The holidays are upon us! The time of year for celebrating with loved ones, usually served with generous amounts of food and alcoholic beverages. With so many opportunities to indulge during the holidays, it difficult for even the most disciplined athlete to stay focused on training and proper nutritional. While it is true that one should resist the urge to binge regardless of the season, it is also true that one extra glass of wine with a holiday meal, or a slightly-larger than usual dollop of whip cream on grandma’s pie during the holidays won’t derail your training.
In the following, we share tips from Coach Dana and Coach Ryan Moore from Achieve PTC on how to maintain healthy nutritional habits during the holidays.
- YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN. It all begins here. If you take home nothing else, remember this simple truism.
- ALL THINGS IN MODERATION. With so many opportunities to overindulge during the holidays, it is very difficult to avoid the temptation for that extra piece of turkey or that extra glass of wine with dinner. We at the Jensie Gran Fondo believe in the importance of living a balanced life. In other words, feel free to enjoy without guilt. Just remember, what you put in is what you get out.
- FEED YOUR BODY; DON’T STARVE YOURSELF. Although many athletes try to sell the idea of fasting prior to a big holiday meal, this is actually counter-productive. Instead of starving yourself, give your body nutrients consistently, moderating your caloric intake to match the amount the calories that you are burning.
- ALCOHOL. Enjoy, but do so sensibly. As Dana says, “one glass of wine will not prevent you from winning the Mt. Hamilton Road Race, but several will make for a very difficult day on the bike.”
- PROPER HYDRATION IS KEY. As always, be sure to properly hydrate. Proper hydration can be anywhere from 8-10 oz every hour. And no, alcohol does not count. Alcohol is a diuretic and is more likely to contribute to dehydration than the other way around.
- LIMIT INTAKE OF SIMPLE CARBS. Carbs are the most important source of energy for the endurance athlete. Simple carbs, fast-acting sugars, are great sources of energy for short efforts like sprint and interval training because they are easily consumed by the muscles. For longer rides, begin with complex carbs higher in fiber mixed with protein.
- RIDE YOUR BIKE! Don’t forget to get out on your bike, whether for a quick Christmas afternoon spin or an easy lap around the lake with your family.
BREAKFAST: Try a bowl of fruit with yogurt and nuts.
HOLIDAY DINNER: Substitute brown rice for white and sweet potatoes for white. Carrots, broccoli and squash are also great options.
DESSERT: Try a bowl of fruit with dark chocolate, which is high in antioxidants.
In conclusion, it’s easy to lose sight of the important things during the busy holiday season, your fitness being the least of them. Enjoy the time with your family. Eat well and guilt free.
As Coach Ryan puts it, “If the holidays interfere a bit with your training, you need to be very worried—just kidding! It’s cool to let yourself enjoy family, food and friends, and when it comes down to it, Christmas is just one day out of the year. Make the most of it, it’ll probably help your motivation in the long run.”