Ten tips for making fitness a holiday tradition
Tip #1: Celebrate!
To stay fit during the holidays, first of all, celebrate them! You -- and everyone else on the planet who works hard -- need recovery time. It's in our DNA to schedule ourselves some fun every once and a while. Otherwise, what kind of drones would we be?! Traditions drag us out of our work lairs and get us to the party so that we remember how to feel human. It’s no wonder we revere them.
Tip 2: Rethink holiday cookies.
Holiday cookies have been a way for people to appreciate and bond with each other since ancient times. In past eras they helped tide friends and family through the winter, but these days they just give us more sugar and bigger love handles. So take a fresh look at the true purpose of this tradition, which is really to share your holiday spirit with friends and family, and if you value your waistline, think of other ways to do it. Charades, monopoly, pageants, dancing and home movies are also holiday traditions, and you can always make up your own. Meanwhile, admire the prettily decorated cookies you're offered, and when you can, pass on them!
Tip #3: Carry yourself with great posture.
You’re seeing everyone you know, so let them know how you feel about life by standing up straight! What’s more, just keeping your chest lifted will make you look slimmer, even with a few cookies under your belt.
Tip #4: Zero out the extra sweets you do eat by foregoing your usual indulgences.
Weeks of eating party foods will result in most of those additional calories sticking to your body. Of course exercising will get rid of some of this excess, but it can't compensate for weeks of profligate merrimaking unless you're an Olympian-level athlete. So until January at least, take a holiday from whatever excesses you happen to get away with during the rest of the year, for example a daily caramel macchiato or jamba juice.
Tip #5: Eat regularly.
This is a well-worn piece of wisdom. I'm adding it onto this list because it’s easily forgotten when you’re frantically busy. A quick meal like one of hard boiled eggs and apples -- which comes in a convenient packet at Starbucks -- can safeguard you against the cycle of energy burnout and over-doing it.
Tip #6. Drink lots of water before attending parties.
Being well hydrated before a party will make your eyes and skin sparkle under the holiday lights, not to mention helping you moderate what you drink during the evening.
Tip #7: Pre-schedule your exercise for the rest of the month.
Put yourself down for at least three classes and/or workouts a week for the rest of the season. Then stick with them as much as possible, even when faced with present-wrapping and visiting relatives. In the end, you'll come out ahead with more energy and a calmer state of mind.
Tip #8: Exercise in bouts of at least one hour.
To stay lean while you might be eating a bit more than usual, exercise continuously for at least one hour each time you work out. The last half hour of your class or session will burn away stored fat so that you look your best in your party clothes and keep up your stamina for the hectic pace of the season.
Tip #9. Strengthen your back-of-the-body muscles.
Focus your triceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves during your workouts. Toned back-side muscles will make you look sensational in your silk, scoop-back party dress.
Tip #10: If you fall off the wagon, let it go.
Of course it's all too easy let exercise fall by the wayside during the holidays. If this happens to you, don't beat yourself up! The holidays are a time to be joyful and celebrate, come what may.
Happy Holidays to all!