It’s the holidays, which means it’s that time of year when we get to take a little extra time off work or school, spend it with the people we love, and eat a ton of delicious food. It’s also the time of year when your news feed gets flooded with articles saying you’re eating way too many calories, telling you how to work out on Thanksgiving to maximize your afterburn, and that you better start running because that piece of pie or mountain of mashed potatoes isn’t going to burn itself off.
And while I’m all for working out, it should be done with a positive mindset. It should be about what fitness adds to your life (fun, energy, connection), not what it subtracts (calories). So while I’m not going to tell you not to work out on Thanksgiving – or any other day – think about why you’re doing it.
Work out because…
Does your family dress up for the local Turkey Trot every year? Or do you all gather in the backyard for a competitive game of football after the big feast? Great. You get to spend time with people you love, make some awesome memories, and get some movement in.
…you’re training for something.
Whether you’re a college athlete or a recreational runner training for a race, you probably have a training schedule. Unless Thursdays are usually your rest days, that schedule will probably tell you to work out on Thanksgiving. Sure, it’s a holiday, so you could totally skip that run (#noshame), but you could also probably just squeeze it in and stick to the plan. Thanksgiving dinner sounds like a pretty satisfying post-workout meal to me.
…you feel like it.
Maybe you wake up on Thanksgiving morning with boundless energy and the desire to lift some seriously heavy weights. Maybe the weather is beautiful and you’re home for the first time in months and you want to go for a run. Maybe you have been traveling a lot and you’re craving a good stretch, so you do some yoga. You do you.
Don’t work out because…
…you “have” to.
You don’t have to! Are you going to eat a lot of wonderful food with your family? I sure hope so. But no one meal is going to ruin your fitness. So if you wake up exhausted on Thanksgiving morning and having the energy to work out isn’t in the cards, that’s okay. If all you want to do is relax with your family and cuddle your dog, do that.
Because, like working out, the holidays are for enjoying.
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