The holiday season is here, which means one of two things: Either it’s the most magical part of the year, or you are overly stressed about your calories, lack of time for exercising, and of course the inevitable fear of weight gain.
Keeping up with your training and nutrition is important, but during the holidays it truly can be stressful. With so many party’s and family gatherings, comfort foods and cocktails, it’s really easy to fall of the right track.
However, with a little planning and preparation, there is no need to derail your achieved progress.
Here are some useful tips one should implement in order to stay fit but still have fun this holiday season!
1. Smart Training Schedule
Having a properly planned training schedule is imperative if you really want to enjoy the well-earned leisure time. Try to structure your workouts so you can rest on the days you want to spend with friends and family.
Another thing you can do is to simply train with no rest days for a short time span. After this harsh period you will feel a bit beat up, but on the brighter side you can use a few extra days off and still receive all the necessary benefits. And once you return to the gym a week later, you will have surely recovered so you can resume training as usual.
Making changes in your training schedule is challenging, but remember that changing things once in a while can be great for progress.
2. Calorie Control
Depending on the current phase you’re in, getting lean or putting on quality size during the holidays is very much possible.
All you need to do is track your calories! As long as you’re in a calorie deficit you will lose weight, and as long as you train and stay in a small calorie surplus you are going to gain mostly muscle mass. Installing apps such as “Myfitnesspal” can make this process a lot easier.
Trying out “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) is also a good option. This nutrition approach provides an easy way to enjoy the holiday food, guilt-free. So instead of restricting any specific food group, your goal is to simply control the portion size and make them fit into your daily calorie and macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat) needs. However, if you choose this route, be sure to make healthy food choices most of the time. Even if you don’t hit your exact macronutrient goals, it’s really not a big deal since it won’t affect the final result all that much.
3. Increase Training Intensity
If you were slacking on cardio lately, now is the time to spike your cardiovascular system. Increasing your training intensity will not only burn more calories, but it will also boost your metabolic rate and save you a lot of time.
To increase training intensity simply decrease your rest period between sets, use lighter weights and more reps. Adding a few HIIT sessions per week is also recommended.
4. Post-Workout Meal Timing
Post-workout meal timing is crucial during the holidays. Aim to perform your intense workouts right before upcoming family gatherings, this way you are able to replenish those depleted glycogen stores with delicious holiday food, with minimal fat gain.
However, always try to get some protein along your holiday meal, just to make sure that you’re giving your muscles the building blocks they need to replenish and grow.
5. Forget About Guilt
No one is perfect, and even if you do slip up and overindulge this holiday season, it is not the end of the world! Having fun every once in a while and consuming a bit more than you’d like is normal, actually it may even benefit you mentally.
So don’t bring the awful feeling of guilt upon yourself if you eat too many cookies or accidently have a few too many eggnog cocktails. Acknowledge the mistake, and move on.
Once the holidays are over, don’t forget to get back on the right path. Clean up your diet, continue exercising regularly, and make this upcoming year the best one yet!