How to Keep Fit During the Holidays
Keeping fit during the holidays has to be one of the toughest things to do. I give props to people who are able to maintain their nutrition and workout ethic past Thanksgiving, cause usually from there, things start to go downhill for a lot of people. What may seem like an impossible task, maybe a bit easier to do than you think if you follow some of the basic principles of weight management or even just change up your goals a bit for this time of year.
Changing Up Your Goals - The Tale of Bulking
Usually, during the winter, most people tend to hunker down go on bulk, and workouts like madmen and women. You pack on some extra weight, it keeps you that much warmer and overall it just fits with the season. Around this time of year, I'm almost exclusively on bulk and if you think about it, it makes sense logistically to do so.
Not so Much Guilt
If you're cutting or trying to even maintain weight during the holidays, it always tends to be a bit more difficult. You don't want to skimp on your Holiday traditions and fun but you also want to achieve your physical goals. While you shouldn't still go on a complete binge when you're on a bulk, you will be able to allow yourself to eat more than you would on a cut. You wouldn't feel so guilty and you can treat yourself a bit more cause you'll be making all the gainz anyway (kidding). Seriously though, the more you're capable of eating and being able to hit your goals is always great. You won't feel too guilty if you splurge a bit on the actual holidays.
Best Time of the Year for It
If you're in North America, this is probably one of the better times of year to bulk. In most places, it's fairly chilly so you can pack on extra layers of clothing to hide that extra weight you may have put on. As well, with the holidays and knowing there will be more days of indulging, bulking seems like the best option to fit into this plan from a caloric standpoint. If you live somewhere warmer, it would still probably be the coldest time of the year regardless. During Spring/Summer, you'll probably want to be a bit leaner but obviously, that's up to you.
Changing Your Weekly Calorie Intake
If you're on a cut or maintenance, it's not the end of the world. Yes, staying fit during the holidays is a bit harder, but you have some strategies you can implement to stay fit and maintain/lose weight if needed.
One of the things I like to do is plan out my weekly calories and adjust my calories for specific days. For example, currently, I'm eating 1800 calories a day. If I know I'm going to have a Christmas coming up on a Friday, i'll do the following:
- Monday - 1730
- Tuesday - 1730
- Wednesday - 1730
- Thursday - 1730
- Friday (Christmas) - 2200
- Saturday - 1730
- Sunday -1730
As you can see, what I did was increase my calories for Friday (Christmas) and decreased it everywhere else throughout the week. You can easily do this by adding X amount of calories to the day you know you'll be eating more.
From there, take X and divide it by the number of days you'll be following be eating 'normally' which will be Y. Then subtract your normal daily intake by Y to get your new daily calorie intake.
So if you're only adding 400 calories to one day of the week, you'll do 400/6 = 66.66. Then you would do 1800 - 66 = 1733.
If you're adding 400 calories to 2 days of the week you'll do 800(total of extra calories added across 2 days)/5 = 160. Then you would do 1800 - 160 = 1640.
The formula would look something like this: NormalCalories - (ExtraCalories*Days/NormalDays) = NewDailyCalories( In exception to the days you'll be eating more)
If you need to figure out your calories, check out the calorie calculator tool.
Okay, no more math for a bit!
Put in Some Extra Work
I think this point is a bit more obvious, but one way to counteract the indulgence of the holidays is to work out a bit harder. If you have to incorporate a bit of cardio, that works, or even just adding some extra accessory work is always good. Every Thanksgiving, I go really hard at the gym and sometimes do some extra cardio as well. It makes that meal that much more worth it and feels a bit more guilt-free.
Indulge. Get Back to It the Next Day
Okay, so you may have indulged a bit during the holidays. Guess what? You can easily just get back on track the next day. The next day will always be an opportunity to make it right and get back on track. This goes for anything in life too. That one day won't derail all of your hard work, heck even a week won't derail all of your hard work. You just make sure you get back to things the next day and you'll be good to go. Having a sustainable diet will also help you get back on track a bit easier.
This time of the year, it seems almost impossible not to gain weight. However, you have many options to keep fit during the holidays.
I would say even if you don't implement any strategies from this article, let the one thing you take away is to not feel guilt and get back to it the next day. No reason to beat yourself up over a day/week of being off track. You won't gain back hundreds of pounds. You won't be even that off track. Just make sure to get back to it and you'll be good to go.
Happy Holidays from the Blob!