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Another article telling you how to eat and act around the Holidays?  Get over it. Two more weeks and it’s business as usual again and you won’t have to deal with it for another forty-eight-or-so weeks. Actually, I am not going to tell you how to act or eat; I am going to tell you to disregard anything anyone tells you that you should be doing. After all, it’s the Holidays and it isn’t anyone’s business but yours.

I have taken the stance in years past trying to dictate how people should spend their holidays, what they should eat, whether they should train, rest, spend time with family, etc. For years I would emphasize that the 3 F’s should be the center of your holiday season: food, family and friends. This was under the premise that people who work out and eat right tend to be way too OCD around the Holidays and insist on putting themselves first instead of taking the time to back off at the holidays, slow down, and spend some quality time that most fail to spend the rest of the year.

MORE: Three Pounds Heavier: The Holiday Struggle

With so many holiday functions for work, family, and friends, it always struck me as odd that people were so stressed about getting their workouts in and would flip out if they missed a training session. If you are prepping for a show then that is an entirely different situation, but the large majority of these types of people are not getting ready for a show over the holidays yet still insist on taking time away from family and friends to get to the gym.

If getting to the gym isn’t the issue then bringing their own food to a family gathering usually is. My argument has always been that the holidays are not the time to slap your grandmother in the face by not eating her sweet potato casserole — whether it sucks or not. If it does suck, she’s your Grandma so your obligation is to eat it like the rest of us, hate it like the rest of us, and pretend you love it and want more. Bringing your own food is treating yourself as if you are so much more special than the rest of your family or group of friends that you can’t possibly eat the food of mortals; you might get fat or something.


Funny how when I write about something or have an opinion on something, over time, a lot of other people adopt the same philosophy, write about it (for some I use the word “plagiarize” because it fits so perfectly) and preach the same message to their clients almost verbatim. I get it, imitation is the best form of flattery — or is it just really annoying? I find the latter to be true, but I digress…

I have since changed my stance on the above. Not because I dislike everyone else saying the same things I do, but because my position has changed. Have I matured? Don’t make me laugh — of course not.  It is just that I see so many others telling people what they should do, how they should eat, train, and even how to think, that it turns my stomach. And then I realized that I, too, have been guilty of this.  Though my intentions were good, it is arrogant to think that I, or anyone else, should be telling anyone what they should be doing or how they should act, especially around the holidays.

My stance these days? Honestly, do what you want and forget about what anyone else says, and that includes your trainer. Your trainer is paid to give you advice and he isn’t a part of your family or your friend network and likely isn’t going to be invited to Christmas dinner (or Hanukkah dinner or Kwanza dinner or whatever dinner Muslims have for the holiday season. Clearly I am attempting to be politically correct here). This is your off season so you need to decide if enjoying yourself for the holidays by having some holiday food and missing a workout or cardio session here or there is worth it. You have to deal with your decisions both during the holidays and after so it should be your decision alone as to how you spend that time.

Myself? I usually train consistently around the holidays and enjoy a meal here or there depending on the function. I basically go into the holiday season with the goal of maintaining my current condition — not getting leaner but not gaining fat, either. This allows me some flexibility to miss a session here or there or eat a meal that is off my regular plan. This year I am much tighter than usual but that is simply because my goals are different and I have some marketing things shortly after the first of the year that are important to me. In this case, making this sacrifice is worth it. Otherwise, I would be enjoying pecan pie, green-bean casserole and having to pick up my wife from her work party, drunk, wearing only a Santa hat and some guy’s underwear. At least I get to still do the latter. Lucky me. Just Sayin’.

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