It’s that time of year again… The holiday season is upon us and it’s time for everyone to start getting nervous about gaining weight and losing all their gainz from 2016. Sound familiar? Well, then indulge me (but not too much, fatty) and continue reading the rest of this article to hopefully ease your struggles.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and happiness, however far too often it is perceived as stressful and a hinderance. That extra stress can wreak havoc on your body, especially if you aren’t able to take care of it like you do for the other 46 weeks of the year.
I know it’s easier said than done, but try your best to not worry this holiday season. The best advice I’ve ever received came from listening to The Jocko Podcast (with former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink). He said something along the lines of, “if you truly want to reduce your stress and anxiety then you just need to stop caring.” There are certain things in life that we simply cannot control, and allowing those to create exorbitant amounts of stress and anxiety are pointless. The sooner you can let go of things and accept that you cannot control them, the sooner you will be able to achieve more happiness.
Now why the hell does that even matter? I’m not trying to take over for Dr. Phil, but I want you to know that stress and anxiety can be deleterious to your 2016 gainz and oh yeah, your overall health too. Stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine can crush you physically and mentally if they are chronically elevated.
So how do you avoid high stress around the holidays? First, I understand that some scenarios are unavoidable and some families may have higher stressors than most. Also, money (or lack thereof) always seems to come into play around this time of year. But here’s a tip. No matter what, you can always provide happiness and love, which last time I checked are 100% free. If you can’t buy your wife or kids the $800 gift they wanted, get them the $100 gift and pack it with your love and you won’t have to worry. They will understand and appreciate the time you put in.
As an aside, you might want to try supplementing with tanning and vitamin D. I’m not kidding. If you’re like me and live in the tundra that is New England you can expect to see ice and snow From December to the end of March. That’s a long time to keep your shorts and swim trunks packed away. Many people in my region suffer from seasonal depression, and in my younger years, I was one of those people. I combat it now by going tanning 1-2x per week from December - March and taking Vitamin D supplements. For me, I feel amazing when doing this. Give it a try, and stop worrying about the stigma behind tanning. You lay on the beach for 3 months in the summer, you can afford to lay in a bed once a week for 3 months in the winter.
Most people travel frequently over the holiday season, and as a result they might feel like they haven’t been to the gym in a long time. Don’t let this compound your stress. As long as you don’t take a full 6 weeks off from the gym you won’t lose too much of your 2016 gainz.
If you find yourself traveling a lot, then call ahead to a local crossfit gym and see if you can drop in for a few days. Most gyms have a free first day trial anyway, and almost all box owners are kind people that will be willing to help you out while you’re away from home. Don’t crossfit? No problem. Find a regular gym nearby and see if you can pay a weekly or a drop-in rate. Most people will accept your money, trust me. Staying at a hotel? Then go down to the gym and ride the bike for 30-45 minutes. Do your old high school workout with bicep curls, bench press, and shrugs if you want. Just do something. As long as you get your sweat on while you’re away you’ll feel much better.
With things like Uber, Lyft, and Fasten, you have almost no reason why you can’t get your ass to a gym or at least something that looks like a gym while you’re away. Don’t forget there are also these old school things called taxis that have been around since before the guy who invented Uber was even born. You call them, and they show up to drive you places. Sweet deal!
So I won’t bore you too much when it comes to nutrition because I already wrote an article on it last year around this time. You can see it by clicking here. I still feel the same way I did then about the topic. If you’re too lazy to click that link, then just know that to survive holiday eating, you need to formulate a plan and stick to it. Just like most other things in life. Make sure your plan is realistic and you are tracking your progress and adjusting when necessary. Don’t limit yourself to water and triscuits while everyone is enjoying dinner and laughing. But also don’t go drinking an entire gallon of eggnog and two apple pies.
Got any tips of your own that you’d like to share with other people? Feel free to start the discussion in the comment section below! Merry Chr.. err, Happy Holidays! ;-)