All too often, we give ourselves a free pass during the holidays to just go nuts with food and drink, while our healthful habits fall by the wayside. The trouble is that if we succumb to the temptations of Thanksgiving and Christmas excess and push off fitness goals until the often short-lived New Year’s resolutions, we can undo 11 months of progress and risk regressing back to wherever we were at the end of 2014.
But don’t despair! With a little willpower and the tips below, you can come through holiday buffets, parties and the rest feeling fitter, stronger and leaner than you were when the festivities began. Happy holidays from the UB Real team, and let’s get rolling…
1) Catch some ZZZs
Late night drinking sessions. Holiday football and movie marathons. Driving halfway across the country. There are a lot of activities that conspire to keep us up late. But while many of them are fun and it’s nice to spend more time with family and friends whom we may not see very often, skipping shut eye can wreak havoc on your health. People who regularly get less than seven hours of sleep are three times more likely to catch a cold. Sleep loss also negatively impacts exercise performance and recovery, promotes weight gain by increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and can even mess with your body’s ability to process sugar – effectively putting you in a pre-diabetic state. So the takeaway is clear: do everything you can to be well rested this holiday season.
2) Make time to workout
Between a crammed calendar, kids being home for school breaks and those crazy end-of-year deadlines (whether for work, college or both), it’s all too easy for exercise to drop off the priority list entirely. “What’s the big deal?” we hear you ask? Well, it could be your expanding waistline as a result of the increased calories and decreased metabolic activity. But while you might only gain a couple of pounds from the 229 grams of fat the average American consumes at Thanksgiving and continued over-eating through the New Year, it’s your fitness goals that can really take a big hit if you stop working out. One study showed that people who stopped exercising for two months lost 23 percent strength. To avoid such a drop off, plan on three or four workouts per week. You can cram in a Tabata interval session (20 seconds fast, 10 seconds slow, for four minutes), do a three or four exercise weights circuit with only short breaks or just run, walk or row for 20 minutes. That way you’ll preserve your 2014 progress and maintain a healthy bodyweight.
3) Hone in on healthy foods
We’re not going to tell you to completely avoid stuffing and mom’s apple pie this holiday season, because goodness knows we like them, too! But as you know that too much of such things isn’t good for you, just enjoy a little of each. Instead load up on guilt-free, healthy foods such as antioxidant-rich cranberries, protein-packed turkey breast and orange-colored wonders pumpkins and sweet potatoes, which are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin A. Other top seasonal choices include parsnips, which have more fiber and a richer taste than carrots and those Brussels sprouts you hated as a kid but should revisit now because of their cancer-fighting powers.If you’re on the go and don’t have time to prepare a nutritious meal, keep a few packets of UB Super protein superfood nutritional shake in your backpack, along with a shaker bottle. Just pour some milk or milk alternative (we’re high on hemp for its inflammation-fighting Omega 3 content) into the bottle, add the UB Super Powder and shake. In seconds, you’ve got whole food nutrition – including organic vitamins, fulvic minerals and 16 grams of complete protein – with fast food speed. Just what you need to keep you going all day during the chaos of the holidays!
Be sure to check back soon for part two, in which we’ll explore 5 ways to make meaningful and achievable New Year’s resolutions.