By USAC Level 1 and TrainingPeaks Certified ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp

It's the holidays and your Aunt's green bean casserole just wouldn't taste the same without those fried crunchy onions on top. And she would never forgive you if didn't heap a ton of it on your plate and eat every.

single.

bite.

Not to mention she brought those lemon bars especially for you even though you told her last year to please, leave them at home. Temptations abound during the holiday season and even the strongest mind can cave after your will power is tempted one too many times. Below are five tips on how you can avoid gaining weight this holiday season and keep on track with your training.

1. Eat something beforehand

Have dinner plans with friends? Going to a holiday party? Headed out to dinner? By eating something healthy before you dine out, you'll set yourself up to not over eat and add on a bunch of unnecessary calories.

2. Eat slowly

This one is hard. Especially if you're eating with a bunch of cycling friends who scarf down their food. But the slower you eat, the quicker your mind tells your body that you're full. Try setting down your fork between bites or taking a sip of water after chewing your food completely. An added bonus of eating slowly and more mindfully is that food can actually taste better!

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3. Eat more vegetables

Like brussels sprouts and green beans? Great! The more colorful food you can put on your plate, the better. And since vegetables tend to be lower in calories and high in fiber, you can fill up on the good stuff before heaping on super dense calorie foods (read desserts!). Just note - beware of dressings - though delicious tasting, they often are high in calories.

 4. Drink water

And lots of it. If you are going to a function where alcohol is served, pace yourself by drinking a full glass of water before you drink a cocktail. Then if you have another, make sure you drink another glass of water between. Stop with two drinks and you'll be thankful you did the next day.

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ALP Cycles Coaching created a 12-week advanced rider training plan that takes you through the end of February. Strength training, plyometrics, intervals, quality trainer workouts, endurance rides, and more. Come March, you will be ready to rock and roll.http://home.trainingpeaks.com/products/trainingplans/plans/3-month-training-strength-1,-strength-2-and-plyo-s-advanced-rider

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5. Use a smaller plate

The smaller the plate, the smaller the serving size. The smaller the serving size the less likely you are to over eat.

 6. Bonus Tip

- a high intensity trainer workout! 

We couldn't give you all of this eating advice without mentioning exercise! High intensity workouts are a great way to boost your metabolism and keep you burning fat after you've completed your workout. Here's a bonus trainer workout to get you through the holiday temptations:

Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Warmup for 15 minutes at less than 68% of FTP, or active recovery to low endurance zones. 

Start with a 5 minute VERY HARD effort at 100% of FTP, also known as lactate threshold

Rest and spin easy for 5 minutes (about 68% of FTP), or easy endurance zone.

Start 6 x 3 minutes at VO2 Max (117% of FTP) with 3 minutes easy riding between intervals.

Ride easy for 10 minutes at about 68% of FTP. 

Start 4 x 2 minutes at VO2 Max (113-120% of FTP) with 4 minutes easy riding between intervals.

Then cool down for 10 minutes, riding easy.

Interested in learning more about training zones and figuring out your functional threshold power? ALP Cycles Coaches can help! Contact us today to come up with a game plan to your best cycling season yet!

Now, what are your favorite holiday eating tips or hard trainer rides? Please share them in the comments below.

Happy training!

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