather than sitting around watching Christmas movies or playing cards for hours at a time, get out and do something that's more active. Go window shopping at the mall, go on a snowshoe hike around your area, or get everyone together for a cross country skiing venture.
There are plenty of different ways to keep your body in motion throughout the holidays and this will go a long way towards upping your daily calorie burn and making it that much easier to maintain your weight.
With the reduced gym time comes fewer calories burned, but if you can increase your everyday activity this should more than make-up for it.
5. Take On Less
Finally, the last quick tip to utilize to help you survive the holiday season is to learn to say no once in a while. You're likely going to be asked to prepare a number of dishes for the events you're going to be attending as well as have expectations to get all your shopping done, decorate your house, entertain guests, and on and on it goes. For some people, the 'to-do' list grows so great that they hardly even have time to relax and enjoy the season.
This year, make an effort to take on only what you're confident you'll be able to handle. By doing so you'll find you experience less stress and therefore have a much lower chance of succumbing to eating for comfort.
When you feel very overwhelmed with all the things you have to get through for the day, sometimes that plate of freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies is just too tempting to pass up - or for some of you, that carton of Egg Nog in the fridge is calling your name to help you wind down.
If you're less stressed out and have time to enjoy yourself, you'll stay better on top of making the healthier choices you should be and won't feel so overwhelmed with everything.
So this holiday season be sure that you keep all of these points in mind. Each year you likely tell yourself that this will be the year that you don't gain any weight through Christmas and New Years but if you're like most, that promise just doesn't stay in tact.
If you go in with a solid game plan though you're going to find that you're significantly more successful.