We’re in that stretch between mid November to the end of the year that a good portion of us struggle with not only diet but physically getting to the gym. It’s that time of the year when stress is through the roof and one of our biggest stress relievers is being put on the back burner. So what’s the cure? How do we juggle prioritizing holiday activities with fitness goals? The answer is balance, which is usually easier said than done.
It’s important to note that we’re human beings, not robots, life happens and adversity is ever present. The amount of work that you’ve put in the previous months will afford you some flexibility when it comes to your diet during the holidays. Three or four days during Thanksgiving and again during Christmas won’t kill you, a month and a half straight might do some damage though. We should never feel guilty for eating some good home cooking while spending time with loved ones. If we do, there’s definitely a disconnect with what this journey is all about. The goal should be to indulge but get back to form when the dust has settled. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a dangerous time for food lovers. Those three weeks play a very important part in how much ground we’ll have to make up in the New Year. Survive those three weeks and you’ve conquered the holidays in regards to your diet.
Tips: Put away the macro calculator during holiday meals, it only brings anxiety and takes away from the fun. Always try to have your foundation meals during that three week stretch (chicken and rice, meat and potatoes, eggs and spinach, etc). These meals keep you grounded and help you hit your macro and micro nutrient goals for the day. Eating your core meals will fill you up more so you may not eat as much of the bad stuff. If you’re going to eat a high calorie meal loaded with simple carbs (pie, cookies, etc) try to eat it around your workout. This timing ensures that you have the opportunity to utilize those carbs. This is also is a good time to use a GDA like Matador from Project AD or Pump Dirt from Innova Pharm.
What can be argued is that, even more so than diet, working out is the most important to stay on task with. Calories are needed to support muscle growth but what actually activates muscular growth? Muscle stimulation, working out! Whatever your goal is, muscle preservation is always a priority. Whether you tell yourself that you’re putting those calories to use or that you need to burn them off, you’re being proactive about it. An issue some of us are plagued with is not being able to maintain the same frequency as usual and that’s okay! We’re creatures of habit and have a hard time switching it up, the holiday season is the perfect time to experiment. If you’re on a 5 day split, perhaps a 3 day maybe more realistic. If your nights are stacked up, try working out in the morning or on break. If you’re use to working out two hours a day but no longer have the time, try 45 minutes with 45 second breaks in between sets. There’s always options, what’s important is adjusting instead of throwing it out of the window entirely. Who knows, you might find something new that you’ll incorporate after the holiday season.
Tips: Any activity is better than nothing, so force yourself to show up. It might not be the usual but getting out of our comfort zone is the best platform for growth. Sometimes a change of scenery can create a spark and ignite motivation, don’t be afraid to try other gyms or forms of fitness.
Specific supplementation can be very beneficial during the holiday season. Glucose Disposal Agents (GDAs) are the first thing that come to mind. GDAs essentially make sure that your carbs are being utilized properly and not stored as fat. Products like Project AD Matador and Innova Pharm Pump Dirt are excellent options for those looking to stay lean during the influx of high carb options. If you’re struggling with your foundation meals (as most holiday meals are high carb) and need to get in more protein, powders are a good way to go. We don’t recommend solely relying on powders as a protein source but they can provide a bandaid until the holiday season is over. If you have a sweet tooth, VMI Protolyte (isolate, post workout) and PES Select (snack, cooking, meal replacement) are good options. If your goal is to stuff your face as much as possible and need room to do so, Project AD Ravenous is an appetite enhancer. Ravenous helps speed up the digestion of foods and helps reduce toxins within the digestive tract, more room equals more food. If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and need appetite suppression, Innova Pharm Enduralean is a great way to go. Enduralean is considered a fat burner with a mild appetite suppression. You still want to be able to enjoy yourself, this will help keep it within moderation.
Truth be told, if you blow these next few weeks the world will still turn and your summer body will still be well within reach. What’s more important is understanding the value the fitness lifestyle can have on your mental health. During the most stressful time of the year the one thing that keeps most of us sane and feeling good should still be one of our priorities. Make yourself a priority, adjust to find balance, enjoy your time with your loved ones, and start the New Year off ahead of the game.
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