With the holidays each year often comes a lot of excitement. Seeing family and friends you normally don’t get to see. Living out yearly traditions that only happen during this time of year. Staying up enjoying all of the holiday parties and festivities.
But this time of year can also bring up the familiar dread of falling into what feels like a proverbial black hole for the last two weeks of the year. We come out on “the other side” feeling worn down and not like ourselves at all. Maybe we even felt a constant struggle between “indulging” in the fun and “staying on track” with the strict plans we had for ourselves.
What if I told you there was a better way? That you can find freedom around both food and exercise during the holidays. In today’s post, we will dive into how you can make this holiday season more joy-filled by releasing the common ideas that we’ve held for so long. We will also discuss how you can use the next year to better set yourself up for the following holiday season.
If you are struggling to balance holiday activities and consistency with your workout routine, you may consider shifting to the 3X per week track. This track can allow you to continue with 3 days of strength training when the days of the week you have available to exercise decrease.
The 3X per week track features 3, full body classes that range between 50 minutes to 1 hour. Within this track, we work most major muscle groups twice throughout the week. This allows for more sets for an individual muscle group without spending every day in the gym.
This track highlights our Build and Build & Burn classes to prioritize strength training during this time of year. As always, each class will end with a tailored cool down and breathwork to leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated as you step off of your mat and back to your holiday activities.
Don’t have an hour of time to set aside for class? Rely on our mini classes to help you maintain your gentle consistency this time of year. These classes are all 20 minutes or less and can be filtered by style of class within the Evlo Minis section.
In addition to exploring the entirety of the mini section, we curate a “week of minis” each week that can be found in the drop down for the current week of classes. This takes all of the guesswork out of your programming for the week and provides a well-rounded schedule to work each major muscle group at least once. All in less than 20 minutes a day.
The mini section also features recovery-specific classes that can assist with decreasing your stress levels over the holidays. Allow yourself to listen to what your body needs on a day-to-day basis during this time period.
We highly encourage Reset Weeks every 8-12 weeks. Reset Weeks include 4-7 consecutive days of off resistance training to allow your body to fully recover from consistent exercise.
If you know that consistency with exercise will be difficult during this holiday season, intentionally plan your Reset Week to fall across your busiest days. Allow this planned time away from resistance training to take the stress of “needing to work out” off of your plate.
You can fully enjoy yourself knowing that this time was set aside for your body to rest and come back stronger the following week.
Oftentimes, especially as women, we are actually undereating in our day-to-day lives. We especially tend to under consume the necessary amount of protein needed to support muscle growth. True muscle growth does not come easily and has to be worked towards daily.
The increase in quantity that you may eat during the holidays may actually help you to start eating enough to really fuel both your workouts and your muscle growth. Have you ever noticed that you’ve been able to lift a little heavier in your workouts after a weekend of eating more than your usual day-to-day routine? The same could apply to your workouts around the holidays.
Once we begin to view the food we consume as true fuel, we can decrease some of the stress around “eating too much” over the holidays. And guess what? When we decrease this stress and truly enjoy the food we are eating with family and friends, we might even see a decrease in cortisol levels. This can then allow us to see even better results and to recover from our workouts.
While indulging in all of the goodness that the holidays have to offer, it could be helpful to prioritize protein. Protein is a very satisfying and satiating macronutrient that keeps us fuller for longer periods of time. Prioritizing protein can allow you to make decisions based on your hunger cues as opposed to going based off of what you see in front of you.
As mentioned above, protein plays a significant role in muscle building during recovery. Continuing to reach for high protein sources during the holidays allows us to support muscle growth/healing while still being able to include foods you enjoy.
While following the guidance above can be very beneficial for this current holiday season, we also have the potential to set ourselves up for even more freedom next year. This begins with shifting our focus to a muscle-forward approach to fitness and nutrition.
In her latest podcast, Dr. Shannon describes her own years-long experience with this approach. She explains how making significant shifts in her nutrition and tweaking some elements of our programming/education had an effect on her ability to gain muscle this year. And why muscle building should be the primary focus.
She also explains how she continued to prioritize rest days and 3 full Reset Weeks over the course of last year. All while making significant progress in body recomposition.
In regards to the holidays, prioritizing muscle building over the next year will improve your body’s ability to respond to fun holiday foods. You will not have to rely on “doing more” to combat eating more next holiday season. You will have established the “proof” with yourself that taking a week off of exercise, or not eating perfectly, or not relying on cardio does not derail your progress.
It is much easier to believe that after a year of “proof”. This can allow for a release of mental turmoil around taking time away from exercise or changing up your eating habits for the short time over the holidays.
If you are looking for more concrete guidance on how to create this muscle-forward approach over the next year, join Dr. Shannon for our FREE workshop on January 2nd, 2023 from 12-1 CST.
In this workshop, you will:
This quarterly tracker will allow you to track your various lifts over the course of the next year, set your macronutrient goals, and more. This workshop and tracker will be available live only for all.
Can’t come live? Join our 14-day free trial for access.
Listen to Dr. Shannon Ritchey, PT, DPT as she integrates the most current literature with her experience as a fitness trainer to give you tangible takeaways to improve your fitness.
Check out the pod