Christmas isn't too far ahead now, and there is a looming problem for anyone that cares about fitness. How do you stay fit with all the traveling and delicious food getting in your way? Festivities bring unhealthy food and drinks that will mess up your usual routine and make you gain a couple of pounds. This doesn't have to be the case. If you're well prepared, staying fit will be a breeze. You just have to follow some pointers to make sure you don't slip up!
It's that time of year again, and it might be time to visit relatives. If you're traveling far, this might mess up your workout schedule. There is no reason to worry though. With some careful planning, you can keep your exercise schedule on track. It's not that uncommon to book a hotel when traveling to a family gathering. Check if the place you’re staying at has a workout room or gym area. Alternatively, sign up for a day pass at a local gym if one is available.
If you wanted to keep your exercises light during travels, you can always just go for a run in a nearby park. Every day can be a cardio day. Ask your relatives if they have any exercise equipment in the house, as those might come in handy. If all else fails you could just keep fit by doing some small calisthenic workouts in a spare room.
Less Alcohol Is Always More
Let's face it, the holidays are a catalyst for drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Cold weather only contributes to this as well. If you don’t particularly enjoy spending time with relatives, it’s easy to find a way to cope when the eggnog is right there. While drinking away the weather and unpleasant relatives might seem great in theory, it can affect your fitness routine quite a bit. Getting drunk will lead to hangovers, and nobody likes working out hungover!
Alcohol also leads to dehydration which is a big no-no when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy. Not to mention the load of calories you get from any sort of drink. Even a couple of beers is the caloric equivalent of having a full meal. It’s best to avoid drinking too many alcoholic beverages during the holidays. Staying tipsy should be the goal, anyway.
There’s No Need to Overindulge
Holidays are advertised as being a time of family reunion and celebration. The truth is that they are mostly about food i.e. delicious homemade recipes that are to die for. It’s difficult to resist the various foods displayed across the dining room table. Although, if you’re trying to keep your form, moderation is your friend. Here are some ways to reduce caloric intake during this time:
Try to drink lots of water. When you aren’t well hydrated, the body responds by making you hungry. A couple glasses of water a day will certainly reduce your need to overindulge. Plus, staying hydrated is a bonus on its own! Another thing you can try is eating slowly. Hunger hormones take a while to kick in, so if you eat slowly, you’ll feel just as full as if you ate more, and you’ll also avoid feeling too stuffed afterward.
Continue With Your Healthy Lifestyle
Workouts are usually complemented with a variety of supplements. They can range from just drinking water with specific minerals to creatine. People aiming for higher muscle mass often consume whey protein to boost muscle creation. If you consume any of these you might run into a problem during the holidays. You might be too full of other kinds of food to even consider taking your daily protein shake.
Not to mention Thanksgiving and Christmas food is often full of carbs and fats, as opposed to the protein you want. There is a relatively simple answer to this problem. Just eat the proteins first. It's better you eat less of dinner than skipping out on what you need to stay in shape. It might not be as palatable as turkey with gravy, but you will have to prioritize in order to ensure that you’re feeling your best.
Be Wary of Leftovers
This isn’t another different way of saying eat fewer meals. It’s aimed at a different kind of health concern. Food poisoning is a real threat during the holidays. You have lots of people scrambling and rushing to create tons of food. In this kind of chaos, bacteria are spread all around and cooking doesn't always do the trick to get rid of them. The inside of a stuffed turkey isn't as cold as the outside, and bacteria generally love these kinds of foods.
The day after celebrations you’ll have a variety of leftovers that you might be tempted to munch on. If they weren’t refrigerated you should be cautious around them. Food poisoning can set you back days on your workout and meal schedules.
In conclusion, staying fit during the holidays is a herculean task. There are tons of things that can put you off your fitness routine and make you gain weight and lose form. This combined with the stress of traveling takes its toll. Luckily, you know what to expect and planning will mitigate the damage you do to yourself. Follow some of these tips and you just might make it out even healthier than before.
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Written by: Mia Johnson
Mia is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.