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Maintain Holiday Eating Willpower and Get a Great Workout!

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, some of you may be starting to grow a little nervous about how well you will be able to maintain your will-power and try to at least moderate the amount of food you eat, along with sticking with your planned workout sessions.

It’s not uncommon to loosen the reins a little since not only is food around every corner you turn, but it is also cold and you may be looking for some classic comfort foods that you haven’t seen over the summer months.

While it’s definitely okay to indulge a little, keep in mind just what “a little” qualifies as. A standard Thanksgiving meal can run you thousands of calories if you really enjoy yourself, and like you probably already know, for that one hour of gluttonous enjoyment, you’ll need to spend many, many long hours doing not-so-enjoyable cardio in order to burn it off.  That said, don’t completely deprive yourself, because that may backfire. You’ll hold strong for the majority of the day, but then when you do cave, it becomes a backlash with all the feelings of self-denial kicking in. If you give yourself permission to have a small amount of whatever foods are served that you enjoy, you’ll be less likely to want to scarf down the whole pumpkin pie as it whisks across the table in your direction.

On the other side of the equation, paying attention to your workouts during this holiday becomes very important because not only will being active help to eat away at some of those calories you’ll consume, but for most people, physical activity will dull the appetite and desire to eat so you’ll get the double benefits happening of actually wanting to eat less as well.

When You Don’t Have A Gym

One problem that many face, however, is that over the holidays, they will be traveling to other cities to be with family members and a gym may not be near. This then forces you to get extra creative if you hope to get in a workout that will still challenge your body.

Luckily, with some pre-planning, this is an obstacle easily overcome.

The big thing to keep in mind here is that it’s unlikely you’re going to set any large personal records while away from the gym – and that’s not the point of this.

The point is to simply get your body moving, get the blood flowing, and help to maintain your current fitness level. Besides, you’ll probably only be gone for a few days anyway, and you definitely aren’t going to lose everything you worked for over this time period. So, relax. A couple of days away from the gym is not going to be the end of the world – in fact, you might just benefit from it!

The Workout

Some of you may have free weights available to use, depending on how into fitness your relatives are, but for most, you’ll have to make due without.

If you do the right exercises, your body weight can still work effectively.



Jump Squats

Squats are the king of lower body movements so you still need to find a way to do them. Since you don’t have weight to squat, add to the intensity by performing jump squats. This will help to work on your explosive power, which may be something you’ve neglected for quite some time. Additionally, if you perform ten of these in a row, you’ll also be getting a bit of cardiovascular work out of it as well.

One Leg Squats

Another terrific way to challenge your lower body without the use of weights is a full squat. Start by standing on one leg, the other leg elevated slightly in front of you. From there, squat down, while keeping that leg extended, until you are all the way to the floor – but don’t touch the floor – because you are to come right back up again. If you can do ten of these in a row on each leg, you are doing great. If not, then rest assured you’re definitely getting a good challenge.

You might just be amazed at how hard these can be, even if you regularly squat quite a large amount of weight in the gym. No cheating though, you must come absolutely down in order to get the full effects.

Ab Work

Next comes ab work, since, probably the greatest of your worries is that the festivities at the dinner table are going to leave you with a little more around the waistline.

Your best bet when it comes to abs, is to try and find a way to reduce your supportive base. Any type of movement you can do where you aren’t stable is going to work your abs and entire core a lot more than an exercise where you are stable.

If you happen to have an exercise ball around, definitely make use of that. If not, consider doing V-sits while balancing on the end of a couch. By placing yourself of this ledge though, you will definitely create more of a challenge than doing the same exercise on the floor.

Another good exercise to utilize is the  plank and you can increase the difficulty of this one by first, either placing the arms or legs on an unstable surface as well (a ball of any kind would work well), or secondly, lifting one arm and the opposing leg off the floor so you again, have a decreased base of support.

Try and hold this position for one full minute, rest, and then repeat.

Factoring In Cardio

Running, fast walking, jumping jacks, choose a cardio activity that you can do with a friend or family member!

Alternative To The Workout

Finally, if you’d prefer not to do a standard-type of workout and take full advantage from the time away from the gym, consider some active games or activities that you can do with your family or friends.

These are going to be much better than just sitting around watching TV, particularly if done before the big meal since again, exercise tends to blunt the appetite.

If it’s snowing, consider going out snowboarding, snow-shoeing or cross country skiing. These activities are terrific lower body workouts and will burn up a great deal of calories.

If you’d rather do something else, bring back your childhood years and have a snow ball fight. Running in the snow, diving to avoid being hit, chucking the snowballs you create as hard as you can… all will work the muscles and get your heart rate up.

If you don’t have snow, try Dodge ball. This is a great game to play and will really get you moving, or have a game of ultimate Frisbee or flag football.


So, as the day approaches, don’t get too overly concerned about what it means for your training. Even if you just took it easy, you really aren’t going to create that much damage to your progress – particularly if you do happen to have good self-control when it comes to food intake (this is probably most important as those calories do add up quickly).

If you can incorporate some of these suggestions though, even if it’s just for a half an hour workout, you can definitely help to put a dent in that Thanksgiving meal.

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