You’ve been through this before. Walking into a holiday feast when you’ve spent months sculpting your body feels like punishing yourself for doing something right. Just before you open the door to that family home, or set out the hors d’oeuvres, you think to yourself, “I’m going to be good tonight. I’m going to be strict and I’m only going to eat things that are good for me.” It almost never works out that way.
Unless you’re celebrating the holidays with a table of fitness fanatics or Hollywood actors preparing to take on action-movie roles, your chances of having a “healthy” holiday meal are slim to none. But what if you could eat all those delicious foods and desserts, while having your favorite drinks, without seriously impacting your workout regimen?
You can. But it isn’t easy.
You must complete two difficult tasks in order to prepare your body for a feast of holiday proportions if you plan on waking up the next day unscathed.
Step One: Fast
Fasting is something that people have done for thousands of years to stay healthy or to observe religious holidays. A short fast (no more than 24 hours) can prepare your body to take on a massive amount of calories by speeding up your metabolism and making your muscles hungry for energy and nutrients. It takes 72 hours for the body to kick-into full-on starvation mode so a short fast won’t endanger your health, it might actually extend your lifespan.
Skipping breakfast and lunch in preparation for the big meal (roughly 16 hours without food) can negate many of the effects of the large meal. Make sure to drink plenty of water during your fast or drink green tea for an added boost to your metabolism.
Step Two: Furious
In the hours before the big meal, it’s time to go big in the gym. Yoga in Cherry Hill, NJ, will have some effect on preparing you for the feast, but the purpose of your pre-meal workout should be to create a massive metabolic effect on your body. Heavy weights, short rests and circuit activities that are going to keep you going for at least five sets or more. If you can’t make it to the gym before the holiday meal, consider doing some Tabata or a bodyweight circuit like this:
- Pushups (30 seconds)
- Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
- Single-leg hip bridge (15 seconds per leg for a total of 30 seconds)
- Plank (30 seconds)
- Jump squats (30 seconds)
Complete this circuit at high intensity five to six times on a fast and your body should be primed to handle nearly any meal.
To learn more ways to prepare for your next holiday meal, talk to one of our nutritionists at our gyms in Cherry Hill, NJ, and across South Jersey.