Stay Healthy During the Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner and far too many athletes have resigned themselves to extra pounds, broken routines, and months of regret. Fitness during the holidays does not have to be an oxymoron. WIth a little effort, forethought, and diligence, you can stay healthy and have a good time. Sound familiar?

It should. Those same three qualities are likely the very things that have helped you get this far down your fitness journey. By holding true to these key principles, you’ll stay true to yourself and your goals while enjoying the same holiday experience you’re used to.

The Challenges

The holidays present unique challenges, not because of their activities (there are other get-togethers and parties you will face), but rather due to the repetitive celebrations. Many people begin celebrating at Labor Day and carry-on several times a month through New Year’s and the surrounding annual sporting events. This extended holiday season will attack your life using several nefarious strategies.

  • It’s Party Time! - Ahh yeah. From the big game with your friends to the office Christmas party with your boss, there are plenty of these events. Each offering varying levels of high-calorie foods, empty calorie beverages, and excuses the next morning to forgo the gym.
  • Auntie’s Candied Yams - You can’t not eat them. You want to stay healthy, but you know how she gets. Family reunions are a minefield of dietary and social explosions just waiting for the unwary to set foot into.
  • Even Mother Nature Is Against You - Snow today and slush tomorrow means frozen roads and dangerous driving conditions. Is building your body really worth risking it to get to the gym?
  • Stress - All of it. Personal, professional, and social tensions ratchet up during the holiday season. Cheat days begin to look more like needed emotional therapy, then they start to happen more frequently. More than ice can create a slippery slope.

Stay Healthy

If you want to maintain your fitness during the holidays, you need to set some goals. These goals will help you get through the months ahead without forcing you to become a social pariah. Everyone’s goal is different, but you can lock in on yours by focusing on a few key areas.

Understand Your Dietary Requirements

Different athletes have different dietary requirements. Are you a protein junkie or a carb loader? A lot of attention is paid to caloric intake over the holidays, but you know that where those calories come from can be vital to how your body develops and recovers.

Understand Your Exercise Needs

What level of exercise and training is your body used to? Do you need a high activity seven days a week, or are you a Monday-Wednesday-Friday gym-goer? Are you in off-season or training for competition?

Understand How Routine Helps You And Support It

Some people can switch it up every day and follow their plan to stay healthy. Others have to follow a checklist to get by. This is more about you than your workout style. What psychological tricks do you use to motivate yourself to push through your regular grind and pay attention to your fitness during the holidays?

Finding Your Solutions

Even though it seems like chaos reigns during the holiday season, there are steps you can take to make sure that fitness during the holidays takes priority. Remember, when you want to stay healthy, it’s much more of a journey than a destination. You’ve evaluated your needs, so now you have the roadmap for your journey. Here’s how to use that information during the holidays to make small changes to stay healthy and true to your fitness goals.

Modifying Your Workout Schedule

For many people, this is one of the easiest changes to make. Since most events really start to get going in the afternoon and evening hours, if that’s your usual gym time, get up a bit early to hit the gym in the morning. If Saturday is leg day and an all-day event, hit those quads and calves Friday or Sunday this week.

Modifying Your Workouts

Sometimes it takes a bit more than a schedule change. While you may be used to a set routine, that’s not the only way to work your muscles. Whether it’s due to your schedule not matching the gym or a family visit taking you away from your equipment, modified activities can still keep you going. Organize an impromptu soccer game or bike ride to keep up on cardio. Do goblet squats with a jug of milk to replace the squat rack for a week. Be flexible to keep up with your fitness during the holidays.

Modifying Your Diet

This can be the hardest change to make. What we eat often goes to the core of who we are, and the tiniest slip can soon become a catastrophic fall. With all the good food and beverages available, you’ll have to look carefully at each meal to make sure you cover your nutritional bases. If lots of sweets are making calories a concern, stay healthy by drinking a full glass of water before allowing yourself a responsible portion to appease that sweet tooth. It’s ok to have the holiday experience you love as long as you use good judgement.

Giving Yourself Permission To Cut Loose

This one is going to seem contradictory, but stop to think about it. Science has proven that a huge portion of our athletic performance is thanks to our heads more than our bodies. Remember to give yourself the time to enjoy the holidays as you stay healthy. Too much austerity can end up causing you to resent your fitness goals — leading to far bigger issues than an extra piece of pie.

Getting Back To The Grind

DId you slip up? Don’t feel too bad. The holidays are meant as a time for celebration with friends and family. By taking steps to be more mindful, you limited the damage. Now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

Keep Your Gym Return Modest

Too many people start back to the gym intent on making up for lost time or determined to double-up their workout to make up for holiday transgressions. One pulled groin later, they’re out for a few more weeks. Don’t make that mistake! Start back slow and pay attention to your body.

Rein In Your Diet

Alright, it’s time to get back on the meal plan. You’ve done it before, you’ll do it again. Just remember your body is returning to a higher level of activity, so you may need increased water and calories as you get back into the swing of things.

Take Score

Now is a great time to see where you stand. No, not on the scale, but on how your strategy worked. No plan survives contact with the enemy, so what will you tweak for next year? You’ve got months to plan. Is there travel equipment you want to pick up to help you stay healthy? How about finding a specific supplement to take with you that was missing from the holiday fare?

You Can Stay Healthy Over The Holidays

By making small adjustments, you can maintain a high level of activity and proper nutrition throughout your holiday schedule. If you need a little extra help, stop by a Krav Maga Worldwide location today to get in shape and learn life-saving self defense skills.

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