The year is quickly drawing to a close, and all of a sudden your calendar becomes increasingly full of holiday parties, gift shopping and family events. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic time of year, but for athletes it can be a real challenge to maintain a training focus and keep on track. Here are some handy tips to maintain a sensible balance this December.
LEAVE PERFECTION BEHIND
While striving for perfection is an admirable trait, obtaining it is impossible. Setting unrealistic goals with your time these holidays will only lead to frustration and negative feelings. And from a performance pespective, this just isn’t a productive place to be. Talk with your coach and plan out your training as best you can ahead of time. Remain flexible if things come up at the last minute, but keep making those adjustments so that you feel in control of everything, not the otherway around. Accept the fact that things will get busy and don’t be afraid to say no in order to keep your sanity.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Listening to our bodies is one of the most important factors when training for performance. That same sort of attention to detail can be applied during the holiday period also. With the extra demands on your time, the body can very easily become stressed and quickly fatugued, leading to a compromise in health. Nobody wants a winter cold for Christmas! So make sure at the first signs of ‘feeling tired’ or ‘slightly run down’ to back off and correct the course of action. And, by this I mean focused rest! It may sound impossible, but making time for a small 20min power nap, or being strict to your regular bedtime could just be the savior to get you through in one piece. Adding in meditation or mindfulness type practices are also another fantastic way to restore balance and destress.
EARN YOUR FUEL
There are a ton of tasty temptations in the nutrition department over the holidays. Most of them are calorie packed and low in nuritent density. It can be unrealistic and also create added stress to avoid these types of foods althougher, so I would suggest always being mindful of what you are eating to be the best approach. Allow youself to indudge a little when be appropriate, say after a long and intense workout. But, earn it first! Conversely, if you only have a light workout, then dont overload with an excessive amount of food, as this sort of habits will stack on the pounds in no time. Overall, it is important to embrace this time of year and the different culinary delights it brings, but as an athlete you do need to keep yourself in check.
In summary, it’s important to stay flexible over the holidays. Things won’t always go as planned, but going with the flow and making adjustments is the best way to approach it. By reaming open you can balance the enjoyment whilst still maintaining your training as a prioirty.