Every Thanksgiving I think the same thing, "Instead of shoving my face with as much turkey and pumpkin pie as possible, I'll just take it easy." A statement which is usually followed a few hours later by, "I am doing that 'Turkey Burner' spin class tomorrow, I guess I could have a fourth piece!"
And if that attitude prevailed over just that one day, no worries, but for most of us Thanksgiving is the kick off to a season of indulgence. If sticking to your fitness routine over the holiday season stresses you out, consider these tips to keep yourself on track (or even start your new year's resolution early!).
1. Get back into things with a Black Friday "Turkey Burner" class
If you belong to a gym, or other local fitness club, chances are they're sponsoring a "Turkey Burner" class the day after Thanksgiving. Traditionally these classes take the form of a cardio workout like spinning, body works, kick-boxing, or a combination of routines. Most of the time they'll be longer than a regular class to help you burn off extra Thanksgiving calories. I've even instructed 3 hours spin classes in the past!
If you're club's not offering something like this, get a group of friends togeather and set up your own workout. Hop on some spin bikes, head out to the track, or maybe even do an indoor triathlon!
2. Commit to staying healthy during the week and allow yourself loosen up a bit on weekends
If you're too focused on staying healthy 100% of the time, you'll miss out on life! It's fun to have a drink from time to time, eat grandma's pumpkin pie, and load your potatoes up with gravy.
Try to stay focused during the week so that you can reward yourself during the weekend holiday party. One of my favorite healthy eating plans is from Tim Ferris' "The 4 Hour Body," and encourages a cheat day once per week! Just make sure you're saving those cheats for the good, homemade stuff...don't waste it on nasty, over processed, package cookies and cakes.
3. Join an accountability challenge group or work with a coach to keep you on track
Call it peer pressure, ego appeal, or encouragement, but knowing you have a support network is key! I can't tell you the number of times I've bundled up and gone our for a run, or hit the gym, because I saw a friend post their workout on Facebook or MapMyRun.
We're running a free Marathon Training Group (focused on running form & distance), and a free Beachbody Challenge Group (focused on nutrition & at home workouts over the holidays). Sign up for one today and stay accountable!
4. Don't go to the party hungry and volunteer to bring a dish
It sounds pretty obvious, but you'll eat more if you're hungry. On top of that simple fact, if you're blood sugar levels are low, you're brain is going to have trouble making good choices at the appetizer table. Grab yourself a healthy snack, or shake before heading out to the party and you'll be much less likely to over indulge.
Another classic strategy here is to make a dish you know you want to eat. Don't even bother telling the other guests that your contribution is gluten free, paleo, or vegan. Most people don't realize how awesome healthy recipes can taste. Check out http://annavocino.com/ for some great options!
5. Bring a healthy drink
Sure, it's fun to have to have a drink or two (or more) every now and then, but alcohol can wreck your fitness and nutrition goals Not only are you wracking up a ton of empty calories, you're also going to be more likely to make poor food choices. If you've really over done it, you're probably going to miss that morning workout too.
So, what's a good alternative to the booze? I like Kombucha. It has a bit of a bite, and isn't something you're going to quickly chug down. If you're use to that feeling of holding something in your hand to sip, it's the perfect substitute. GT's is my favorite, but you always have the option of brewing your own!
6. Sleep naked (or almost naked)!
A few reasons for this one...not counting that it might lead to an extra workout ;).
First, there are all sorts of studies surrounding "cold thermogenesis," or the idea that exposing your body to cooler temperatures can help with fat loss. While the research shows this theory in action for things like ice baths, cold showers, ice pack vests, etc., there's also some indication that sleeping in a cooler room with exposed skin can produce a similar effect.
Second, it's a bit of a mental trick. People tend not to indulge on bad foods when they're planning on being naked. It sounds silly, but you'll find you're less tempted to wonder down the steps and grab a piece of cake at 2 a.m. if you have to look at your naked self in the mirror on the way back to bed!
Ken Presutti is a certified ChiRunning instructor, ACE Personal trainer, Spinning instructor, and coach. This blog is a mix of new articles and posts from his original blog, Overkill is Underrated.