When it comes to your physical fitness, Christmas means 1 of 2 things:
1) Dread- you've been working hard to get lean and mean, and you're afraid Christmas feasting will destroy those hard-earned results.
2) Reckless Disregard- Screw it, you'll pick it up in January. For now, let's get drunk and eat a weird amount of sweets.
Whichever camp you land in, I'd like to invite you to take a different approach this year. The strategies I'm about to share with you will allow you to enjoy the holiday stress-free, but you won't need to throw away your hard-earned results to do it.
Here we go:
Let's face it- you're going to be eating more food than usual. Christmas means bigger meals, desert becomes a staple, and you wash it all down with an Old Fashioned or six.
But for most of us, the real feast takes place later in the day. Which means, you'll be eating the majority of your calories in the evening.
This makes it the perfect time to practice intermittent fasting, which will allow you to feast your face off at night without blowing your calories out of control.
Here's how it works:
Instead of eating breakfast, drink coffee and water instead. Caffeine will suppress your appetite, and the water will keep you from dying of dehydration ;)
Eat your first meal at noon-ish, and keep it fairly light and rich in protein.
Finally- and this is the fun part- at dinner, go nuts. Eat a big meal, have some desert, and enjoy a few drinks.
Now, it's likely you'll still be eating more than usual, but the damage will be minimal, if any at all. You'll also feel better, which makes for a more enjoyable holiday.
Don't go More Than 3 Days Without Training
"Impossible", you say.
"I'll be staying with family, there's no way I'll be able to get out to the gym."
This, I understand. I'll be in the same boat.
What I don't understand is the black-and-white approach people take to fitness. If you can't get to the gym and do your usual routine, that doesn't mean you can't do anything.
And something is always better than nothing.
Take me for example. I've spent years working deep in the Alberta wilderness, staying in work camps or shitty motel rooms (with another guy in the room, I might add), doing 90 hour work weeks. And I never stopped working out.
Don't get me wrong, it sucks, and it presents a real challenge. But it's doable.
Most of my workouts took place in a motel room with nothing but an ab wheel and my body weight. I set a timer for 20 minutes, and did continuous rounds of Bulgarian split squats, push ups, and ab wheel rollouts.
It wasn't ideal, but man, it was a lot better than not training at all.
Anyway, enough of my "I used to walk to school in a blizzard everyday, uphill both ways" rant.
All that is to say, keep working out. Even if that means 1-2 sets of push ups and squats before you shower.
Keeping your muscles working vastly changes the way your body processes the food you eat. So don't underestimate the power of 10-20 minutes of work, even if that work is in your grandma's guest room.
Create Your Own Boundaries
Even the best things in life are poisonous in a high enough dose.
So, although you want to relax and enjoy yourself this Christmas, turning it into a free-for-all does more harm than good.
3 cookies are delicious. 75 cookies will ruin your day.
A beautiful glass of whiskey by the fire is good. 17 whiskies and you'll find yourself in a heated political debate with your sweet grandma.
See what I'm saying?
Instead of heading into Christmas dinner without a plan, set some boundaries around what you'll eat and drink.
Here are a few examples. Feel free to shape them into something that will work for you:
The goal of these boundaries is to help you strike the balance between:
1) Enjoying the holiday, and all the food and drink that comes with it.
2) Avoid heading into 2019 10 lbs heavier and full of regrets.
So, set your boundaries with this balance in mind.
Above all, my friend, make sure to enjoy yourself. It can be a stressful time of year, so take a step back and remember what matters. This is a time to relax, and really connect with your loved ones. Stay cool, and don't let the hustle and bustle get to you.