Improving or maintaining your current fitness level during the holiday season can seem like a daunting task. First there's Halloween followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then the New Years. All four of these events occur within three months.
Each event is celebrated with friends, family, and, of course, all varieties of food. An over abundance of popular delicacies can be found at home, work, the gym, and social events. Each encounter with these delicacies is met with a profound urge and temptation that creates a new definition of "resistance training." You resist the urge to splurge and are weakened by each encounter.
Giving in is an almost certainty given the numerous encounters you will likely experience. Once you've given in, it's like the old Lay's Potato Chip slogan, "You can't eat just one." Right? When you indulge, it's "Game Over" and you lose all sense of control and it's open season.
If you're reading this, you can feel what I'm saying, can't you? Never fear, there is always hope and you can overcome this challenge. I know I have. I'll help you overcome what I call "The Holiday Festival."
Sustaining Your Routine
So many times I've heard them time and time again. Any of these sound familiar?
- I'm not coming to the gym tomorrow it's New Year's Eve.
- I'm taking the week off, it's Christmas and I feel jolly.
- I've got so much shopping, cooking, and cleaning to prepare for the holiday I don't have time to workout.
- Why train during the holiday? I'm going to blow my diet anyhow.
I've been guilty of using one or more of the aforementioned statements myself, haven't you? Simply put, it doesn't have to be that way. We all know it doesn't but it's always easier to "create" excuses.
During this holiday, let's change our way of thinking and don't train in vain. Training during the holiday season is the single most important activity you should not forget. In fact, you should seek to intensify your workout regiment and burn extra calories.
If you are staying at home for the holidays, it's important to maintain your workout routine with one exception, you should increase your intensity by increasing sets/reps and decreasing rest periods. If you are traveling away for the holiday, you should, again, maintain your workout routine and increase your intensity by increasing sets/reps and decreasing rest periods.
I hope you noticed that I obviously repeated myself. Higher intensity workouts should require less time to complete and provide more time to enjoy the company of friends and family.
Your workout routine during the holiday week should consist of 6 days and be limited to 75 minutes max. Weight training should occur all 6 days and 3-4 days should include no less than 20 minutes of cardio.
20 minutes cardio
45 minutes cardio
20-30 minutes stretching
A consistent and intense workout program during the holiday will go a long way towards ensuring your current fitness level is maintained.
Maintain Your Nutrition Awareness
It all tastes so good doesn't it? The bountiful turkey and dressing drenched with gravy laced with macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and dinner rolls. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Oh, and the desserts! Cherry, sweet potato, apple, pumpkin, and lemon pies lying next to banana pudding, angle food, chocolate, and caramel cakes. Oh joy! How can anyone resist! Well, you don't have to. What you should do is make sensible choices and create sensible options for yourself.
Realizing that everyone doesn't have the same fitness goals as you, it's important to create your own options or alternatives whenever possible. What does that mean? That means, if you are preparing a holiday dinner (or part of), create your own alternatives by including the following additional dishes:
- Baked sweet potato
- Cornish Hens
- Ham (without glaze)
- Fresh Garden Salad
- Fruit bowl - sliced bananas, strawberries, Kiwi - topped with sugar free whipped topping - including a small slice of angel food cake
- Diet soda (i.e. Diet Rite) or crystal light
There are several other options too vast to name in this article but it's important to realize that you do have options.
Other simple tricks that can make your holiday festival more healthy are:
- avoiding gravy and creamy sauces
- avoiding or limiting dinner rolls
- removing skin from your turkey or Cornish Hen
- sticking with white meat
- monitoring your portions
- drinking plenty of fluid
Play Reindeer Games
Playing games such as Monopoly, Trivia Pursuit, Dominos, Charades, etc. with visiting friends and/or family is a great way to incorporate a non-eating activity during your holiday celebration. As a part of your preparation, make certain to bring along a few games that may stimulate the interest of those celebrating with you.
Way To Incorporate A Non-Eating Activity During Your Holiday Celebration."
Playing games, which inevitably will include some laughter, can also burn calories. For instance, playing Charades and any associated laughter involves some physical activity that elevates your metabolism and can increase your heart rate by 10-20 percent and can result in additional calories burned.
With most holiday celebrations, alcohol is nearly as abundant as food. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks (i.e. Strawberry Daiquiri's, Mojito, Amaretto Sour, etc.), are commonly found and easily accessible. You should always remember that alcohol contains calories and can negatively affect your fitness goals.
Limiting your alcohol consumption is a must if you desire to maintain your fitness level. It's also important to consider which alcohols should be avoided and which can be tolerated. Generally, many mixed drinks are higher in calories. This is primarily due to the fact that they are sometimes mixed with sugar and/or high calorie soda.
You'll find a plethora of information on various drinks at www.drinksmixer.com. Red Wine (in moderation) is a sensible alternative to many mixed drinks. Red Wine is also reported to reduce risks for some health conditions and contains phenolic substances that possess antioxidant properties.
In addition to Red Wine, there are various low carb/low calorie beers to choose from. From Michelob Ultra to Rock Green Light, there are several beer options to choose. See the following web site for a comparison of various low carb/low calorie beers www.bellaonline.com.
Similar to creating your own food alternatives, you can also create your own drink alternatives. Whether you are attending a holiday party or hosting one, you should always prepare yourself by bringing sensible options along.
Surviving the holiday festival season is not an impossible mission. Just simply make sensible decisions and approach each day with positive energy and intensity. Your fitness will thank you in the coming New Year!
Well, thanks for reading and I shall return with a new article very soon!