3 tips to enjoy the holidays without derailing your fitness: expert – Insider

You don’t have to worry about seasonal celebrations derailing  your fitness, according to Mike Matthews, founder and CEO of the fitness and supplement company Legion Athletics and host of the fitness podcast Muscle for Life. 
Taking some time to enjoy festivities is a good thing, he said, and it’s unlikely to undo any hard-earned progress toward your goals. 
“You can just take a break. Many people don’t realize that if you stop your training for a week and eat more food, it’s hard to do a lot of damage,” Matthews told Insider.
What can derail your progress, though, is anxiously counting calories or hitting the gym during family time, he said. Both are red flags of excessive strictness, which isn’t sustainable and can lead you to lapse, feel guilty, and repeat the cycle. 
Instead, focus on long-term, sustainable results. Matthews recommends going into the holidays with a plan to enjoy some relaxation and indulgence, so you can look forward to more energy when you return to your fitness routine.  
If you know you have a tendency to worry or feel guilty about holiday indulgence, it can be helpful to think through it in advance, according to Matthews. 
Making a conscious decision to take some time off can make things easier, rather than stressing about fitting festivities around your workout and diet. 
“Holiday disruptions are going to happen. People worry a little too much about deviating from their routine and then feel guilty, which can lead to even more disruption,” he said. 
If it’s one particular event involving a big meal, you can also prepare the day of by planning to eat more nutritious food early in the day, so you’ll feel less anxious about enjoying “fun” foods at the celebration. 
Prioritize your protein ahead of time,” Matthews said. 
Matthews said it’s a common misconception that a holiday celebration can make or break your fitness goals. 
“The worst case scenario is irrelevant when we’re talking about one meal,” he said. 
Even if you go all out, research suggests that your body can adapt to an indulgent meal or day of eating.
Issues can occur, however, if you let a single event turn into weeks or months of foregoing your routine. To prevent long-term derailing, make sure your habits are rock-solid going into the season, and give yourself permission to take a break knowing you’ll return refreshed and recharged. 
“When you build up momentum by sticking to your habits, you might look forward to getting back to your routine. In the meantime, you can just enjoy yourself,” Matthews said.  
Another holiday pitfall is thinking you need to compensate for a feast or party by working out — but forcing exercise to fit around holiday celebrations can just leave you with FOMO, according to Matthews. 
“I don’t make it a priority — if it fits, it fits,” he said.
It’s a better bet to take full advantage of seasonal fun (after all, it’s only once a year). If you really love exercise, you can find ways to incorporate casual activity, like a brisk after dinner walk or some outdoor fun with family. 
 “If you can’t do your normal workouts, if you can just stay active, even just walking, that makes a difference,” Matthews said. “You don’t have to be perfect with any of this, you just have to be good enough most of the time”
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2 thoughts on “3 tips to enjoy the holidays without derailing your fitness: expert – Insider”

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