It’s almost Thanksgiving. For many of us, that means a long 4-day weekend to go visit family and friends. Thanksgiving weekend holds for us enjoying company, lots of tasty food, football, and online shopping. There is even more inclination to skip your workouts with your full holiday schedule, but don’t. #TheSeriousAthlete knows that your progress will stop and possibly get worse.
What Happens If I Skip a Workout or Two or Three?
After two days of not working out, your endorphin and adrenaline levels (you know, the “feel good” chemicals in your body) drop and your mood will likely drop. The energy you feel after your workouts will also drop. Those “feel good” chemicals mentioned above are also natural appetite suppressants. Skipping workouts sets your body up for craving bad foods and gaining fat – not a good thing with that delicious pumpkin pie staring you down.
On the third day, your muscles will stiffen. And your heart and lungs lose the capacity you built up. After 7 days of not working out, your metabolism slows down and your body fat levels creep up. One of the main reasons your metabolism slows is because your body’s ability to use oxygen has already dropped 10 percent, and your body needs oxygen to burn calories. We won’t go into the effects of not continuing your fitness regimen beyond 7 days in this post, but you get the idea of what happens to your body as you skip the workouts.
What to Do? Something!
The best way to avoid hampering your progress is to remain active even if it’s not one of your killer training sessions. You have to remain consistent with your workout schedule, so that your sleep, mood, metabolism, and fitness levels will not take a hit.
If you’re travelling, take your gym with you. Jump rope, resistance bands, running shoes, workout clothes, and performance underwear will take up a small amount of room in your bag or backpack. It will be easier with this gear to carve out 15-20 minutes for a workout.
If you’re staying home or your festivities include local family and friends, head to the gym earlier in the day. Another benefit of hitting the gym early during the holidays is the gym will be less crowded. If you’re going to be pressed for time, do less – skip the 3-5 sets and squeeze in 1-2 sets. You will feel better and you will have stopped the negative changes in your body. One set is not the same as three, but it’s definitely more than zero.
Enjoy and Be Fit
Numerous research studies show that Americans tend to gain weight over the winter holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve). In addition to potential negative weight gain, stress levels also increase during this period. You already know that sticking to your routine will keep your fitness regimen on track and lower your stress levels. You can’t control how others handle the holidays but your can control yourself.
Be thankful for all you have. And keep up the good work!