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Dark Horse Guide to Surviving the Holidays

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The holiday season is officially here! While it’s undoubtedly a time to relax and celebrate with friends and family, for many of us – especially when it comes to our health and fitness goals – it’s also a time that can cause a lot of stress. Whether it’s the disruption of your regular workout schedule, or the never ending presence of tempting foods and treats, navigating the holidays doesn’t have to leave you less fit and feeling like a sloth by the time we regain our senses come January 1.

Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

1.  Keep Coming to Class
Even if you have a house full of family, try to stick to your usual class schedule. One of the best ways to fight holiday stress is to be consistent with your fitness, so give yourself this gift and get your sweat on like you usually do.

2.  Take Your WOD on the Road
Traveling for the holidays?  Drop into a local box and take a class. One of the best things about CrossFit is that you can find an instant community wherever you go. No box? That’s okay.  Do a travel WOD! Jason Kalipa has a whole list to choose from, or make one up on your own.  And you don’t need fancy equipment – go outside, find a park, take a hike or do burpees, push-ups, and air squats on the beach! Personally, I never travel without a jump rope; it’s small, lightweight, and can add immense variety to travel workouts.  Any workout you do whether it’s in a gym or not counts towards keeping you healthy and de-stressed when you’re out of town.

3.  When it Comes to Food, Go in With a Plan…
Holiday parties can feel like a minefield of cream-filled diet-killers. But they don’t have to be that way. If you’re sitting down for dinner, fill up on lean meats and green veggies first. Then go back later to try those marshmallow yams or chocolate pie. You’ll eat less because you’ve already filled up on the good stuff. If it’s hors d’oeuvres or dessert only, eat something healthy before you go so you’re not tempted to pound the entire tray of pigs in a blanket.

4.  Remember to Forgive Yourself
One less-than-perfect meal doesn’t have to mean the end of your nutritional goals. Aunt Susie only makes her award-winning chorizo-cornbread stuffing once a year. So relax, enjoy yourself, and understand that a night off the reservation doesn’t mean you’ve ruined everything. Pick right back up the next day, and if you can indulge after a good workout to minimize the damage.

We’ve all made such terrific progress this year. Enjoy your holidays, and know that it’s possible to have fun and stay on track this season!

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