Working Out and Eating Right During the Holidays

Who doesn’t love the Holiday Season? Apart from reconnecting with family and friends, my favorite part of the holidays is all of the wonderful and calorie dense foods that we get to eat. The inner kid in me lights up with the thought of pecan pie, stuffing, and especially cream and butter filled mashed potatoes, but as a self-proclaimed gym rat, I’m concerned about maintaining my physique. How do I minimize the damage while still allowing myself to enjoy the foods I rarely get to eat? Here are a few of my favorite tips.

  1. Decrease Your Carbs As You Approach Your Holiday Meal – Typically, when you are looking to maintain body weight, as part of a normal diet, you should be ingesting about 1-1.5g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. In the 3 days before the holiday meal, I eliminate nearly all of my carbs, other than the trace amounts in leafy green vegetables. What happens is that your body utilizes your stored energy (glycogen) and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around your body is “running on empty” and in desperate need of a “refeed”. Those carbs that would have otherwise been converted to fat, and are now being put towards replenishing your glycogen stores.
  2. Workout the Day Of Your Feast – I typically like to do a high intensity, full body weight workout with little to no rest- frequently incorporating training techniques such as supersets, giant sets, and drop sets. Recovery is a very energy consuming process. It takes energy to repair those muscle fibers, the more muscle fibers you can engage, the more your food will be utilized for recovery and not stored as fat.
  3. Take Supplements – Around the holidays, I love to take green tea extract and caffeine pills. These are both great fat burning supplements, and help with appetite suppression. I also take a probiotic before and after my meal to help with absorption of the nutrients, and ease the digestive process after.
  4. Drink LOTS of Water – Did you know that most of the time when we snack we aren’t actually hungry, but rather, we are thirsty? While it is recommended to drink a gallon of water per day, on the day of a holiday celebration, I try to drink a gallon of water before I have eaten.

Having a plan in place and sticking to it between now and the end of the year will make for a much happier you as we turn the calendar to 2018. What are some of your tricks that you use?