Whelp, I think we can all agree we probably ate a little too much this past Thursday. Bad news- there's going to be a lot more of that over the next few weeks. WE ARE IN FULL HOLIDAY FEAST MODE. Good news is there is hope!
So, before going off the deep end and completely destroying your performance diet, lets take a second to set you up for success.
One saying holds true for athletes and gen pop clients alike-
You should more or less know what holiday parties you have coming up (company, team, family, charity, etc). You know there is going to be a ton of sugary, inflammatory food and alcohol there that's going to keep you in bed and out of the weight room. You know you are going to have some unavoidable late nights out, socializing and generally being merry.
The thing about all of that is- THAT'S GREAT! That's what the holidays are for. Unwinding a little, spending time with loved ones, being grateful for everything we have.
I would never tell an athlete to not see and spend time at a family party or with their teammates. However, there is some benefit to having some plans laid out ahead of time to make sure we can stick to the training/life goals we have set in place. (In other words, moderation!)
Here are some suggestions I have for my athletes and clients alike in the upcoming weeks...
1. Write out and mark down all your holiday events through the new year
- No surprises, you can actually plan accordingly (just like your own training around big competitions).
2. Adjust workouts accordingly around those events. For example...
-Will you be near your training gym or are you home visiting family? Do you have a facility you can train at with the same equipment as you are used to or is an adjustment required for that as well?
-If an event starts late- maybe don't plan you high intensity workout for the next day? Some aerobic/mobility/recovery work might be in order?
-If there is going to be a lot of food at an event- hit a heavy/intense training session a few hours before. Now you have a plethora of nutrients to help build your frame.
3. Eat before events or parties
-In the controlled environment of your own home- eat according to your performance diet (nutrient dense, lots of variety, fiber, vegetables, etc). That way when you do eat at the party, you have much less room to indulge.
4. Recognize your stress levels will probably jump up a little
-For all my emotional eaters out there (guilty), this means do the extra to take care of yourselves. Sleep a little more, meditate a few extra minutes, and most importantly, TRY TO NOT TO HAVE THE NOT SO GREAT STUFF lying around. You know, the stuff you reach for after you've had a really long day and just need to unwind (oreos, beer, fried chicken, whatever).
5. Make friends, spread some holiday joy, be merry- ENJOY THE PARTIES!