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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Conquer Thanksgiving and Beyond

Thanksgiving (and Christmas for that matter!) are fast approaching. For many of us, vacation and the impending holidays become a reason to neglect our training and nutrition programs. Below are five tips to help keep your training on track while away from home.

1. Re-affirm Your Priorities
Take a moment to evaluate what is most important for you this holiday season. Is the short-term satisfaction of eating all that food, drinking all that alcohol and spending all that time on the couch worth sacrificing the progress made in last few months at the gym? Clearly define for yourself what your long-term goals are and share them generously with those around you. The support of your family and friends is the easiest way to maintain your goals and stick to your program.

2. No Gym is No Excuse
You're away from home for the holidays and won't have access to a gym? Big deal. This is no reason to skip a workout. Pushups, lunges, squats and other bodyweight exercises are extremely beneficial and require very little equipment. Pick two upper-body exercises and two lower-body exercises and, for each exercises, do as many reps as you can in three minutes. Once you complete three minutes with one exercise, move on to the next. If you don't feel challenged, do each exercise for four minutes (or five, or six, or...). If that's still not challenging enough, add a third upper-body exercise and a third lower-body exercise; or elevate your legs onto a chair to make the existing exercises more demanding. Always know your limitations and never attempt something that may be dangerous or past your level of experience.

3. Eat Before You Go To Dinner
20–30 minutes before you arrive at the big family dinner, eat a large snack. The snack should consist of mostly proteins, fats and fiber. Drink plenty of water with your snack and while waiting for dinner. Feeling satisfied before all the food is laid out in front of you will help prevent over-eating at dinner.

4. Stick to Meat and Veggies
While at dinner, fill your plate with plenty of meats and vegetables. Avoid the potatoes, pastas, cakes and candies. Drink water.

5. Never Feel Deprived
Follow your training and nutrition program for only 90% of your vacation. For the other 10%, go wild and enjoy yourself. The holidays are a time to re-connect with the people that have made an impact on your life. While it is important to maintain your goals, it is also important to relax and unwind. Work hard, play hard, and take full advantage of your time with family and friends.

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