You’ve probably heard this one: “You can’t outwork a bad diet.”
It’s true. If you always eat foods that don’t match up with your fitness goals, you’re going to struggle to make progress even if you train hard.
But with some major holidays approaching, it’s worth mentioning the flip side to that saying:
One special meal isn’t going to derail your progress.
Sometimes people who work out hard and eat well get stressed near major holidays because a big family feast doesn’t fit into their plan. That’s understandable. We all want to optimize results in the gym.
But don’t stress too much if the holiday season finds you eating or drinking a little more than usual.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying you should go wild and scream “YOLO!” before over-indulging in food and drink. But it’s important to enjoy yourself and relax a little bit. In fact, many coaches believe that a little leeway from time to time makes it easier to stay on track long term.
Ever heard of the “80-20 rule” in nutrition? It’s the idea that if you eat in a way that matches your health and fitness goals 80 percent of the time, you can afford to indulge 20 percent of the time. The numbers aren’t exact, of course—but you get the idea.
Here’s the rule stated another way: More often than not, make good choices when it comes to food and beverages. And when you choose to enjoy yourself from time to time, don’t sweat it.
It’s important to avoid being rigid when it comes to food because “black-and-white thinking” can make you feel like a failure.
Consider this: “I can’t believe I had that cookie at the work party. I’m totally failing with my nutrition!”
A great coach might say, “Don’t worry about the cookie. You had two days with perfect nutrition, and that cookie isn’t going to matter in the long run. You’re still right on track!”
Some people, of course, are very rigid in all aspects of their lives. And that’s OK. But if that’s not you, don’t worry if the annual family holiday buffet is on the calendar. I want you to enjoy yourself, then get back to the gym and your normal eating plan.
Remember, if you make good choices 80 percent of the time, you’re going to accomplish your health and fitness goals.
If you’ve got some holiday feasts approaching and want to make a plan to manage “the 20 percent,” or if you just want to talk about how I can help you improve your nutrition in “the 80 percent,” let’s talk.
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