Keep Up Your Fitness This Holiday Season
Don't use the season as an excuse to overindulge
It's so easy to gain weight during the holiday season, with cookies at work, and decadent treats everywhere. It's important to maintain your fitness routine and not let the holiday temptations get the best of you.
Studies show that a whopping 75% of annual weight gain takes place in the US during the holiday season, according to Texas Tech. But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are simple ways to stay in shape during the holidays.
Make each calorie count
If you want to keep off excess weight during the holidays, you don't have to totally deprive yourself. Moderation is the key.
Kristen Trukova, a registered dietician at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, shared her suggestions on how to stay in shape this season:
- Moderate alcohol intake at holiday parties. Opportunities to indulge and overindulge abound during the holidays. Excessive or frequent alcohol intake can reduce immune function and increase susceptibility to illness. Choose no more than one to two drinks per day and balance alcohol intake with a glass of sparkling water to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid empty calories. Beverages such as juices, punches and of course alcohol provide significant calories, typically at least 120 calories in 8 oz. It's also important to keep in mind that liquids don't typically help us to feel full as solid food does. That often leads to drinking more calories in fluid without decreasing intake of snacks to find balance.
- Flavored or infused waters and teas are a nice alternative. Try fresh berries, slices of cucumber and of course citrus to perk up water.
- Continue to eat regular meals. Preparing for the holidays can be stressful and busy, leaving less time for meal preparation or cause us to forget a meal altogether. Eating regular meals provides energy through the day and helps prevent overeating at the next meal. Taking time for a meal also increases the likelihood of including fruits and vegetables to provide balance and nutrition.
- Take time to truly savor each bite of the indulgent foods that you choose. Eat slowly and enjoy the texture, flavor and smell of each food. Not only does eating slowly help us avoid overeating, enjoying each food improves how satiated we feel. Make each bite worth the calories.
Maintain your exercise routine
If you're visiting family out of town, that's no reason to skip your workout. Brian Weller and Dustin Martin, co-owners and instructors at Barry's Bootcamp Boston, shared their tips on how to work out the most effectively during the holidays while at home and once you're traveling for the season:
- Up and at 'em excuses add up as the day goes on. You probably won't want to break a sweat after fighting the mall crowds or after a long day at work, so knock a workout off your to-do list early on.
- Be realistic. You don't have to bust out a 5-mile run right off the bat. Even a quick run or walk around the block is great. Every little bit helps, and getting that heart pumping is what you want.
- Forget the add-ons. If you tell yourself you can't work out due to lack of a gym membership or the equipment, you¹re kidding yourself. All you need is you - burpees, jumping jacks, planks, lunges. Trust us, nothing fancy required.
- Explore your surroundings whether you're visiting friends far away, heading home to your folks', or staying local. Take the opportunity to discover some place new. Go for a walk, hike, run, whatever. You never know what you might find.
Grab a buddy. Chances are you're not the only one who wants to battle the bulge or get back into gear after a big holiday dinner party. Social sweats are one of our favorite ways to catch up with family and friends. Finally, if you need a little extra motivation to get off the couch (some studies have shown an average winter weight gain of 5-7 lbs per person), here are our favorite moves for a successful workout:
- 60 seconds alternating backward lunges
- 60 seconds squats
- 30 second squat hold
- 60 seconds bicycle crunches
- 60 seconds vertical toe touch
- 60 seconds plank
- 60 seconds pushups
- 60 seconds superman lifts
- 30 second superman hold
(Repeat through 3x, and get your heart rate up in between with 20 burpees.)