Your coaches at CrossFit Lando love the holidays probably more than anyone. Stacey and I are both big fans of holiday parties, christmas music, decorations, and especially christmas cookies and holiday beverages. Because of this we also are very familiar with how the holidays, while enjoyable, can really take a toll on our fitness, both mentally and physically. Late nights, extra dessert, plenty of cocktails, and family/company parties are all part of the fun of the season, but certainly can lead to some extra pounds and general feeling like…well…crap.
I am a big proponent of accepting and embracing the holidays as an enjoyable time to spend with family and friends. While it is always a good idea to put things in place to minimize the damage, it is a small part of the year that is worth celebrating more than fretting about extra calories and less sleep.
I am also a big proponent of getting back on track once the season is over. Even if you ate 5000 cookies and drank an entire vineyard worth of holiday wine, it is never too late to get back on track and ready to make 2013 a great year. Health and fitness has 3 components: exercise, nutrition, sleep/recovery. All of these have to be in place to make for a good overall wellness. Here are some tips (other than getting your butt up to 10 Micro Drive in Woburn, MA) on how to kickstart your post holiday recovery and fast track you towards your best fitness ever.
Exercise: Obviously we at CrossFit Lando are big proponents of CrossFit as the main fitness model one should use. The key to fitness is constantly varying the things you do to tap into all of your metabolic pathways. CrossFit focuses on all 10 elements of fitness: cardiovasular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. Rather than be an expert in only one or two of these, a crossfitter will excel in all of them, making for a well rounded and all encompassing fitness. Read more about CrossFit in our What is CrossFit page to learn about how the CrossFit model works.
On top of all of this, CrossFit group classes are fun and motivating. Rather than spending time in the gym by yourself wondering how to reach your goals, you will be working along side people just like you with goals just like yours. CrossFit Lando is a community of people looking to improve their health and fitness.
Nutrition: I will be the first one to confirm that the world of nutrition is incredibly confusing and sometimes daunting. What is the right way to eat for a person looking to get more fit and healthy? We believe that a diet high in protein, good fat, and limited carbohydrates that avoids starches and processed sugars is the best way to eat for healthy living. The Paleo Diet is a popular diet for many athletes and non athletes alike. It focuses on eating “real” food. Think things you can find on the outside aisles of the grocery store. Meat, fish, vegetables, some fruits, nuts, seeds…all things that are natural, real, and not meant to be kept in a box. No preservatives, added sugar, or grain proteins that cause inflammation in the GI tract, muscle tissue, and joints.
I like to think of the Paleo Diet less as a diet and more as a lifestyle. Yes many people who start eating paleo lose a significant amount of weight, and there is no denying that weight loss is a main goal for many people when changing their eating habits, the benefits of “real” food eating goes far beyond weight loss. Diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, type II diabetes, and many others have been linked to the more common way of eating in present society that revolves around processed food, dairy, and wheat products. People who follow a more clean diet are not only going to see immediate positive effects but are improving their body inside and out for the long run.
Click here for more information on the Paleo Diet and for information on a similar but less focused diet, the Zone Diet. Both myself and Stacey are well educated on the many ways to eat for health and performance. Basic nutrition counseling is part of being a members at CrossFit Lando. We also offer nutrition counseling for more in depth and involved personal nutrition services. Everyone is different and there is no perfect diet that works exactly the same for everyone. Just ask one of your coaches for any information you need to know about the proper way of eating for you. We are here to help!
Sleep/Recovery: While it might not seem like it, in my experience this is by far the hardest one of the three keys to fitness for people to keep. Stacey and I always talk about how difficult it is to get the right amount of sleep as a working adult. Add in kids, spouses, maybe grad school, and all of the sudden 24 hours just isn’t enough. One way of making sure you can get the 7-8 hours of sleep that is the minimum recommended amount for an active adult is to set a schedule. Obviously there are many factors that get in the way of sleep, so try to plan around all of them each day and set a time that you start winding down for bed. If you are like me and it takes a while to get to sleep then this process might need a bit more time than for others. If you share a bed with another person then try to work out this schedule with them so they understand that even if they aren’t on the same schedule you can still get the rest you need (or close to it).
Remember, the previous two elements of fitness play a role in sleep. Eating better/drinking alcohol less frequently leads to better sleep: faster to sleep and deeper rest. A good workout routine will not only help expend excess energy but can help set the body into a rhythm where sleep comes more naturally if even as a desired aspect of the day!
Aside from sleep there are a couple other things that help with recovery. Supplements like fish oil, protein, and amino acids help the body come back from lots of activity. Fish oil recommendations vary but I tend to prescribe at least 3000 mg a day for an active person. Fish oil helps fight inflammation, additional protein supplementation (especially post workout) helps kick start the rebuilding process within the body, and amino acids help with this as well.
Like anything, your coaches at CrossFit Lando are the best people to ask for help with any of these parts of your fitness routine. Email, call, or ask us anytime for anything you need.