Holiday Survival Guide? I don’t think so.
This is NOT going to be your typical “how to avoid your favorite holiday goodies” article or anything like that.
Instead, the goal of this article is to help you continue on your sustainable, practical, enjoyable lifestyle habits of eating and training like a Beautiful Badass.
But let’s be honest — this is the time of year when we’ll have a surplus of food and tasty homemade goodies at our disposal. Not to mention, we’ll have parties to attend, gifts to purchase, and families to visit. That means time will be a precious commodity, and not an abundant luxury for many people.
So the question remains: how can you juggle the delicate balance of enjoying the holiday season, indulge in your favorite foods, still maintain your workout routine, and not reverse the habits you’ve built or the results you’ve maintained over the past several months?
Better yet, how can you Thrive instead of survive the fast approaching holiday season? Well — it’s probably easier than you think.
Let’s dive right in.
3 Holiday Thrival Tips
1) Don’t stress.
For some reason many people instantly panic when they think about the holidays.
There will be parties, lots of food, less time to work out, and a host of other things that will require your time and energy. You wonder how in the world you’ll maintain a workout schedule and avoid overeating the surplus of goodies.
And then you panic.
The key is to relax and don’t have unrealistic expectations. The second you panic and think about all the food you could eat and the workouts you’ll be tempted to miss is when you take a proverbial nose-dive.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be “perfect” and to avoid temptation for next two months.
Heck, I’m willing to bet the stress you cause yourself from flipping out over such things is far worse than taking a relaxed approach.
If you find yourself obsessing over food or you get off track with your normal workout regimen, take a deep breath, and relax.
Let’s put things in perspective and find a way to simplify everything during this busy time so you can keep training and eating well without having to revolve your life around a rigid schedule you know isn’t practical this time of year.
After all, working out and eating well should enhance your life, and not dominate it. The busy holiday season is no exception.
And because food will be practical everywhere we turn over the next couple of months, I find the next tip incredibly helpful…
2) Eat the foods you enjoy, and not the ones you don’t.
I would file this tip under the “common sense” category, but many of us eat foods during the holiday season just because they’re around or offered to us, even if we don’t particularly like them.
I used to this as well, but no more.
This holiday season, whether you’re sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner or attending a party, eat the foods you truly like and enjoy, and don’t eat the ones you don’t like.
Come on. Admit it. You know you’ve eaten some store bought, stale cookies at a holiday party because they were sitting out, and they didn’t even taste good. Whatever you eat, make sure it’s something you actually like. And when you eat these foods, savor and enjoy them guilt-free.
3) Modify your workout schedule, if necessary.
I prefer to go about business as usual when it comes to my workouts, but some people are truly strapped for time.
Don’t skip your workouts all together this holiday season. Instead, modify them if necessary.
You can do this a few ways:
- Perform fewer total workouts. Maybe you’re accustomed to working out four times per week. During the busy season, cut your workouts back to three per week, or even two strength sessions.
- Decrease the duration of your workouts. If your workouts typically take 60 minutes to complete, try cutting back the volume of each exercise so you can complete the workout in half the time. No, this will not negatively affect your results. Quality trumps quantity. As long as you’re working hard on the few sets you do, you’ll get results.
- Go minimalist. Maybe you just need a new program for the busy holiday season. In that case, I suggest doing a minimalist routine. You can check out a sample minimalist workout program here.
You don’t have to perform 3-4 workouts each week that last 60 minutes or more. Just make the most of the time you do have and focus on improving your performance and working hard during those times.
Heck, even if you only have 20 minutes you can still work hard and accomplish a ton during that time. In fact, some people may actually have more productive workouts if they focus on working hard during that 20 minute period and keep rest periods to a minimum.
Vow not to say “I don’t have the time”. Make the most of the time you DO have — work hard, improve your performance, and then get back to your life.
And if you’re truly strapped for time, this is when bodyweight workouts are absolutely perfect; you can do them anytime and anywhere. They’re the ultimate “no excuses” solution.
Holiday Thrival Guide Summary
Now let’s recap everything into an easy-to-remember checklist so you can thrive this holiday season.
- Get back to the basics of strength training and nutrition. There’s beauty in the basics. They’re simple, and far less stressful.
- Train hard when possible, even if it’s just 2-3 times per week. Just make sure you work hard and focus on quality instead of quantity.
- Eat well. Make sure most of your meals consist of real, whole, natural, and delicious foods.
- Enjoy the special meals and occasions. When Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner roll around, enjoy those moments. Eat your favorite foods, savor and eat them slowly, and enjoy them guilt free. When you allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods without any guilt, you’ll be less likely to binge eat.
And then once the holiday season is over…
What to Do AFTER the Holidays
Undoubtedly many people will be tempted to go on a crazy diet after the holidays to work off any weight they may have put on. As long as you follow the Holiday Thrival Tips above, you shouldn’t add any fat this holiday season.
But, many people will be tempted to go on a diet regardless.
Once the holidays are behind us, here’s what you should do…
Just get back to normal!
Do NOT search for some rapid fat loss method or quick fix to burn off the goodies you ate during the holidays.
I’ll provide more guidelines as we near the New Year, but until then, don’t make any plans to do a crazy diet or workout routine. Get back to the basics, as discussed above, and be consistent and don’t strive for perfection.
Remember — you should enjoy this journey. Keep it simple, have a ton of fun in the process, become the strongest and most awesome version of yourself, achieve the results you’re after, and maintain them long-term. Simplicity — with working out AND nutrition — makes this possible.
Additional Reading: Let Go: How to Get Rid of Stress & Anxiety Caused by Health and Fitness