‘Tis the season for calorie-laden family dinners filled with rich courses of unforgiving fare, parties with egg nog and adult beverages that contain your daily caloric intake and, oh yeah, don’t forget all the candy, snacks and donuts your co-workers insist on bringing into the office or the neighborly home-baked goodies. Combine that with the cold weather hindering your outdoor workouts and it’s almost as though our bodies and fitness are under strategic attack when it comes to celebrating the holidays. But never fear…we don’t have to take this lying down (unless of course it’s in preparation for some ab work or leg lifts)!

Here are 5 great tips to help keep your spirits high and your weight low during this holiday season:

fitness santa

  1. Wake up every morning to 5 – 10 minutes of calisthenics. Even if you plan to work out later in the day, exercises such as jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push-ups, high knees in place or other high-energy moves will spike your heart rate as well as your metabolism helping you burn up to 20% more calories throughout the day.
  2. Completely change your fitness routine during the holidays. If you are a runner, throw in a few days of weight lifting. If you are a weight lifter…jump on a treadmill or stationary bike. You can try a new yoga class or anything that is outside your standard fitness routine. This will force your body to adapt to a new stimulus therefore promoting a higher calorie burn.
  3. Add a little extra to each part of your workout. If you normally do 2 sets of an exercise, adding a 3rd set will completely shock your body and burn more calories. If you normally run 2-3 days a week, add a 4th day or an extra mile to one of the runs that week.
  4. Take up an active hobby during the holidays. Instead of sticking to the kitchen to bake holiday cookies, use your free time to take a ballroom dance class, go bowling, roller skating, take a martial arts class etc. – basically anything that will keep you actively moving and your heart rate up.
  5. Recruit a holiday fitness buddy. It is harder to slack off when someone else is also working out and counting on you to be there. Also, both of you will help each other be accountable — if one of you is feeling lazy that day, you can encourage each other. A fitness friend can also help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions.

BONUS:  If you keep your nutrition intact during the holidays and add one, two or all of these tips to your routine, you may actually find yourself even more fit and energetic this holiday season.

Paula Jamieson

Certified Fitness Trainer / Certified Fitness Nutritionist