Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. While many Americans look forward to Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to eat whatever they want without counting calories, it’s important not to lose sight of fitness – even as you face down a plate of turkey with all the fixings. Here are some ideas to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving while also being true to your fitness and exercise goals.
Exercise Leading up to Thanksgiving
The first thing you can do to ensure that Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean the end of fitness is not to neglect your normal exercise routine in the days leading up to the holiday. If you normally hit your martial arts school or gym for an hour-long workout, make sure to do it. The exercise will ensure that your metabolism is revved up and that you’re ready to burn off the food you eat on Thanksgiving.
Fitness on Thanksgiving Day
Your regular martial arts schools or gym might be closed on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you should take the day off from exercise. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure that you stay fit and healthy. For example:
1. Eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast. You might think that it makes sense to hoard calories for the Thanksgiving meal, but the truth is that if you eat a good breakfast you’ll be less likely to binge later in the day. Try having scrambled eggs or whole grain cereal with milk as a way of ensuring your stomach isn’t grumbling all day.
2. Take a long walk or go for a run in the morning. The benefit of getting some kind of exercise early in the day is that it will burn some calories and prevent you from feeling sluggish. It will also get you out of the house and away from high-calorie snacks that might be available. If you have an at-home gym or weight room, or if the weather is bad, you can get your exercise at home.
3. When mealtime arrives, be smart about what you eat. You don’t need to have triple servings at Thanksgiving to be satisfied. If there are very rich dishes on the table, have just a spoonful so you can taste them without going overboard.
4. Take another walk after dinner. You don’t have to go right away, but if you get outside and get moving after the big meal, your body will burn some of the calories you’ve taken in. You can even make the walk a family affair and get everybody some much needed exercise. The key is not to let Thanksgiving be an excuse for throwing away your usual fitness goals.
The Day after Thanksgiving
Just as important as what you do on Thanksgiving is what you do the day after. You can’t afford to let one day of indulgence rob you of your fitness, so get right back into your normal exercise and fitness routine as soon as possible.
Thanksgiving and fitness don’t need to be mutually exclusive. If you follow these tips, you can give thanks for both food and fitness at the same time!
Sifu Caleb Hood is a martial arts instructor at Hood's Martial Arts Academy in Salem, Oregon. He currently offers classes in the Hawaiian-born self-defense system of Kajukenbo Tum Pai, as well as Yang style Tai Chi. He cross-trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has experience training people from all age groups and ability levels. He is always eager to share the arts he practices with anyone that has a good attitude and a willingness to work hard. In addition to teaching self-defense through martial arts, Sifu Caleb Hood also promotes a healthy lifestyle, emphasizing healthy physical habits, as well as healthy mental habits. To learn more about the classes offered by Sifu Caleb Hood, or about the art of Kajukenbo Tum Pai or Tai Chi, visit the Hood's Martial Arts Academy website here.