5 Tips For Winning the Battle of the Holiday Bulge

It's official, the holidays are definitely upon us. Tis the season when our healthy side lets our gluttonous side take the wheel. We've been good all year. Now's the time to let our hair down and enjoy a few week's to shine, right? Our rationale is that we'll be good once the New Year dawns. The problem is that once the New Year gets here, we have typically put ourselves in such a deep hole, it requires more digging out than a Buffalo snowstorm. Now's the time to use a little strategery and make a plan. Following these simple tips will allow you to have both a festive and productive holiday season.

  • Increase Activity | Let's be honest with one another here. We're all going to indulge a bit more than normal during the next several weeks. One of the biggest problems we face during this time of year is that all too often we cut back rather drastically on our activity level. The best recipe to prepare for the increased indulgence is to increase our activity level. That can mean increasing our mileage or number of runs per week. It can also be as easy as focusing on taking the stairs, parking on the far end of the mall, or just walking faster.
  • Get Swoll | Ok, so maybe we don't need to end up looking like Hans and Franz, but strength training is a great tool in helping prevent the holiday bulge from rearing its ugly head. Strength training not only increases energy expenditure during a training session, but also during the post-exercise recovery period. At that point, energy expenditure is elevated for a period ranging from two to fifteen hours. The increased energy demands are obtained by burning more calories, and a good portion of the calories are coming from fat stores. Because of that turned up metabolism, working out before you party is a great pre-party plan. Take advantage of the Fitnatic deal on 10% off of FLEET FEET Training's group classes to develop strength specific to your running goals and therefore get the best of both worlds: burn more calories and be a faster/healthier athlete.
  • Everything in Moderation | The holidays are a time of extremes. For us to come out the other side fit and happy, we need to learn to balance our caloric intake throughout the day. The best way to know what your individual caloric intake should be is to take a Caloric Expenditure test (also part of our Fitnatic weekend deals). There is a holiday tradition of "saving up" for our big meal and then overeating. Those extremes throw our metabolism all out of whack. (like the scientific terminology there?) Some tips to help prevent going down that rabbit hole are to eat a balanced breakfast, don't miss a meal, eat slowly, eat protein first, make sure half the plate is full of colorful vegetables, and wait ten minutes before going back in for seconds. Also beware the liquid calories. Alcohol flows freely at this time of year, and is responsible for a lot of our extra calories. When you consider that a 4 ounce margarita weighs in around 270 calories, you don't even want to guess how hard the spiked eggnog will hit you. To help stay hydrated and alleviate overdoing it, pace yourself and rotate your higher calorie drinks with water. You'll be able to have your fun, without having huge setbacks.
  • Don't Just Think It...Ink It | We don't need to wait til New Years to set a goal and begin training towards it. Why wait til we're in a hole to set a goal. It's not like the new year is a magical stain eraser that removes all the residue from the past month. Now's the time to set a goal and make a plan so that you're prepared to chase it when the New Year comes around. Once you've got that goal, write it down. Writing it helps us prioritize it almost as if we've made a contract with ourselves. Enlist a friend or family member to join you. Having that support gives us a level of accountability to keep us focused and striving towards our goal. If you can't find a friend, or need more support, sign up for a FLEET FEET Training Program. We'll provide the coaching, support, and like minded participants to help you achieve your goals.
  • Stay Healthy |As we mentioned, the holidays are a time of extremes. There are times when we don't just fall off the exercise bandwagon, we take a swan dive off. To compound that mistake, we try to "catch up" all at once. This feast or famine approach is a recipe for injuries. Mother Nature also likes to put her 2 cents in with some slickery footing that can tie us up in a myofascial knot. Learning how to not only rehab, but to prehab injuries and weaknesses is a valuable resource to helping us not only survive the holidays, but thrive. FLEET FEET Training is here to help you become a fitter, healthier, more educated athlete with its Feel Better, Move More, This Is How We Roll, and Run Away From Pain workshops.

This year, don't throw away all the gains you've made over the past several months. By following these few tips, you can not only enjoy the holidays, but also head into 2015 primed and ready to tackle a whole new set of goals. Let FLEET FEET be your guide for a fun and festive holiday season.

Tim Cary is FLEET FEET's Assistant Training Manager, coach of the FLEET FEET-sponsored Runnababez Elite team, and manager of the FLEET FEET Racing Team.  Over his 20 years of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors.  Click here to receive Tim's weekly article via email.

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