Law firm holiday parties, family feasts and travel plans can kill your fitness resolve and give you the nutritional “screw its.” Don’t throw in the towel. Here are three simple and effective tips you can use over the coming weeks to make sure you have a good time without blowing all your hard work.
First: Time your workouts around your parties. Our bodies are more efficient at burning off carbohydrates (including alcohol) rather than storing them as body fat in the window after an intense workout. So if you know you are going to be eating naughty party treats or enjoying adult beverages at 8 p.m., try scheduling your workout to 6 p.m. to take advantage of that.
Second: Build up ‘calorie credits.’ If you know you want to let loose at a party or a big meal on Friday, build up calorie credits in the week leading up to it. I recommend my clients know what their daily caloric needs are (it’s easy to calculate) and to track their food in the free app MyFitnessPal. If they shave 200-300 calories Monday-Thursday, they then have an extra 800-1,000 to enjoy Friday without gaining weight for the week.
Third: Fill the tank before you go. Don’t go to a party hungry. Make sure you eat a balanced meal a few hours before (with adequate protein and healthy fats; these help you feel full) and that you are super hydrated. Often we confuse dehydration with hunger, and you’ll likely be eating salty food and drinking booze, so hydrating will reduce your hangovers.
These three simple and totally manageable tips have helped hundreds of my training and nutrition clients avoid the bloat and weight gain so many of us experience over the holiday season. #workhardplayhard.
Jonathan Jordan is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and corporate wellness consultant in San Francisco. Check out his blog JJ Fit 24/7.