Ahhh, the Christmas season. Or as my wife likes to call it: “Baking season!”
That’s right, the time from Thanksgiving day until New Year’s Day is spent mostly stuffing our faces with all the wonderful goodies that we bake, cook, and receive as gifts. A simple google search will yield you thousands of articles on Holiday weight gain.
As an endurance athlete, this is probably your off season (unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere in which case it’s summer right now). The added benefit of a lessened training load leaves us in even more of a positive calorie count. For many of us, we want to know how to avoid losing fitness and gaining weight over the holidays. I’m here to help, but my first piece of advice is… don’t worry about it!
1) Don’t worry about it
Too often we put too much focus on our health and weight. Trust me, I know we Americans can stand to focus more on our health as a whole, but endurance athletes don’t normally fall into the same boat as “normal Americans.” Most of the time we need to take a step back and breathe a little. Off season, and the Holidays are the time for this. Don’t stress about it. Enjoy your time celebrating with family. Don’t be “that guy” if you know what I mean.
2) Don’t drink calories
Here is the kicker: If you wan to cut out some calories, cut them in what you drink. It is so easy to swap out water for soda. That alone can save you several hundred calories over the course of the office Christmas Party. I’ve got a soft spot for egg nog though, so don’t be surprised if I’m drinking a glass with my Mom’s Sugar and Spice cookies! (Pictured above!!)
3) Stay active
Keep active during this time. Don’t take it completely off. I know it’s hard to work out when you travel, but all you need is some running clothing and you can do that anywhere. I’ve even heard of people running around the Air port when they had a long layover. Just stay active however you choose. Football, running, skiing, you name it, just get moving! And when you do… make it social!
4) Make it social
Triathletes spend way too much time alone (Indoor trainer anyone??) don’t take time away from family to go for a run. Bring them along with you! Or, at least ask them if they want to come along. This is not the time for structured intervals and mile repeats with your cousin who never runs at all. It’s not the time for 5K pace work with your mom who only runs marathons. Adjust to you surroundings and enjoy time with family. And hey, this is also a great chance to get some new people into your preferred sport!
I’ve also got a lot of great, FREE resources you can use yourself or share with your family like the Triathlete’s gift guide, or stocking stuffer list. Or the Beginner’s 5k or sprint triathlon training plan! These are great for that family member who you are trying to get into your sport!