Now that the holidays are quickly coming upon us, its more important than ever to make sure that you’re taking time to get your workouts in. I know this can be easier said than done, but even if you need to get up earlier, workout during your lunch break or after work, now is not the time to stop exercising and eating right. Due to the many holiday festivities that will be going on, at work, your home or with family and friends, and they are strongly centered on food, you need to make sure that you’re not only armed with exercise and nutrition strategies but also how to implement them without compromising your holiday festivities.
Healthy Eating During the Holidays
Before you automatically start eating, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Am I truly hungry?
- Is it the smartest choice I can make?
- How much of it do I really need?
By asking yourself these questions, prior to putting food on your plate, or in your mouth, you’ll be able to make better choices and it only takes a few seconds to ask and answer those questions.
It’s very easy to overeat during the holidays and did you know that the average holiday meal can easily contain more than 3,000 calories! This doesn’t include any alcoholic beverages, nibble foods or food tasting, which can easily add on an additional 1,500 calories!
Before a Party or Get Together:
- Pre-Holiday Meal: Make sure you eat a little bit of protein (promotes a feeling of fullness) and carbohydrate (energy foods) to take the edge off before leaving the house. You’ll not eat as much if you’re already feeling slightly full.
- Quench Your Hunger with Water! Water helps you to feel full and can help the body burn more calories by increasing your metabolic rate. Some studies have shown that the body can (and often does) confuse hunger with thirst. Instead of starting with eating first (hunger), give your body 1-2 glasses of cold water.
- Alcohol and Sodas: If possible, decrease or eliminate all consumption of alcoholic beverages. Before drinking any alcoholic (or sugary) beverages, both which have empty calories and are not good for your body, drink a glass of cold water first. Cold water will give you a feeling of fullness, so that you’re not inclined to drink as quickly (or at all).
- Nibbling and Snacks: When eating snacks during a party, distance yourself from the tables where all the food is. By staying close to the food, you’re more inclined to just reach out and eat without thinking too much about what you’re putting in your body.
- At a Buffet: When eating at a buffet, choose smaller plates. This will help to control how much food you’re actually able to put on your plate. A bonus is that if you’re still hungry after eating, get in a little walk and some socializing before eating again.
- Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables: Gravitate towards the fruits and vegetable options while eating starchy carbs, sugary and fattening desserts in limited portions. Remember that vegetables, especially broccoli, spinach and some fruits are rich in fiber, which will give you a feeling of fullness. You can add a small side of ranch dressing and drizzle some on your vegetables, instead of dunking your vegetables into your dressing. You’ll save on calories and extra fat.
- Holidays are not the time to indulge in an all-you-can-eat buffet: Making a conscious decision to include plenty of raw and fresh or steamed vegetables (without gravy, cheese, butter or other fattening toppings). Eat slowly while savoring the taste and texture of your food and stop when you start feeling full, not after you’re full.
- Side Dishes – Great in taste, bad for the waist! For the upcoming year, try to make better choices when choosing your side dishes. Take smaller portions in order to try different dishes and of course eat in moderation.
- Let them eat Cake…or Pie: Holiday desserts always seem to taste better when you’re watching calories. The goal is not to fill up on them. When you find something especially tasty, share with a friend or spouse. Having your dessert can give you the double satisfaction of eating a great dessert while still being conscious of your portions.
Make a date with your favorite person (yourself) and keep on track with your workouts. Regardless of if you have to workout earlier, change your training sessions to 30 minutes (with your Personal Trainer’s permission), or take a new class, make sure to stick to your workout!
It’s more important than ever (especially during the holidays) to stay on track with your fitness and exercise goals. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but if you plan it just right, you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays without any or minimal weight gain…woohoo!
- Got 60? Awesome! Take a cardio class, circuit training, workout with your trainer, workout with your friends or go for a jog, walk, run or hike. You’ll feel better and your mind will be clearer to tackle whatever may come your way.
- Got 45? Mix it Up! Add in a yoga or Pilates class once or twice a week to help center yourself and stay focused and grounded. As the holidays can be stressful, taking one of these classes whether indoors or outside is an awesome way to de-stress yourself.
- Got 30? Running short on time? How about a run? If the weather is not amicable, pop in one of your workout videos or put some music on and dance your way to happiness!
- Got 20? Hit a 30 second HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)! Mix in an upper-body, lower-body, cardio circuit routine (see sample below). If you don’t have the equipment, you can always use a medicine ball or resistance bands since these exercises are definitely gym friendly.
20-Minute Holiday Circuit Workout
To stay in shape during the holidays, try this easy but very effective 20-minute workout either at home or at the gym. * Start with a 5-minute warm-up and do 1 set of each exercise for 15 reps or 30 seconds each. Complete the entire circuit 1-3 x’s:
- Squats and Shoulder Press (quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, delts)
- Seated or Bent-Over Rows (back, shoulders, biceps)
- Lunges (quads, hams, calves, glutes)
- Push-ups or Dumbbell Chest Press (pecs, delts , triceps)
- Reverse Lunges with Bicep Curls (quads, hams, calves, glutes, biceps)
- Cardio: 2 minutes – running in place, marching, jump rope, step ups
- Jump Squats (quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes core)
- Tricep Kickback or Tricep Pull-Downs (triceps)
- Plie Squats (quads, hams, calves, glutes, adductions (inner thighs)
- Cardio: 2 minutes running in place, marching, jump rope,step up, machines
- **Finish up with the following ab exercises:
- Bicycles (25-30 reps) (lower, upper abs, internal/external obliques, core)
- Planks (30-60 seconds) (core)
Until next time, happy holidays and keep moving and keep your motivation high!