11 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Fitness
By Rod Dixon and Matt Mahowald
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or an everyday Joe, the season from Thanksgiving through the New Year can wreak havoc on the waistline—and more. Rod Dixon, the LA Marathon Director of Training, and Matt Mahowald, the LA Marathon’s Nutrition and Supplement Consultant, offer their tips for enjoying the holidays—and holiday menus—without sabotaging your diet, exercise or training routine.
1. Never show up hungry to a holiday party or meal. Make sure you have a big breakfast and enjoy at least two good meals or snacks before the feast. This will minimize the amount of overeating. For instance, 12 almonds and an apple will help to decrease your appetite so that when you get to that meal you don’t overeat.
2. The most important drink during the holiday season is water. Water helps your body synthesize carbs. It helps with the highs and lows of blood sugar that come with desserts and sweets that aren’t normally in our diet.
3. If you are going to attend a holiday party and plan on drinking alcohol, consume a full eight to 10 oz. of water in addition to a beverage of your choice. This will minimize the amount of alcohol you drink.
4. When eating appetizers or enjoying a potluck-style meal, the best choices are vegetables, lean proteins and fruits. If you’re designated to bring a dish to a gathering, bring something healthy. You never know what’s going to be there for you, and it’s important to have good options.
5. Fill your plate modestly, and wait 30 minutes after you finish before going back for seconds. This allows your blood sugar and insulin levels to adjust. You may find that you aren’t really hungry for that second plate.
6. Look at dessert as a treat. Serve yourself a small portion, and stop there.
7. A good cardiovascular workout for two to three days after your holiday will help deplete the excess storage of carbs and fat that you picked up during the holiday.
8. If it’s possible, throw in an extra two days of 30 minute cardiovascular activity. Remember that walking is just as good as a slow jog and easier on your body.
9. Consistency is key to your exercise program. Don’t let the holidays derail you by missing too many days of your routine. Don’t try to make up what you’ve missed by overtraining—just get back on your plan.
10. Remember that it is a holiday, so let yourself enjoy it. The following day wake up and get right back on your food plan and exercise.
11. And of course, if you need a way to help keep yourself on track during the holidays, now is the time to register for the LA Marathon! Visit www.lamarathon.com for more information.
About the Los Angeles Marathon
We inspire athletes and connect communities. With thousands of volunteers, tens of thousands of participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators along the route, the Los Angeles Marathon is one of the largest organized road races in the country. For more information, visit www.lamarathon.com.