The holidays make some squeal with delight while evoking in others the need to curl up in the fetal position...

If you’re struggling with your weight, the holidays can seem like all-out war (and they don’t even follow the Geneva Convention)!  Now’s the time to prepare for battle, and if you follow my advice you can get through the holidays unscathed (and maybe even enjoy yourself a little).

I have posted my Holiday Survival Plan before on this blog as well as other places.  The criticism I get from people who read it is that it looks like a lot of work.  My witty retort is that you can either put in the effort now or suffer the holiday weight gain and probably put in even more effort in January.  The choice is yours.  So if you’re willing to put in some effort on behalf of your body, health, and self-image, then read on.

What follows is step one of my plan.  I will post step 2 next week, but in the mean time I need your help.  I want to get the word out to as many people as possible so that everyone can enjoy a “sleight” Christmas (sorry, I couldn’t resist).  I need everybody who reads this to share it on facebook, twitter, digg, stumbleupon, email or whatever other method you know of to get the message out.

Phase 1 – Preparation Part 1

The better prepared you are, the more easily you’ll survive a crisis.  This is as true for life as it is for holiday fitness plans.  That being the case, we’re going to plan, plan, plan as our first step.  Under normal circumstances, planning is important, but we’re going to take this planning session into ridiculous proportions.  Why?  I told you earlier that the holidays have basically declared war on us, which means that we must be ready for it.  In many cases, the competitor who is the most prepared who wins.

So get out your calendar. 

I used to use the big desk blotters, but whatever you will actually use will work the best.  Put in all your time commitments.  Work, school plays, soccer games, dinner with the Joneses (if you can keep up with ‘em!), holiday parties, visits from the in-laws, etc.  Anything and everything that you can think of for the rest of the year goes on that calendar.  This will do two things.  First, it will show you when you have time to eat and workout.  And secondly, it will give you an idea of when you might need to push yourself a little harder (like after a holiday party because you KNOW those little cookies you love so much will be there).

Now that that’s done, start filling in meal times. 

Eat as soon as possible upon waking and try to keep yourself eating about every 3-4 hours.  Small, frequent meals help keep your blood sugar regulated to keep you from getting hungry and stabilize energy levels.  Take note of what food you’ll need.  That’ll come in handy when planning your grocery trips.

Next, fill in your workouts. 

Right now, it’s not important to know what the workouts will be.  Just plan Workout A (which will be your aggressive, multi-day split routine), Workout B (which will be your three-day-per-week recovery workout), and Workout C (a 20-minute workout for when you absolutely can’t fit in a conventional workout).  Plug in the C workouts when they’re necessary.  Whenever possible plug in a week or two of your A workouts.  If, by chance, you happen to end up with more than 4 weeks of your A workout, break it up with a week or two of your B workout.  This will avoid overtraining and allow your body to keep making progress.

If you’ve been off track for a time, plan on filling in B workouts for the next 2-3 weeks.  If you’ve been doing well, you can continue with your A workouts (although you may want to rest for a week or two and then get aggressive again, but it’s up to you).

That’s your assignment for this week.  We’re in August as I’m posting this, so you’ll have plenty of time to implement the plan before the holidays hit.  Keep your eyes peeled on your in-box for the next installment of this series.