Next week is Thanksgiving! First, where has this year gone? Second, we know that this time of year can be trickier than others to navigate from a nutritional perspective. Today, we’re going to discuss a few quick tricks that can help make the holidays a little easier on the waistline (and keep your performance in the gym rocking!).
The first lesson is this: You do you. No one likes to be the one turning down all the treats and second helpings at holiday meals, but damn, if you aren’t trying to do something for yourself. It’s amazing to me that people get shame for eating healthy or trying to watch the food that goes into their system. As people who are already (relatively) health conscious, own your stuff! You are not five years old, being required to clean your plate. Make the choices that you know will make you feel good!
This leads into the second lesson: don’t stress. So what if you have a piece of pie? So what if you get seconds on mashed potatoes? So what if you overeat Christmas cookies? You will not explode. You won’t suddenly gain ten pounds. You might not feel energetic and amazing afterwards - that’s sugar triggering your insulin response, in case you were wondering - but you’ll be okay. Eating a little “off-plan” for a day or two is not indicative of your bigger picture. Instead, try zooming out and looking at your eating habits over an entire week or entire month. The tried-and-true 80/20 rule is a pretty good one to follow here: if 80% of a week (5.5 days) you’re eating whole, natural foods including lots of veggies, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats, the 1.5 days that you relax the rules a bit and have some egg nog and cookies or overdo it on tater tot hot dish isn’t going to do you in. Just have a plan to get back on track within the next few days.
Side Note: If you really look forward to something around the holidays, do not deprive yourself and when you do indulge, ENJOY IT! Do not feel guilty. The stress of guilt or shame around food is often times more detrimental than the food itself.
Third lesson: balance. There’s two ways of looking at this lesson. The first is on your plate, at each meal, day after day. If we can balance our macronutrient contributors (carbs, protein and fat) at each meal, we blunt the hormonal response to food. This means instead of the sharp spike of insulin we see after a carb-laden meal, protein and fat help temper that spike into a slow-rising peak. There are two major outcomes of this: 1) slower rise means we feel fuller longer because digestion takes longer; 2) lower overall peak means less energy swings (more stability). We also can work in indulgent food more easily by following a balanced approach. Let’s say you love pecan pie and your grandma makes the best. That pie is mostly carbs and fat. So, you make adjustments at dinner: solid portions of turkey and some kind of fresh veggies (preferably not sauced up in cream of mushroom soup - I see you, green bean casserole); you limit the mashed potatoes to a small scoopful (or pass on them all together because they’re not really your jam) and you pass on the candied yams. Along with the pie you plan to eat after dinner, you’ve now set yourself up for success in moderating the effects that pie might have on you hormonally if eaten alone. You also haven’t overdone it on the carbs. You’re going to feel a lot better afterwards, purely from a physiological perspective.
The other way balance factors in requires a look at how we might approach our training around the holidays. Generally, with family obligations, we find ourselves with less time to spend at the gym. No worries! If you can’t make it here, try to find other ways to be active: rake leaves, play some flag football or go snowshoeing. By adding in even moderate physical activity when you can around the holidays, you temper the effects that potential (and likely) over-indulgence would have on your body otherwise.
I hope that these help as we approach the holidays! If anything, try shifting your perspective and think of all the food you ate as fuel for your next workout :)
Strength - Front squat - 20 minutes to work on sets of 5 @ RPE 7
The focus of today is position under load. Athletes will work for 20 minutes building and completing 3 to 4 working sets of 5 at RPE 7. Athletes should focus on technique as we will be build over the next two months.
Metcon - 2 Rounds For Time:
200 ft. Shuttle sprint
24 Russian KB swings @ moderate **
9 Box jump overs @ moderate to high
7 minute cap
KB SWINGS: Athletes should choose a weight that will allow them to complete the total number of reps in 1 to 2 sets. Athletes are encourage to take a quick break if their grip begins to fail on the swing.
BOX JUMPS: Athletes should choose a height they are very confident in. If they want, they may go a little higher, but no missed reps!