Staying fit and nutrition through the holidays

By Jay Johnson

Staying fit and nutrition through the holidays

So the time of the year is here where all friends and family unite and get together to celebrate the holidays. A lot of fun these times are right? Usually involves lots of food, drinks, and relaxing. So what happens when your fitness goals aren’t aligned with the increased consumption and decreased activity of the holidays? 

A well known struggle, staying fit and maintaining healthy nutrition can be increasingly difficult during the holidays. In past years that I’ve had to prepare for a contest that was in line with dieting and conditioning through the holidays, having a set goal and an expectation of where I want to be has always been what has kept my head in the game even during the distractions of the festivities. The first and most important step of keeping things together during these times is knowing that your fitness goals will be accomplished through small, collective efforts that will equate to a grand result. The understanding that your goals will be accomplished one smart choice, meal, or training session at a time during the holidays will be the key to not allow one deviation lead to 2+ and derail your progress and target goal. 

The below tips will help you THINK before you splurge this holiday, and have fun doing it!

  • INCLUDE friends and family! When preparing for a show one of the drawbacks that I’ve always felt when I was early in my bodybuilding career was feeling distant from family and friends in not eating that appetizer, or partaking in that high sugar dessert along with them. When those that are close to you are a part of what you are trying to achieve, they UNDERSTAND it more! Include your family with your goals and celebrate with them each step towards progress that you make! Their encouragement will be what fuels you!
  • Continue to train through the holidays, Just as you have been, even the same times if it all possible: A common issue that happens during the holidays is that not only are the nutritional choices more difficult but training has a tendency to lose priority due to holiday events to attend, etc. This leads to a "double hit" due to less of a calorie deficit from the reduced training. To prevent this, keep your training schedule as close to the existing schedule that you have been doing up until this point. If anything use the additional off time that you may have from the holiday to add training sessions and make it a point to achieve and attend your sessions every chance that you can during the holidays.
  • Use the holidays as an excuse to attend fitness events: Seems that every Thanksgiving and Xmas there is a “Turkey Run” or “Santa’s 5K” type of an event. These events are great not only because of the fitness aspect, but also as an event to attend with family and friends and to give back to the community. The key is to not use these events to over eat once the deficit is created.
  • Realize that just because The holidays are here, there are still healthy options and alternatives: There is ALWAYS a healthier way, never forget that. Typically those holiday parties that we chose to attend have nutrition conscious options when you put your mind to it. Portion control is always an option when all else fails. Turkey, baked potatoes, baked beans, green beans, greens, salad are typically served during holidays and considered healthier meal choices.
  • Create a deficit! I remember years ago a friend of mine was on the treadmill for hours at a time, doing extended cardio and was noticeably losing several lbs a week. When I decided to ask him what he was working towards, he tells me “Being able to enjoy myself on my cruise next month!”. Though that level of extremity may not be necessary, it is definitely a method that help with getting accustomed to controlling your weight and discipline levels prior to a holiday or vacation. A deficit of 10lbs will not only help you learn more about your body, it will put you in a better position to eat freely for a portion of the holidays. 
  • Track, track, track! Tracking is the most underrated method to being flexible and allowing yourself to enjoy certain foods that you normally may be hard pressed to enjoy any other way. Knowing the macro breakdown of certain foods allows you to objectively look at the contents to achieve your fat, protein, carbs, and calories while still creating a deficit needed to make it to your goals. Track heavier during the holiday with your fitness goals as fuel for staying the course.
  • Know your limits and use moderation:  Overeating has a lot to do with eating even after you are full and heavier than necessary portions. Set standards to eat one serving and not seconds. If dessert is an option you’d like to allow yourself, under eat your meal to leave room to feel just satisfied after dessert. 
  • Drink PLENTY of water! important tip is drink PLENTY of water through the holiday season period. A common misconception is the confusion of hunger and dehydration. Dehydration is a symptom of hunger. Keeping a FULL belly of water will help prevent you from overeating and keep your mind off of food when you really may just want your water bottle.

Ofcourse as with everything, staying focused and having will power is the key to success. Understanding what it takes to get there and being confident and consistent with your standards that you set for yourself even when surrounded by the warmth of your friends, family, and tasty calories is a necessary ingredient to stay the course. 

See the below CUSTOM plans in the store if your goal is to have continued success even during the festivities of the holiday season! These plans are based on YOUR goals, resources, and what you plan to achieve!

  • 1 Week Stay the course travel plan: $9.99
  • Alternative options nutrition plan: $19.99
  • One day of tasty treats within your Reach Plan: $0.99
  • 2 Weeks of fast-food healthy options meals: $19.99