Simple guide to staying strong during the holidays
Almost immediately following your food coma from Thanksgiving Turkey, the Christmas season starts shoving cake and sweets at you. December marks the beginning of the holiday festive season; endless parties, late nights, way too much food, and one too many drinks. Cap it off with New Year celebrations and you have a deadly combo that could potentially ruin all of your year's hard work in the gym.
Now is the best time to lay down some very simple and effective tricks to stay on track during the holiday season.
#1 Relax and enjoy the holidays
First and foremost we must not forget that these are holidays, and you will have some meals that are unneeded, you will miss some workouts and you may drink a little more than expected. This is by no means the end of the world. Getting frustrated with yourself will not do anything positive. The best thing you can do is to indulge, but limit the amount of junk.
#2 Bring your own food to parties
Family parties are filled with great food, but many of them do not fit into your usual macro profiles. Do yourself a favour and bring some of your own home-cooked food. In this way, you know that every party you go to will have some food that will help you stay on track. Cook up a stew filled with lean meats and veggies - in this way you can't go wrong.
#3 Construct a balanced plate
Eating during the holidays should be no different than any other time. Construct a plate that is balanced in marcos. Next time you're at a holiday party, try starting with some low-fat protein, then load the plate with veggies. Your plate should be close to being filled and the remainder should fall to some starches; sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, squash, etc. This is the same plate you would make if you were meal prepping - eating on holidays should be no different.
#4 Control Sugar Cravings
Ahh, the smell of warm apple pie. Cinnamon fills the air, and sugar swarms the heart. You need to control your cravings for high sugar foods. Looking at this food in the long-term it's essentially empty calories.
Here's a simple tip to avoid high sugar foods; try eating a small portion of protein or veggies after your first serving of dessert - in this way you will settle your sugar cravings with healthy alternatives. If the craving is still there, continue to eat the protein and veggies.
#5 Travel days - Be prepared
It can be very difficult to maintain a balanced diet while you travel. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Do yourself a favour, head to a local supermarket and stock up on low-calorie, high protein meats and veggies. Products like Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars and Quest Bars are great snacks. One of our favourite meal replacements is fruit with a FUEL X30 shake.
#6 Keep moving
It can be difficult to find a local gym when you're visiting family and friends. One of the ways I try to stay active is just by moving. Need to go to the store, no problem - start walking. Have a dog that needs to be walked - volunteer.
Your goal during the holiday season is to keep the muscles primed and ready for when you're back to training. Chances are you won't have the opportunity to lift heavy 3-4 times a week, but you might be able to crush some Tabata style workouts every other day. If you're getting antsy and really need to train wake up early, set a timer and do 15-20mins of basic exercises; pushups, rows, lunges, leg raises etc.
This could also be the best time for you to start doing those physio exercises and work out that nagging shoulder injury. Nows your chance to deload and workout deficiencies.
The holiday season can be a very difficult time to stay on track and maintain strength progress. Do yourself a favour and just relax, take some time off - but be conscious of your daily eating and lack of exercise. Try to stay moving, and eat the best foods you can.
And of course, if you need some extra help getting back on track after the holidays, Atomic Strength Nutrition is here to help! Call, text, email or message us on social media any time and we can help answer questions, recommend products, even help with diet and exercise tips. You got this.