If you’re like me, the holidays are always one of those times that you look forward to, especially the week of Thanksgiving. That fuzzy, warm feeling is back, and we take the time to see friends and family and gather around the table with some delicious food options. Many of us are looking forward to some Thanksgiving football as well.
This can be an easy time where those great habits you have formed in the gym and the kitchen over the past weeks and months can take a back seat in favor of the couch and TV or some homemade pumpkin pie.
While I absolutely want you to enjoy yourself and take advantage of some time off, here are some strategies that can help you maintain your health and fitness goals while allowing you to still relax guilt-free.
1. Get up early and get moving
Maybe some of you already wake up nice and early on Thanksgiving morning and begin prepping the turkey. That’s great! Prepping Thanksgiving food can be hard work. You’re constantly on your feet moving around the kitchen, measuring out ingredients, taking dishes out, washing them, putting them away, and constantly checking on your food to make sure it’s done properly.
If you haven’t experimented with cooking, now’s the time! Look up some recipes that are realistic for you to make, get up early, and get to work. As you’re cooking and you have some down-time in between recipes, set a goal for yourself to complete X number of air squats, pushups, burpees, or some other exercise by the time you’re done.
Of course, if you just don’t like being in the kitchen, you can always still get up early and go for a walk, a local turkey trot, or do an at-home WOD so you can get your body moving instead of starting the day stiff and lethargic.
Here’s a list of great at-home WODs you can do: https://laxcrossfit.com/what-is-cf/home-wods/
The possibilities are endless!
2. Make healthier food options
If you’re the cook of the house, then you have the power to control the quality of the food that is made. Check the ingredients in the foods that you buy and try to avoid the junk and just stick to real foods. I know this is extremely difficult to do during the holidays but there are plenty of healthier foods and recipes out there that are made from real foods and not refined, processed garbage that you can’t even pronounce.
Start with http://paleomg.com/ for some awesome recipes
Here is a picture of a dessert I made for Thursday. It’s nothing more than 4 ingredients (pure maple syrup, almond butter, coconut flour, and dark chocolate), is quick to make, and delicious. I used 60% dark chocolate this time because that’s all I had but normally I would opt for anything 85% and above.
You can find the recipe here: https://beamingbaker.com/no-bake-paleo-chocolate-almond-butter-bars-4-ingredient-vegan-gluten-free-paleo-dairy-free/
3. Eat earlier
If at all possible, try to have everything prepared and ready to eat earlier in the evening. We all know we’re most likely going to eat more than we normally would in one sitting due to the shear volume of food on the table.
Our blood sugar needs at least a few hours to normalize before getting to sleep. Stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to bed so you don’t go to sleep with a full stomach, which will greatly disrupt the quality of your sleep.
If you need to eat something later, try to keep the food choice higher in fat content, and lower in carbohydrate content so your blood sugar levels aren’t affected as much.
4. Do a workout the following morning
Lucky for you, The Foundry will be open from 9-11am on Friday morning for a post-Thanksgiving WOD so you can use up all that extra fuel you put into your body from the previous night. Enjoy your Thanksgiving knowing that you’ll wake up the following morning with the option to come into the gym and get a good CrossFit workout in with your friends.
If you’re traveling and that’s not an option, check out this list of travel WODs you can choose from: https://www.wodconnect.com/workout_lists/travel-wods
5. Chill out
Thanksgiving week can be fun and relaxing, but it has the potential to be stressful as well. Family tensions, being under pressure to cook the turkey just right, running around getting errands done, and fretting about not being able to control how much food you eat because there’s so much of it and it’s so delicious.
Listen…just cut yourself some slack. When all is said and done, this is the time for you to reconnect with family and friends and to decompress a little bit from the everyday stress we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Stress should not be compounded during this time. Just accept and give yourself permission to have some food you wouldn’t normally eat, put your feet up on the couch, and have a nice conversation with that family member you haven’t seen in a while.
Don’t forget that you can use the strategies above to give yourself a little peace of mind so you can legitimately enjoy your down-time.
Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for each and every one of you and for the opportunity to coach at such a great gym.