It’s cliche, sure, but there’s a reason that every year, the topic of ‘how do I stay healthy/active during the holiday?’ comes up. We all struggle with this — even the most elite athlete can be lured in by mom’s cinnamon rolls and dad’s classic eggnog. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but don’t let the holidays derail your healthy habits entirely. Here at SP2, we’ve come up with a few ways to keep this month festive and fun, while staying strong and healthy throughout.
If you’re planning to go big on dinner — office Christmas party, dinner with your ham-loving family, eggnog and holiday movies — start the day as healthy as possible. That means a breakfast packed with protein, vegetables, fiber, and healthy fats. An easy option? A smoothie with SP2, frozen berries and a splash of vanilla almond milk with a couple of eggs (or some tofu) scrambled with spinach, peppers, and onions on the side.
When you roll out of bed in the morning, aim to get around 10 minutes of activity in right away. That might mean finding a 10-minute yoga video to do (there are tons of options on YouTube), doing 10 minutes of stretches, planks and other core exercises, doing a quick jog or walk around the block, or jumping on the spin bike for just a few minutes of pedaling. Starting your morning with movement sets the tone for a healthier day, and it also ensures that whatever else happens, at least you did something!
Snowman building contest? Snowball fight? Total Christmas cliche, but any activity is better than none. It’s tempting to sit inside with the family, watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie on Netflix, but after a while, you’ll start feeling like you’ve become physically attached to the couch. Force your family to get up and get moving, or, if no one else is feeling motivated, offer to be the designated dog walker/baby carrier/niece and nephew wrangler for the day so you’re guaranteed some activity.
And I’m not talking about doing a shot before heading to the bar! If you’re heading to a holiday party, it’s tempting to skip lunch and show up ravenous so you can hit the buffet hard. But since most parties feature high-fat, highly-processed, high-carb, high-sodium foods, you’re better off if you pre-game with a healthy snack. A quick blend of a clean protein powder, some fruit juice and a cube of SP2 can stave off hunger pangs and provide you with the nutrients you need. That way, you can choose smaller portions of the foods that you really want at the party, rather than annihilating the bread basket before order two desserts because you’ve starved yourself all day.
At some point during the holidays, most people are starting to feel a little bit rough around the edges. So why not host a healthy holiday party, complete with activities that involve a bit of movement like a snowman building contest or starting the day with a self-hosted or local 5K race? Then, follow it up with a healthy buffet at your place, with fresh juices, a blender station for smoothies instead of a bar serving mixed drinks, veggie scrambles and tons of raw fruits and veggies. Your family and friends will thank you, and you get the partying vibe without the unhealthy aftereffects.
Forget that last cup of mulled wine before bed: Swap your old-fashioned nightcap for one that will set you up for a less-hungover, happier morning after instead. An electrolyte tab like nuun’s new Immunity tablet mixed into a glass of water will set you up for a happier morning, or you can make it more dessert-like by stealing Tour de France-racing cyclist Laurens Ten Dam’s “milkshake” recipe instead of having that third glass of eggnog. Blend a frozen banana, frozen strawberries, a splash of milk and a cube of SP2 together for a tasty but healthy treat.
Tis the season to stay out late with friends and family, drink one too many glasses of wine, or be woken up at 3AM because Santa is here… And your health can take a nosedive as your hours of good sleep drop. Prioritize getting at least six hours of sleep per night, even if that means skipping your 6AM spin class. You’ll feel better and your body and immune system will thank you.
As long as the holiday season is isolated to just a couple weeks of the year, and you quickly get back on the healthy eating/drinking/training bandwagon after New Year’s Day rolls around, you’re going to be just fine. A few extra cookies won’t set you back, and two weeks off the bike or away from running won’t tank your fitness. Your body might even need the break!