After more than 15 years in the fitness industry I am still amazed how often people put off starting a workout program until “next year.” Before you consider shutting it down during the holidays consider the following fact: Americans gain an average of 5 – 10 lbs. during the holiday season and never lose the weight! To put it into a larger perspective, over a course of five years, the holiday indulgence alone could result in 25 – 50 lbs. of weight gain!
Now before you chime in with, “But Jason, the holidays are so busy with, work parties, and family engagements, not to mention all of the temptations!” I completely understand and agree that you should be able to indulge, but within reason! Plus, that is an even better reason to start or continue your workout program. Worse case scenario, you gain no weight and create positive momentum going into the New Year. Best case scenario, you actually lose weight, finish the year strong, and become even more motivated come January!
Here are my top five tips for surviving the holiday season and starting the new year now!
Tip 1 Shorten your workouts: Remember that some is always better than none! If you don’t have time to work out for an hour, shorten your workout to 20 – 30 minutes. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Doing circuit training with weights or running intervals on the treadmill are fast and effective ways to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
Tip 2 Combine Strength & Cardio into One Workout: This goes hand-in-hand with tip #1. Alternating a strength exercise with a cardio exercise is an effective way to get the best of both worlds. Perform 3 sets of the following circuit for 1 minute each with little to no rest between exercises:
1. Pushups 2. Jump rope 3. Cable rows 4. Jumping jacks 5. Body weight lunges 6. Rowing machine
Tip 3 Find a Workout Partner: Using the buddy system works wonders for staying consistent. It creates a sense of accountability by both parties. Plus, there is always the tendency to push a little harder when you have a partner involved. Just make sure you find a partner that is reliable!
Tip 4 Fill up on Healthy Food Before the Party: There will always be guilty pleasures at all times around the holiday season. Filling up on healthy food and water prior to the party will lead to less calorie consumption during social engagements!
Tip 5 Eat to Mild Fullness: We’ve all experienced it. Eating our holiday feast to the point to where we feel like we’re the stuffed turkey sitting on the dining room table. This year try eating smaller portions instead of piling as much food as possible onto your plate. There will always be plenty of leftovers to go back for a couple of hours later! On a scale of ten, shoot for a 5-6 in fullness. Your waistline (and digestive system) will thank you for it!