The holidays can certainly derail anyone’s fitness plan, progress or intentions. That period of time from Thanksgiving to New Years Day can prove fatal to the best of diets or training programs. However, you do not have to fall victim to this common problem. There are many things you can do in order to be sure you sneak in a holiday workout.
Holiday Run Streak
Each year a lot of runners attend a holiday streak run. Since the period between Thanksgiving to New Years Day is such a difficult time to stay on target, the streak starts on Thanksgiving. The premise is that participants will run at least one mile each day through the streak.
This year the period between those holidays is just 36 short days and therefore a mile a day is truly manageable. And, of course, you can run longer if you wish! One of the main premises that the streak stresses is how accomplished you will feel at the end of the streak, especially if this is your first time accomplishing the feat.
The best part about committing to the holiday workout streak is the discipline, commitment and planning that goes into the process. If you have a particularly busy day ahead you might find yourself suddenly investing in some light-up safety gear to keep the streak alive. Maybe you can convert a non-running friend into a running buddy. After all, one mile is very accessible to most people!
You can share your accomplishments with the group of committed athletes who are also participating by posting your epic pics on social media with the tag #RWRunStreak.
If your nemesis is food during the holidays, there are also things you can do in this regard to stay on track. Holiday gatherings are a great way to find yourself creeping up on the scale and becoming lazy about your fitness. Here are some tips to stay focused.
✓ Contribute healthy food! If you are attending a gathering at someone else’s home, be sure your contribution is a healthy food item (or two!). You will probably find that you are not the only one trying to continue eating healthy through the holidays.
✓ Start with veggies. Staring with vegetables is a great way to prime the pump for good choices. If it is a buffet, first put raw veggies or another “safe” food on your plate. You are less likely to indulge in naughty treats if your stomach is full.
✓ Don’t arrive starving. The last thing you should do is get to a party hungry. Sure, it’s tempting to save up your calories so you can binge in the evening, but that is truly a recipe for disaster. Eat healthy all day and have a small, nutritious snack prior to leaving.
✓ Be careful with alcohol. Drinking is one way to derail yourself. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and can lead you to make choices you would never make sober. In addition, those fancy holiday drinks are chuck full of empty calories. Consider ahead of time what you will drink and commit to having a glass of water or diet soda between cocktails.
✓ Use a small plate. Putting your food on a small plate will limit your choices each time you pass by a buffet.
✓ Socialize. When at a holiday gathering if you keep moving and make it a point to speak to every person present, you will find yourself with less downtime to grab food!
✓ Indulge in your favorites. If your Aunt Dorothy makes the world’s best tiramisu, don’t torture yourself by passing on it. The holidays only come once a year and if you make good choices, no food has to be on the naughty list!
Exercise in the Morning
Many athletes report that if they exercise first thing in the morning it helps them to make better choices throughout the rest of the day. In addition, don’t be afraid to pencil in a second movement session. Remember: any purposeful movement can help.
For example, sign up for that Turkey Trot in your hometown to start out the day in a healthy way. If you overeat at Thanksgiving dinner convince your family to take a walk with you later. The fresh air and movement will leave you feeling better.
Many people make the mistake of not properly hydrating through the holidays. Between overconsuming alcohol which is dehydrating and simply making poor choices, dehydration is a real thing.
As mentioned above, alternate alcoholic or other drinks with water. If you feel self-conscious carrying around a water glass, bring sparkling water and fill your own glass with some of that and a slice of lime.
Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals is dangerous ground. Yes, some people think they should save up calories before a big feast. That is not a good choice. Sure, you can eat smaller meals before heading to a holiday party. But stay away from the temptation to skip eating altogether.
You will usually end up severely over eating out of hunger!
This is an excellent time to give your workouts focus. Whether you put a race on the calendar, sign up for a fitness class at your local gym or just find some new workout videos online, making a conscious effort to jack up your training can help you stay on target through the holidays.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is highly underrated as a means of staying healthy. Getting enough sleep is a great way to be certain you can continue to exercise as your body is accustomed to.
Sleep keeps your clear-headed, healthy and happy. It also increases the likelihood that you will get up for that group run or workout with your friends!
If you know you have back to back holiday parties and will be tired, don’t plan to run the morning between those events. Look at your social calendar and pencil in workouts ahead of time. Knowing exactly when you will lift weights, run, walk or do yoga is a good way to be sure you accomplish these tasks.
The holidays do not have to turn your fitness on its end. Some careful planning and a holiday workout might be all you need!