A Thanksgiving Workout and Diet Plan That Can Help Anyone Stay On Track

girl getting ready for her run in cold

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we have travel, family, food, parties, food, friends and more food on our minds. It’s these variables that make this time of year really tough to stick to our physical goals.

But with a pre-planned holiday workout and diet plan, anyone can easily stay on track with their health goals. The key to success is prevention and damage control.

Need a way to keep focused? Try our tips below on how to best plan for the upcoming holiday.

 

PRE-THANKSGIVING PREP

Workout: Take a look at the week before Thanksgiving and plan out your workout days ahead of time. Given you’ll be on shared friends and family time, be realistic. We suggest getting in at least two workouts the week before, with the second one being on Thanksgiving eve. Try a workout that gets your heart rate up and body sweating.

Here’s a sample of a 30-minute workout we’ll be doing the week of Thanksgiving.

Pre-Thanksgiving Workout*:
5-min jog [modify with a brisk walk]
1-min burpees [modify with air squats]
30-sec pushups [modify against a wall]
30-sec mountain climbers [modify with alternating high knees]
30-sec alternating side lunges [modify with side steps]
1-min rest
*Do this set 3 times.

Diet: The week before Thanksgiving, cut down on processed foods and stick with clean, high quality foods. To go one step further, start cutting out carbs three days before Thanksgiving. This will allow your natural storage space for carbohydrates (muscle and liver glycogen) to get depleted, so when you do eat carbs on Thanksgiving, you will fill those storage banks back up instead of overflowing. Overflow or excess carbs is what gets stored as fat in your body.

Here’s an example of a simple low-carb diet plan.

Pre-Thanksgiving Meal Plan:
Breakfast – eggs, bacon, spinach, cheese, salsa
Lunch – chicken, mushrooms, broccoli
Dinner – salmon, quinoa, asparagus
Snacks – nuts, cheese, avocado, blueberries, protein shakes, veggies & dip

 

THANKSGIVING DAY

Workout: There’s so much going on Thanksgiving, so don’t overwhelm yourself with a complicated and long workout. Instead, do a quick, 30-minute circuit weight training workout. Be resourceful and use what you have. Don’t have dumbbells? Use water jugs for weights or help out a parent and hold the baby for a while. Don’t have time to get away for a workout? Get friends and family together and go for a walk or organize a game of touch football for your workout.

Here’s the workout we’ll be doing on Turkey Day.

Thanksgiving Day Workout: [modify using light or no weight]
50 dumbbell squats
40 alternating body-weight step ups
30 dumbbell rows
20 lying leg raises
10 pushups
1-3 minute rest
50 alternating dumbbell lunges
40 dumbbell bicep curls
30 burpees
20 lying leg raises
10 pushups

Diet: Who are we kidding? It’s Thanksgiving! Rather than restrain and frustrate yourself with a “plan,” set some rules in place instead.

Here are the rules we’ve set in place for our Turkey Day.

Thanksgiving Day Eating Rules:
1. Start your day off eating the way you normally do instead of starving yourself for your Thanksgiving meal.
2. Drink water often. And for every alcoholic or sweet drink you have, drink a glass of water.
3. When it comes to making your Thanksgiving plate, fill it in this order every time–going from most to least–veggies first, protein next, carbs last.
4. Get in lots of leafy greens.
5. Enjoy a tasting of desserts. Try small samples of all the desserts that interest you instead of eating a full serving of each one.
6. Eat slower. This will give your mind enough time to process a realistic estimation of how full your body is feeling.
7. Set an eating cutoff time and, afterwards, go for a walk with the family instead of sitting on a couch.

 

POST-THANKSGIVING DAMAGE CONTROL

Workout: Ease into your normal regimen. Give yourself at least a day to get back to your norm. Consider using lighter weights, as well as decreasing the intensity and duration of your workouts.

To ease back into it ourselves, we’ll be doing our favorite SSR workout the day after.

Diet: Adults typically consume 4,000 calories of food loaded with salt, saturated fat, and refined sugars on Thanksgiving. This results in feeling fatigued and bloated for days after. And while you may not want to eat or do anything the next day, the fastest way to undo the damage is to get right back to eating healthy again. There may be lots of leftovers, but consider this helpful and satisfying detox menu from Lisa Moskovitz, R.D. of Your NY Dietitian to get you back on track quicker.

Don’t let the holidays get in the way of your physical goals. With some planning and determination, you can still give thanks and enjoy the holiday by filling yourself with healthy habits, good company and some relaxation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let us know your plan to keep on track during the holidays in the comments below.

food table gathering

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