Updated: Jun 21
The holiday season can be a difficult time to keep your fitness goals on track. Between family dinners, grandma’s baking and staff parties, there are many situations that have the potential to derail you.
What if you could plan for these situations with a strategic game plan?
We know they are coming, so to help you out this holiday season, I have put together 5 holiday hacks to set you up for success!
1. Have a flexible plan
Being able to adapt on the fly with a flexible plan is a great starting strategy. You never know when a pop-up event that you want to enjoy may come up. Perhaps your group of ladies may invite you out for wine that evening and you didn’t get to work out that day. Do you decline and go train?
This won’t be an option if you plan for flexibility. Workout in the morning or at lunch so that if something comes up you already have the boxes that are also important to you checked off.
Another example, is to prepare meals for the week ahead of time to assure you are getting the most important parts of your diet taken care of early in the day. This could include water intake, adequate fiber or protein needs, for example.
2. Schedule your workouts around holiday activities
There is a high chance you may consume more calories during the holidays than you otherwise would. You can increase your chances of success during this time by using your workouts to help maintain your energy balance (calories consumed versus calories expended).
Whether you are in a caloric deficit, at maintenance level or in a surplus, managing the number, exercise will help you manage your total daily energy expenditure.
If you don’t have access to a gym, you can easily modify your usual program to have an effective workout wherever you are. Remember, a short modified workout is always better than no workout! If you are strapped for time a simple 15-20 minutes of body weight squats, push ups, lunges and plank variations can go a long way and burn a decent number of calories!
3. Pick low hanging fruit such as adequate water intake
Adequate water intake can be an easy goal to reach with a small amount of effort and comes with many health benefits. One being that it is a natural appetite suppressant. Drinking a glass of water before reaching for something to eat can help to curb unnecessary snacking. A glass of water between every alcoholic beverage is also a great way to reduce total alcohol calorie consumption.
4. Plan accordingly for when alcohol based calories will be consumed
Perhaps instead of completely eliminating alcohol consumption during the holidays, you minimize your intake. Either by having a glass of water between every alcoholic beverage as mentioned above or by picking a lower calorie option like a gin and tonic. Knowing in advance that you will consume more liquid calories than usual, you can plan your day and manage your energy balance with lower calorie food choices.
5. Get your protein and fiber requirements in before social events start
Before going out make sure that you have reached your protein and fiber requirement for the day. My go to is a big serving of chicken and vegetables or a protein smoothie with berries and chia seeds. High protein intake helps reduce hunger and assists in keeping you more satiated.
In addition to this, protein has a higher thermic effect of food (TEF), meaning, that you will actually burn more calories as you digest protein, as opposed to carbohydrates and fats, which have a lower thermic effect of food. Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
They tend to be more filling than low fiber foods (again due to a slightly higher TEF as well), so you&#re likely to eat less and stay satiated longer. High fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less energy dense, meaning they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. Likewise, they are often more nutrient dense, meaning they also often contain many vitamins and minerals.
Have a great holiday season, and hopefully some of these tips can help keep you on track!
Coach Christina :)