How do holiday feasts fit in with training schedules and the proper nutrition? It is certainly a challenge to eat all of the right foods and keep my body pumping on all cylinders. In order to make sure that I don't regress physically over the holidays, I go in with a plan.
Map Your Course
I often travel on the holidays so before I leave town I make sure I know where I will work out. The weather usually does not allow for me to do much outside so I know I have to find a gym.
The major chain gyms are much less likely to allow someone to use their facilities for a few days, as they typically try to get people signed up for long term contracts. A small local gym, however, may offer some sort of short term deal.
When I go home, I talk to the owner of my mom's gym and he works out a deal for me. He is glad to have the extra business and I'm happy to have a gym to use when I go home. Once I have a place to work out, there is no excuse because I have a lot of free time when I'm at home.
Stay on Track
After I arrange a gym to train in I make some simple requests from my mom before I get home. I ask her not to buy any candy or keep any of it in the house.
If it's sitting out, I will probably eat it so I try to make sure it isn't there at all. I also give my mom an idea of some of the foods I eat when I'm at home and she is happy to pick a few of them up at the grocery store for my stay.
It's a lot easier to find healthy food to eat when the familiar healthy foods I eat at home are already in the fridge.
Moderation is the Key
These simple requests make it much easier for me to make healthy choices in the days before and after the holidays, but what about the actual holidays?
It can be tough to eat healthy on Thanksgiving, for example. I choose to partake in the holiday feast, I simply do it in moderation.
Here are a couple of things I do in order to keep myself in a state of moderation. I typically get up early on the holidays to get a great workout in in the morning.
I do a cardio workout and I try to burn as many calories as I can. When it comes to food, I eat most of the food on the table but I avoid stuffing myself into a food coma. The leftovers aren't going anywhere so there is no need to try to fit everything in my stomach all at once.
Many of the foods on the table are good nutritious foods (turkey, vegetables) but not when they are doused in gravy. I will have a little gravy on my potatoes but I won't pour all over everything on my plate?moderation.
I wait a couple of hours before I have any dessert and I try to keep it to one piece. I love my dessert but I don't need three pieces of pie and two scoops of ice cream.
I love the holidays and I certainly allow myself to enjoy some of the food but I try to do it in a way that keeps me moving toward my goals.
Stacey-May Johnson is a three-time all-Big Ten Conference honoree as well as a two-time National Pro Fastpitch MVP (2008,2010). She is currently an assistant coach at the University of Iowa and a member of USA Softball.