It’s official: party season is in full swing, and once that holiday cheer starts flowing, any semblance of healthy living goes right out of the window. From cheese platters to tequila shots, the effects of partying can wreak havoc on your physique. Even those with serious fortitude find themselves buckling under the strain of constant temptations. And while all the celebrating will raise your spirits, it’s also likely to derail your fitness progress. The good news is your physical accomplishments don’t have to go down the drain just because you want to partake in the festivities.
You can still party and stay in good shape. With a little advance planning and a few simple techniques, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to maintain your current level of fitness throughout the party season. It doesn’t take CSI: Miami, NY, or even Toledo to identify the main progress-crushing culprits—bad foods, bad habits and booze. Get a handle on these and you’ll be able to weather the perfect storm of office, family and bowl game celebrations. So follow our lead and you just may be able to keep those killer abs you spent countless hours chiseling at the gym.
PICK YOUR PARTIES
People will find any excuse to party this time of the year, and if you don’t give them the creeps, they’ll want to include you in the fun. It’s up to you to decide which occasions will be worth the indulgence. By planning ahead, you’ll up your odds of preserving your fit physique.
‘Tis the season to knock a few back, and unless you live in a rectory, you’re likely to be lured with an assortment of high-calorie, low-nutrition cocktails. Pure alcohol contains about seven calories per gram, which makes it almost twice as fattening as protein or carbs. This is why it’s important to choose your booze carefully. Here are some low calorie choices to consider the next time you’re feeling jolly and thirsty—followed by some high calorie cocktails to avoid.
- 12 oz. Light Beer – 110 Calories
- 6 oz. Rum and Diet Coke – 65 Calories
- 4 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay – 90 Calories
- 4 oz Dry Champagne – 105 Calories
- 6 oz. Vodka and Soda Water – 65 Calories
- 7.5 oz. Gin & Diet Tonic – 115 Calories
- Jack Daniels (Single Shot) – 55 Calories
- 6 oz. Mud Slide – 560 Calories
- 9 oz. Mai Tai – 620 Calories
- 10 oz Margarita – 550 Calories
- 10 oz. Long Island Ice Tea – 543 Calories
- 12 oz. Piña Colada – 586 Calories
- Choosing a light beer will cut an average of 40 calories per bottle.
- When going with a mixed drink, blend the booze with diet soda or fruit juice instead of regular soda.
- Go easy on the shots. Individually they’re low in calories, but the numbers add up quickly if you start downing them in droves.
- Drink a glass of water for every cocktail you have. This will help fill you up so you aren't drinking alcohol to quench your thirst. Water will also keep you hydrated and minimize the effects of your hangover.
- Stay strong and stick to the pre-determined number of drinks you allowed yourself. Hopefully that number is in the single digits.
SNACK WITH CAUTION
Even if you pass up the booze it won’t mean squat if you binge on nachos and buckets of wings. Parties are breeding grounds for unhealthy food, but if you look hard you may just be able to find some healthy, low-fat options like raw veggies, fresh fruit, hummus, salads, salsa, nuts and bruschetta.
FILL UP BEFORE YOU GO
Don’t leave your house hungry. Hunger makes it tough to make smart food choices at a party. And when you’re freakin’ starving, all bets are off. The solution is simple—eat something healthy like whole grain bread with almond butter or a bowl of fibrous cereal with fresh fruit before leaving your house. A few glasses of water will also help to take the edge off your hunger.
DON'T BE A LAZY BASTARD
With all that partying who’s got time to exercise? You do! Unless your party schedule is on par with Charlie Sheen’s, you should be able to find some time to get in a few workouts or pick-up games to offset all the crappy food and booze we just told you not to consume.