November 16, 2009
Are you ready for a proven method to keep you sane in your fat loss efforts through the next few months? This easy, three-step process will be your secret weapon for staying healthy during the holidays.
If your goal is to stay motivated, stay lean, and stay fit while faced with the daunting challenges and temptations of holiday parties, alcohol, cake, cookies, feasts and lots of social pressure to just “wait until January 1st,” then keep reading.
Here's how it works (and don't delay – implement this right away!):
Step 1: Event
Choose 2-3 “events” – one before the New Year, one after the New Year, and, if you want the added bonus, one on Thanksgiving. Among all my clients who I train and consult, an event is always far more motivating than the vague goal of simply “staying fit” or “losing fat”. Events provide social motivation, an actual date on the calendar, and both intrinsic and extrinsic drive to keep yourself in shape. My clients who sign up for events are always more successful, and you will be too.
What do I mean by event? An event can be a 5K, a local indoor triathlon at your YMCA, a fundraiser bike ride, or any other group fitness gathering. Here are some tools you can use to find your event:
- Turkey Trot Race Locator (Thanksgiving day event finder)
- TriFind Triathlon Finder (good for finding a January or February triathlon)
- Your gym or health club (they often have ongoing holiday fitness challenges and events: trust me, these are highly effective)
- The health or wellness calendar in your local paper
The event(s) before the New Year will keep you thinking about making sure you get to the gym, strap on your running shoes, or keep that bike tuned up. The event after the New Year will give you something to shoot for and to talk about when your friends ask you why you aren't having that fourth drink at the holiday party, or thirds on Thanksgiving dinner.
Step 2: Goal
While a goal that is separate from an event (i.e. “lose 2 pounds”) is not typically a very powerful motivator, a goal combined with an event (i.e. “lose 2 pounds before my January 1st 5K”) is incredibly effective. I'm a big fan of your goal actually being more focused on body composition than on body mass, which means that you're more concerned about FAT than you are about WEIGHT. This can be as simple as measuring your body fat, then creating a realistic goal.
My favorite goal for my clients is to “drop 2% body fat before January 1st”. This is a very realistic and achievable goal for anyone during the holidays.
If you need help measuring your body fat, you may want to check out my friend Jeff Anderson's free “Body Fat Calculator Manual”, which you can download by clicking here. You can also do a body fat pinching test at your local gym, and typically if you ask a personal trainer, they will be happy to do it for free. Just bring them a nice bottle of holiday wine.
Step 3: Tell The World
This is the most important step. You will not succeed unless you implement this step. Time and time again, I have witnessed individuals make fantastic goals and sign-up for events, only to keep the entire affair a complete secret. With no social pressure to succeed, the goal is far less motivating. But knowing that you will have to answer to friends, family and a social network will make you very, very honest and serious about achieving your goal.
Have you ever wondered why it is so easy for personal trainers and nutritionists to stay thin or fit? It is not because we have some magic fitness power. It is because we know that we will be labeled a hypocrite and liar by all our clients, colleagues and fans if we're seen walking down the street with a 24oz soda, ordering a second basket of chips at the Mexican restaurant, or developing a gut during the holidays.
You can harness this same social pressure, and trust me, it is extremely powerful.
How do you tell the world?
Choose your 2-3 events, make your 1 goal, then, if you're an internet fan, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and your blog to announce your events and goals. Announce in at least three locations. If you're not into the internet, then call five friends or family members and tell them your events and goals. Five. If you'd like, rather than just randomly posting on your blog or randomly contacting your mom, you can reference this article to justify your actions (or just use the “Tell A Friend” button at the bottom of this post).
So once you're done, here's what the Incredibly Easy Three-Step Method To Staying Lean, Fit & Motivated During the Holidays might look like:
Step 1 – Event: “Sign up for a Turkey Trot, a December 31st 5K and a March 31st sprint triathlon.”
Step 2 – Goal: “Measure your body fat and decrease it by 2% before your December 31st 5K.”
Step 3 – Tell the World: “Call your Mom, brother, 2 best friends and boss, and tell them you just signed up for a November 26 Turkey Trot, a December 31st 5K, a March 31st Sprint Triathlon, and you're going to decrease your body fat by 2% before your December 31st 5K. If you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a blog, put it here too.”
And that's it. What do you think? Can you do pull off this easy three-step method to staying lean, fit and motivated during the holiday season?
Do you have your own proven methods for fat loss during the holidays, losing weight in the winter, or staying fit during the busy season? Just leave a comment below. I'd love to see your tips and tricks.