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Jeff Symonds: Training tips to survive the holidays

Jeff Symonds
Jeff Symonds

The holidays are great for a break and little down time from triathlon but let’s face it, for most of us, we are just not the same when we aren’t training. It is also always so hard to get back into the swing of training if you’ve taken a few weeks off that were filled with lots of eating and drinking. These simple tips can help you stay positive over the holidays and have you ready to go once things return to normal.

Eat sweets immediately after working out.
Holidays are full of delicious deserts than can cause blood sugar spikes and cause the dreaded holiday weight gain. You can avoid both of these by eating high sugar deserts immediately after working out. Simple sugars are the best thing to quickly restock your glycogen stores and avoid intense carbohydrate craving later in the day.  High fat foods like fudge have no benefit to your training, but they are delicious!

Check out the pool schedule now.
There are few things more frustrating than sneaking away for a swim only to find out the pool is closed for the holidays. Check now before you proceed to the next tip.

Plan workouts with friends.
It is easy to rationalize skipping workouts over the holidays by thinking “I don’t want to miss time with family and friends.”  The solution: do both. The holidays are a time where friends and family back in town so arrange to meet up with a friend or group of friends and then that workout is guaranteed to get done. (Bonus point if you can arrange a meeting time during turkey preparation or any time Michael Buble’s Christmas album is being played).

Get up early.
There is a huge temptation to sleep in over the holidays…and also to catch up on the past season of the Walking Dead. Avoid both by getting your workout done first thing in the morning. You’ll also avoid stressing about when, or if, you will be able to fit your workout in and be able to be in the moment enjoying the festivities. Plus, Zombies are always better after a hard workout.

Plan shorter more intense workouts.
If you live a hermit lifestyle similar to Obi-Wan Kenobi, then by all means plan some mega mileage over the holidays. For everyone else it is best to include more time efficient interval sessions. You will still be building and maintaining fitness while avoiding the guilt of not being able to complete all of your training miles. Workouts like 10×1 min, or 20 mins hard, can be done on the wind trainer in 30 to 40 minutes. Less time than it takes to watch how the Grinch Stole Christmas.