3 Ways to Maximize Holiday Gains
The holidays are notorious for being a time of weight gain, lethargy, relaxation, a little extra drinking, and a little less working out. Most of these things won’t get you off track if you manage them well, or turn them around all together. Now, that’s not to say that we have to be working hard in the gym and on our diet 100% of our lives, because that will ultimately result in, well, no results. We’ll get burnt out, lose willpower, or feel too restricted and give up, even if its only temporary. We’re only human. The body does need time to recover and so the holidays are a perfect time to plan in some down time or help motivate your friends, family, and loved ones to join you in your pursuit of an epic body.
We thought of 3 great ways to make the holiday season a great addition to your fitness journey, and they aren’t disruptive to the festivities, which is nice because that is one of the hardest parts about the holidays — no one seems to understand that you have a plan! It can be very hard to let go of that plan and even harder to resume it once you get knocked off course. But don’t worry, it’s just a few days of fun, family, and chaos and then we’re all back on track with business as usual. Take a look at these tips and try one or more for yourself this holiday season.
HOLIDAY GAINS TIP #1: USE THE HOLIDAYS AS A DELOAD
If you’ve been training hard for months, the holiday season is a perfect time to implement a deload. Deloads are a planned time to recover from the fatigue that has been accumulating from intense training. It’s a nice reset period and time for your muscles to recover, your joints to rest, and your central nervous system to get a break. Typically a deload entails a 50% reduction in training volume, and coincidentally, gyms are typically closed or opened for limited hours around the holidays, not to mention many of us are travelling and may miss the gym anyway. Plan on consolidating your training into 3 days instead of your typical split. Keep the intensity high, but cut your volume. You know you’ll be eating lots of holiday food, so your muscles will get a chance to fill out and you’ll have great pumps. When you get back to your regular split, you’ll be feeling fuller, stronger, and mentally refreshed.
HOLIDAY GAINS TIP #2: PLAN YOUR MACROS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
If you happen to be watching your diet for the purposes of fat reduction, you can take the holiday week to employ an IIFYM ( If It Fits Your Macros) approach to your diet and also take a step back and look at your nutrition intake from a weekly perspective rather than daily. Although on every day you should at least hit your protein intake requirement, if you know you’re going to be eating a lot of foods rich in carbs and fats, take a few days prior to the holidays to drastically lower your carb and fat consumption and take note of how much you “missed” from those days. Then, you can add those macros and calories back into the days you know you’ll be having dinner ( and lots of leftovers) with the family. This way, you still hit your calories and macro goals for the week without getting off track overall.
HOLIDAY GAINS TIP #3: MAKE IT A FAMILY ACTIVITY
If you really don’t want to get off track, try making healthy eating and exercise into a family activity. Volunteer to make a few dishes that would usually be “bad” for you or have super high caloric content and make it into a lower calorie version. This way, you are helping out during the holidays and helping everyone get a little leg up on their own health! If you want to take it to the next level, invite everyone to the gym with you and if they’re not experienced at the gym, you can teach them a thing or two while you’re there. Maybe they’ll catch the big and start going all by themselves! Give the gift of gains!