Holiday Calories or Cortisol - Which is WORSE for You?

Okay…the holiday season is a challenging time of year for a LOT of people… but let’s break it down…

More often than not it’s cold out which can limit your training and outdoor time. The holiday calories (sweets, extra food, family visits, alcohol etc.) often pile up too. So what’s really worse for you this time of year? The calories or the cortisol (stress hormone)? The answer…it depends. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you navigate this holiday season…

BALANCE – Listen, there’s nothing wrong with having extra calories this time of year. Allow yourself to indulge a bit without going completely overboard (ie. one or two cookies vs an entire box of them)

RECOVER – Relaxation, destressing and down-time are all absolutely critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as an athlete. Remember, you DO NOT become stronger or faster during intense training…it’s the rest and recovery while your body recharges and rebuilds where the gains are made.

VARIETY – We know the cold weather can prohibit outdoor training. No one wants to ride when it’s 5 degrees outside. Use this time of year to work on your strength or cross training. What about indoor spin cycling or rowing? Give something new a chance and see where it takes you.

CLARITY – The holiday season is a GREAT time to reflect on the past 12 months. How did this year start for you? How did you WANT it to go? What can you chance? What can you improve or do without? Finding time to focus on clarity and what works will help you be a more efficient athlete for next year.

BONUS TIP – Remember that STRESS can be more detrimental than NOT exercising or indulging a bit with your nutrition. You need to figure out which is more troublesome for you and your path as an athlete…a few extra calories, fewer workouts or big bouts of stress about either of those??

Stay Strong – Stay Motivated – You Got This!


The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical or health condition and should always be reviewed with your health professional first before starting any new exercise programs.