6 Tips for Staying Fit During the Holidays

Brrrrrr! Today was frigid. Right down to the bone cold.

After a weekend of no physical activity and lots of food, I was ready to get back to the gym. But as much as I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to walk to the campus gym. That meant about 10 minutes walking in the freezing cold. Not going to happen today. P90X to the rescue!!

I’ve come to realize that going to the gym is half dedication and half willpower. I want the workout and I want the endorphins, enough that I fit a workout into my daily routine as much as humanly possible. However, I understand that it’s really difficult to get back into routine after the holidays and weekends of overeating.

We all know that Thanksgiving is a yearly excuse to overindulge and splurge on that second or third piece of pie, but this one day holiday – not to mention all the holiday parties that come after that – can easily be turned into weeks of lost gym time and unhealthy eating habits. No need to beat yourself up over your fourth helping of mashed potatoes, there are plenty of ways to get yourself back on track to keep those holiday pounds off.

1. Get back to your daily routine

All the prep, clean up, and shopping that comes along with the holiday season can interrupt your daily routine, but it only takes a few days to get back into the swing of things. Having a daily routine and setting out times dedicated to working out makes it easier to get motivated. Working out and staying active is essential to keeping holiday pounds off. For those of you who don’t exactly have a daily routine already, now is the time to make the commitment. Set some goals for yourself – even if they’re to just get in shape – and work toward those goals by exercising on a daily basis.

2. Go hard.

Putting off your workouts for a few days won’t necessarily make your pant size go up, but it might make your stamina go down. Rev up your work out so you burn more calories per hour, or add 10-15 minutes onto your cardio. Increasing the intensity of your workout will help burn more calories and fat, and adding a few extra minutes will help shed the pounds.

3. Incorporate weights into your workout.

Although most people lift weights solely for appearance, “pumping iron” also increases metabolism. The reason for this is simply because more muscle burns more fat. This increased metabolism not only helps burn off calories, but makes it easier for your body to burn off food quicker as you consume it. Stronger muscles can also help make aerobic activities more intense, ultimately burning more calories then too!

4. Nutrition.

It’s okay to splurge once in a while, aka holidays, but there’s no reason to continue eating leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast. Keep the sweets to a minimum, and try to focus on whole grains, vegetable, fruits, and protein. Use this time between now and New Years to control what you eat. Also, remember that your stomach may have expanded just a tad over Thanksgiving break, so it thinks it needs more food to be full. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day to just satisfy your hunger and help get your stomach back its normal size.

5. Drink water.

Drinking the recommended amount of water, or more, everyday has so many benefits. It improves your immune system, skin, cell reproduction, organs, reduces fatigue, and much more. It’s especially good for cleansing out toxins and wastes, such as sugars, alcohols, and food chemicals you might have overindulged in over the past week. Be sure to have several glasses of water throughout the day mainly between meals and after a good workout to cleanse your system and keep it running smooth.

6. Too cold to go outside?

Stay in and do an in-home workout. Even if it’s a few sets of crunches, weights, pushups, jumping jacks, and jogging in place, every little bit helps. My favorites are Tae Bo, P90X, or yoga in the comfort of my very own home.

More holidays are right around the corner, and now is the best time to re-start (or kick-start) your fitness routine. Don’t wait until after the holidays to burn off the extra winter pounds; starting now will make it easier to keep off any unwanted weight. It might be difficult to get a regime started, but trust me, you’ll be happy you did!