Ours too, but all is not lost…
Except maybe a few essential minerals.
The post-holiday January blues are here, and they’re real. Blame it on the triumvirate: not enough sleep, a pile of stress, and a little (a lot…) more alcohol and sugar than usual. Your energy is depleted, the couch is incredibly comfortable, and those New Year’s resolutions already seem negotiable.
So what to do? How best to fight the blues and get back on track?
We figured we’re all in this together, so we talked to a few experts and made this list of five tips to up your energy, focus your workout, and maximize your January plan — thank you to our lifesavers, the health experts and trainers who keep us inspired and informed. Let’s get after it!
1. Make a List, Check it Twice
It’s not just for Santa: make a plan and stick to it. And no, this isn’t a New Year’s resolution, so get specific: figure out which days you can work out regularly, then find the times you can sneak in an extra sweat session. Add all this to your calendar.
After that, figure out how you can level up. If you’ve been practicing yoga for awhile, take the leap into an advanced class or schedule a retreat. If you’re a swimmer, add a few laps to your session. If you’re a runner, plan for a varied terrain run in the park or split up the distance with sprints. Whatever your workout pleasure, find a way to take the next step.
It can also help to plan for something new, to work a different set of muscles and a different region in your brain. Always wanted to try dance? Find a new studio. Curious about boxing? Schedule your first session!
2. Be Realistic
#Goals. We mean this in the most specific, measurable way possible. If adding laps to your swim is part of the plan, for example, don’t overreach by adding five new miles a day. This doesn’t mean you can’t think big, it just means you have to think smart: set a small goal you think is immediately achievable, then add a medium goal, and then an ultimate reach goal.
When asked about the number one rule for getting through the post-holiday slump, Amy Rosoff Davis, a celeb trainer who’s worked with Selena Gomez, had this to say: “Balance and self love! A lot of people get their mind set on big changes and a massive health overhaul in the New Year, but after a few weeks they go back to their old ways. Instead, set realistic goals that you can stick to, and be nice to yourself if you have a setback. When we are kind to ourselves the world can open up on ways we didn’t expect!”
3. Recover, Recover, Recover
Some pretty terrifying stuff has been happening to your body over the holidays. Gut health expert Dr. Amy Shah puts it this way: “Your bacteria are ravaged by alcohol, sugar, and toxins like preservatives. The tight junctions between cells are compromised so that the gut becomes ‘leaky’”. Not only do alcohol and sugar cause problems, so does ibuprofen (the savior becomes the culprit) and artificial colors and flavors (sprinkles and frosting).
How do you rebuild the gut and replace the minerals you’ve leaked? Hydration is important, and post-workout hydration is especially key. “Magnesium and potassium immediately come to mind,” says Shah.
Amy Rosoff Davis recommends this and more: “After all the delightful indulgent toxins of the holiday season, it’s important to make sure you refuel yourself with plenty of electrolytes, trace minerals, antioxidants and amino acids.” Those antioxidants (found in the amla berry and other fruits) are key in fighting oxidative stress.
Studies show that 92% of the U.S. population is overall nutrient-deficient, and 52% of the population is magnesium deficient. Given all the contributing factors, the deficit is probably greatest post-holiday. And given how high those numbers are, chances are you’re missing a few nutrients.
Heather Marr, a personal trainer, specializes in helping models maintain healthy lifestyles. She explains, “This is not the time to test your willpower. Set yourself up for success and rid the fridge and pantry of leftovers and other temptations. Focus on nourishing your body with lots of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and fruit.”
She also recommends a workout specifically for all that extra fun you had over the holidays: “Get back in the gym and back to heavy lifting. Put some of that glycogen to good use.”
5. It Takes Two — Or Three
Heather Marr says, “Getting back on track after the holidays is for many people a mental challenge more so than a physical one.” So why go it alone? Rally a friend to workout with you! If you’re meeting someone at the gym, you’ll be a lot less likely to cancel. And recent studies show that working out with a friend can double the intensity (and results) of your workout — bonus points if you pick a friend who can make you laugh! Studies have shown that laughing for 15 minutes a day can burn up to 40 calories. What’s not to love?