Last year we gave you some of our top tips for Holiday Damage Control and this year, we wanted to step things up a notch and show you how to not just survive the silly season but to thrive during it… and dare I say, crush it!
Dealing with a Change in Routine
Perhaps the biggest reason for people “falling off the wagon” is simply because the routine has changed. We see it when people move to a new house, change jobs, or are away on vacation. Your usual patterns that help to keep your body and mind in great shape are shifted and it seems like when this happens, everything else goes straight out the window.
To deal with this, you need to consciously create a new routine specifically for the holidays. Don’t be too strict and don’t try to incorporate too many elements in your holiday routine. Stick with simplicity and remember that you want to be doing the biggest-bang-for-buck activities during your break.
Start with an easy 3-step morning routine:
- When you first wake up, drink a large glass of water to rehydrate after the night. Then follow that up with a protein and multi-nutrient drink, such as Clean Lean Protein with Good Green Stuff and (if you’re extra hungry) a Good Green Stuff Bar. Starting the day with protein will help you to be more satiated, reduce hunger through the day, and help to maintain proper circadian rhythms, which can be disturbed when your routine changes. A multi-nutrient helps to fill in any gaps in your nutrition that might appear because of, shall we say, different food choices during the holiday season.
- After that, take a few minutes to focus on your breathing and be mindful. Mindfulness will help you to make better life, diet, and exercise choices over the break, without you having to force it!
- Finally, set a positive intention for what you’d like the day to be. This can be anything you want but it should be framed in a way that is Positive, Personal, Present-tense, and Powerful. For example, I am happy and healthy!
Use the Holidays as a Chance to Get Jacked!
Many people (and probably you!) could stand to gain a little muscle, or at the least to spend a little time on building muscle and strength. We can get the most out of the holiday season, when it’s likely we’ll be eating more, and a little more ‘freely’ by using those extra calories to grow some muscle tissue.
The best way to prepare this is to tighten up the diet before the break. Again, there is no need to be overly strict about this, just eat a diet based on natural, whole and unprocessed foods, and perhaps try tracking your calories in an app like My Fitness Pal, so that you can stay ‘on point’ for at least a few weeks before Christmas. Once social events are in full swing, it’s time to switch to muscle-mode.
Eat 3 Square Meals Each Day
Snacking is a major challenge during the holidays.
Stick to your protein and multi-nutrient drink for breakfast, a BIG (eat as much as you like) protein, fat, and veggie based meal for lunch, and then eat more or less whatever you want at night. Still have veggies, protein, and healthy fats first, but then feel free to have some of those yummy holiday treats too!
Train Before Dinner, if able
Because it’s going to be your biggest meal of the day (and there could be some treats afterwards!), a great way to encourage the storage of those nutrients as muscle tissue is to do some type of training immediately before dinner.
This could even be as simple as a short, calisthenic circuit such as 2 x sets of Squats, Push-ups, Planks, Table Rows to failure. This only takes a few minutes, but it can provide the necessary stimulus to help ‘partition nutrients’ into muscle and not fat.
Do Intermittent Activity
Because of the change in routine and the inevitable unforeseen things that pop up during the holidays, I think that you need to train whenever you can. This is something I do A LOT when I am heavily involved in a writing or research project and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stick to my usual gym times. Instead, I set up a chin-up bar in the doorway between my lounge and hallway and every time I walk under it, I do a set. I also drop down and do the odd set of push-ups, handstand push-ups, or single leg squats. You’ll be surprised at just how much extra resistance training you can get in by just doing a little here and there, without any stress or pressure.
So, here’s what a day of crushing the holidays looks like…