Wishing you a happy and HEALTHY holiday season!
It’s December and the holidays are upon us! While this is a jolly time of year, it can also be stressful and hard to maintain the healthier choices that we have been working hard on all year long. With busier schedules and less day light, it can be easy to miss workouts and grab unhealthy on-the-go snacks which can get out of hand quickly if gone unchecked. A couple of days in this routine is no big deal, but if a couple of weeks turns into a whole month it can lead to feeling extra stressed, extra tired, and not-so-jolly overall. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a routine as close to normal as possible – your body and mood will thank you later! If this sounds overwhelming, don’t fret – we have you covered! Below are some helpful hints on how to balance it all this holiday season.
First and foremost, as runners we thrive on physical activity as a form of stress relief. Sometimes we rely on running more than we even realize, so it is important to stay focused now more than ever. These cold, wintry miles will lead to a successful, blooming spring and are so worth it in the end! If you find that it is difficult to log miles this time of year, below are a few simple switches that will help you get back to doing what you love and relieving stress at the same time:
• Schedule your workouts. Physically write them down in your planner or on your family’s calendar. Just like a doctor’s appointment, work, homework, etc., make running one of your non-negotiable activities. Plan out this time for the entire month of December, that way when things come up you can plan around your workout, just like you would any other appointment.
• Feeling stressed? Pick up and run! Even if it is unplanned, just getting moving and/or getting outdoors can help. Even if it is a quick 10-minute jog around the block, getting active will reset your mind and your mood and it will help you get back to your productivity faster.
• Make it a family activity! If you’re short on time, do a little multi-tasking that is fun and great for the whole family. Encourage your family to get active with you, whether they’re biking, rollerblading, or jogging alongside you. Make it fun and dress in your best-holiday attire or your ugliest sweater! Not only will you get to spend some quality family time, but you’ll also be setting a positive example while logging miles, all at the same time.
Secondly, as runners we understand the importance of fueling our body. Sure, sometimes we take “carbing up” to a whole new level, but in general, we do our best to fuel so that we can run our best. However, around the holidays this takes a back seat for many of us. If you find yourself treating every day like that pre-marathon carb session, don’t panic! The first step is to acknowledge that it’s happening and then move forward from there. Remember, the better you fuel, the better you feel not only while running, but also while doing all the holiday shopping, wrapping, prepping, and celebrating! Here are some holiday-proof tips to keep you on your A-Game this season:
• Pack your own snacks! If you have a day filled with errands, shopping trips, holiday events, etc., pack your own snacks to take on the road. Bring a small cooler and pack it with things like carrots/celery and a travel sized hummus or peanut butter, skinny pop, protein bars, fruit, and water bottles. Having snacks on hand will prevent an unplanned trip to the drive-thru and you’ll be properly fueled and full of energy to take on that day’s tasks.
• Track your food using MyFitnessPal or other similar food tracking apps. This doesn’t mean your food has to be perfect, but it helps you stay on track and will allow you to see if you are under or over fueling so that you can adjust accordingly. This is important because when life gets busy it can be easy to skip meals. Tracking your food will help you identify if this is happening and will remind you to eat more often not only for your metabolism’s sake, but also to keep you energized pre or post run!
• Prioritize Protein. It’s not always feasible to pack your own snacks or eat perfectly healthy this time of year, and that’s okay. Whether you’re at a holiday gathering or have to run through a drive-thru to make it through a busy day, if you focus on eating foods that are high in protein, you will feel fuller and more satisfied which can prevent overeating. Being aware of this and making the decision to grab high protein items is key, because without intuitively eating at holiday gatherings it can be very easy to overindulge on carbs/fats and under-eat protein. This is important not only to stay fuller longer, but eating enough protein throughout the day will also help with muscle recovery from your workouts and it will help you keep that muscle definition you worked hard for leading up to the holidays!
Overall, know that if your workout schedule or eating habits are not perfect around the holidays it’s okay and you’re not alone. But if you start feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or a little “off”, simply being aware and making these small changes to your routine will get you back on track to feeling more energized, less stressed, and able to enjoy all season long.
Happy Holidays from our AMPT Family to Yours!
Written by: Ashley Morrison
Ashley has over 17 years of running and racing experience and is both NASM CPT and RRCA Certified. For more running tips and tricks, find Ashley at Run With Ashley on Instagram or on her website and blog.
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