The holiday season can be hard to stay on track with your training and nutrition. But, with a little thought and discipline, you can keep yourself on track while still enjoying the festivities. Below are a few tips you can start doing now and continue into the season.
Drink more water!
Water makes up 60% of your body, but yet research shows that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This time of year is even worse; as the temperature drop most people don’t feel the need to drink because they aren’t overly hot. But it’s just as important to stay hydrated if you want your body to function properly on a daily basis, as well as to be prepared to train and recover well.
How to do it:
Start off your day right. Most people go straight for that cup of coffee, tea or maybe even energy drink. Instead, fill up your coffee cup with water first. Tell yourself that you have to drink the water before you can fill it with coffee or any other beverage. That way you will get between 8-12oz of water first thing in the morning.
Carry a water bottle with you at all times. I prefer a pop top or squeeze bottle. I find that I sip on water all day long if I have it. Others like bottles with built in straws like the CamelBak bottles.
Eliminate the gels/bars and sports nutrition snacks this time of year.
This time of year, your training volume is most likely shorter along with decreased intensity. You don’t need the extra calories, gels and energy bars during your shorter workouts. On top of that, this is a good time to start teaching your body to not rely on carbs consumed during exercise as much, and make a shift toward being more metabolically efficient, (The efficiency at which the body can utilize its internal stores of carbohydrate and fat at rest and during exercise.)
How to do it:
As noted above, drink more water. Also, shift toward a higher protein intake. Aim to have a solid protein with all your snacks and meals, especially when you’re snacking on all the holiday treats. With a better protein to carb ratio, you will limit the body’s insulin response, which plays a big role in fat production. If you’re going to have those cookies, pies, or cakes, make sure you have some protein right before them.
Just get moving.
Holidays can be busy times. Lots of traveling, family gatherings, parties, etc. Workout time usually becomes limited, you’re in new locations and away from the comforts of your normal routine. The key is to just keep moving. You don’t have to have some mind-blowing workouts that you’re going to brag to all your friends about. Just 20-30 minutes of activity can keep you feeling healthy and make sure you don’t get too far off track.
How to do it:
Don’t make it complicated. Get out for a brisk walk with friends and family before and after meals.
Use your surroundings. Do you have stairs at the house? Create a fun stair running interval workout with a body weight strength workout. Those can be done anywhere.
Play an interactive game. Get the whole family involved by playing games that get you moving.
Be smart and plan ahead with your holiday drinking.
I’m not recommending that you drink alcohol; not drinking is always going to be the healthier alternative. But I understand it’s a big part of the holiday season. If you do plan to drink, a little planning ahead can go a long way.
How to do it:
We are going back to #1, drinking more water! Try drinking a glass of water between your alcoholic drinks. This will help you keep from getting as dehydrated, and fill you up so you don’t drink as much.
Pick the healthier or lighter calorie option. Choose a light beer, or drinks on the rocks instead of frozen like margaritas. Consider wine; red wine has been shown to aid in heart health, and tends to be lower in calories than darker beers, but similar to light beers.
Be mindful of your snacking. This might be the worst part about drinking; most people tend to snack on salty treats with little nutritional value. Make sure you have a nutritious meal before drinking, and stay way from the snacks.
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