By Darren Becket, Health and Fitness Expert, Personally Tailored Fitness
I’ll be the first one to admit that colder weather and days with less sunlight make it harder for me to stay focused on my fitness. Endless holiday parties and family get-togethers don’t make it any easier. On top of that, the colder weather gives me more of an appetite. Staying fit over the holidays, and avoiding starting the new year with an extra 5 or 10 pounds, requires a strategy. The good news is sticking to a fitness plan over the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are my 5 biggest holiday fitness tips.
- Workout with Friends
For most of us, the holidays are a social time, whether you visit family or travel with friends. Make a pact with your traveling companion or a health-conscious relative to engage in physical activity at least twice a week. Have fun with it. Gym workouts are great, but sports and games can make exercise feel like playtime.
- Keep Your Brain in a High-Performance State
The secret to making good food choices is awareness. Before showing up at the big company holiday bash or family get-together, spend 5 to 10 minutes getting focused on your highest priorities. If health and feeling and looking good matter to you, then remind yourself of this before you’re enveloped by the sight and smell of lots of people eating heavy foods and drinking. Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes for a one-minute meditation, or even do a short burst of exercise to remind yourself that mindful eating is pivotal to your health and vitality.
- Prep Your Body
When your body is properly prepped for the consumption of food, it does a much better job of burning fat. Within a 15-minute window of eating, complete 90 seconds of intense physical exercise. Examples are: 30 seconds of squats, followed by 30 seconds of pushups, followed by 30 seconds of mountain climbers; 90 seconds of jumping jacks; or for those less mobile, 90 seconds of marching in place. The point is to get the heart rate up and your metabolism active.
- Say No to Gatherings That Won’t Make You Feel Good
Your emotional health is a key player in staying fit. When we attend events and gatherings that we know are likely to leave us feeling blue, consider saying no. Yes, we may feel an obligation to attend, but remember that your state of mind affects your health. It’s easy to eat in excess when you feel sad, anxious or depressed. Honor your feelings, and make this a healthy holiday.
- Don’t Eat After 9 p.m.
If I had to choose one routine that I stick to the most during the holiday season, it’s this. Avoid eating after 9 p.m. This helps in so many ways. Most parties run late, and this one simple rule saves you from overindulging on foods that don’t support your health or vitality. Going to bed on a full stomach is a surefire way to gain weight. By stopping to eat by 9 p.m., your stomach gets extra time to digest food before you fall asleep.
Darren Becket is a health and fitness expert who loves helping people step into their potential for greatness. He works closely with clients to create unique programs to meet each individual’s needs. Personally Tailored Fitness includes personal training, massage therapy, stress management and nutritional services.