This week’s post discusses how to minimize the damage the holidays can have on our physique. You CAN and SHOULD enjoy yourself without the post meal guilt. The holidays are for time with loved ones and, well, let’s face it, lots and lots of food. This can be stressful for some people who are concerned about gaining weight and backtracking on their fitness progress. But, all the sugars and fats don’t have to wreak havoc on your bod; fear not guys, I’m going to tell you how you can minimize the damage and actually use all the extra food to your advantage!

Clients often ask me what they can do to reduce the damage to their physique or the gains they’ve made over the last while when they go home for the holidays and indulge in Mom’s food. Someone said to me “I can’t show up to my family dinner with my pre-packed meals in Tupperware” and yeah, I agree, that wouldn’t go over well. But it is possible to utilize all the extra food to fuel some pretty great workouts.

Here are some suggestions I have to guide you through the holiday food feast and allow you to come out the other end basically unscathed.

1. Don’t be so hard on yourself; the holidays only come once a year and you deserve to enjoy yourself. Don’t let Christmas or Thanksgiving imprint negative or guilt-laden thoughts that will take away from your festive experience.

2. I recommend eating lower carbs during the day that you plan to have your holiday meal. Have higher protein meals or shakes to keep you from being hungry, so that when you go to dinner you can have higher fats and carbs.

3. Do a heavy workout close to your big meal. Increase training volume, and do more sets for each muscle group. After a hard training session your body will be screaming for nutrients and this effect last for about 3-4 hours. By training just before your holiday meal, you can use all the food to help you rebuild and recover from your workout.

4. Don’t go to sleep right after your big meal. I know it’s going to be hard due to that damn turkey tryptophan. But fight the urge! When you go to sleep full of food, your body will store it as extra calories and your metabolism slows down. So, try to stay awake, or even better, take the dog out for a stroll. Just don’t go horizontal right away.

5. This is the best part… are you ready? Ok, you have 72 hours for emergency repair from holiday overeating. 72 hours is how long it takes for your body to create a new fat cell. After loading yourself up with carbs fats and proteins, your body is a nutrient-filled growth machine, so take advantage of this by doing another high volume, heavy workout the day after. Also, do some extra cardio after doing weights.

Follow these steps to offset the damage, and just know that you hold the ability to use all the extra food to fuel some amazing workouts, and remember that you have 72 hours to ‘right the wrongs’. If you truly want to excel in your sport of fitness, you do have to be diligent with your diet and refrain from falling off the clean eating routine, but you also need to have balance. You need to be able to indulge, guilt-free and just pick up and continue on the next day with your fitness goals. So, whatever your motivation is, whether it’s using your Christmas gift cards to purchase some new lulus (because new gym gear ALWAYS motivates us, right??) or if it’s a New Year’s resolution, just get into the gym and sweat, and you better hurry because it’s about to get a little crazy in there come early January 🙂

Written by Angel Simmons for