A common question people ask around this time is how people can maintain a healthy lifestyle when it comes to eating and exercise around the holidays. It really doesn't have to be as difficult as people think! Here are a few easy suggestions to help you stay healthy during the holidays:

1) Just like any time of year, meal prep! If you look in my fridge you'll see upwards of a dozen containers with pre-cooked chicken, fruits/veggies, sweet potato (or other healthy carbs), you name it. When I go somewhere, I just grab and go. No need to stop by McDonalds or other unhealthy options. In addition to being a much healthier option, it saves you both time and money as well!

2) Presort protein powders in a ziplock baggie. You don't want to mix your protein too long before drinking them or they taste weird. Just put single servings in a ziplock baggie, and you're good to go whenever you're ready for one. If you're using a simple water bottle for your water source, you can use a piece of paper as a funnel to pour in the powder without making a mess. You should always have some sort of protein after exercise to feed your muscles. Remember, even if your goal is to lose weight, you still need to fuel your body appropriately, usually a lot more than people realize!

3) Minimize your cheats. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be THAT unhealthy. Turkey is one of the healthiest proteins you can have! Substitute sweet potatoes for mashed potatoes (I think they taste better anyway!). Stuffing generally isn't as bad for you as people think. For the pie or cake (or both), just use that as your cheat meal. With a few simple substitutions, you can very easily make your Thanksgiving celebration a healthy one!

4) Be aware of your cheat day schedule. You know you're going to cheat on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve, go ahead, indulge yourself! But don't cheat on the Wednesday before Turkey-day, Christmas Eve, and on the 30th. For one week a month, I keep a strict meal log. There are free apps on your phone (my favorite is MyFitnessPal) that track calories, protein, fat, carbs, etc. for you. Most even store what you eat and a barcode scanner to make it as easy as possible. It literally takes 30 seconds per meal. You'll discover things about your eating habits you didn't realize such as more or less calories than you thought, more cheat meals than you realized, etc.

5) Stay on your exercise routine as closely as possible. Sure, the dojo and gym will be closed certain days during the holidays, but schedule Christmas as a rest day. It's not healthy to exercise seven days a week anyway, your body needs time to rest! So schedule accordingly, and let those specific holidays be a normal rest day anyway. On the days before, schedule your day around it. Maybe you don't work, so you can do your private lesson at the dojo earlier, or hit the weights in the morning rather than after work.

I hope that helps. If you need any more suggestions or whatever, don't be afraid to ask!