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How To Thrive During The Holidays

Another year end is soon upon us. This is a time of year where people often get ‘off track’ in terms of health and fitness. Between travel, holiday office parties, and endless family meals, it’s difficult to maintain the discipline to keep up that health and fitness you worked so hard throughout the year to attain. Here are some simple tricks to thrive – not just survive – the holidays:

  • Use travel to get in unique workouts. Try a new sport (kitesurfing, tennis, etc.), bike or walk around your destination, check out the hotel gym and try new equipment. Mixing it up keeps things interesting and allows you to take advantage of resources usually not available to you.

  • Be active with a friend. Brother in law in town? Traveling with friends? Recruit a new workout buddy. Challenge each other. Teach him/her some new exercises, and learn a few from them. Make a friendly wager (push up contest, etc.). Then reward yourselves afterwards! It is always easier to workout when you have you have someone motivating and holding you accountable.

  • Drink lots of water before any big meal. Water fills you up, lessening the chance of overeating. If you are drinking alcohol or some other non-water beverage (egg nog, juice, etc.), have one glass of water for every glass of alternate beverage.

  • Graze. It takes your stomach a while to catch up to realize it’s full, which is why people stuff themselves during holiday meals, only to regret it shortly thereafter. So take very small portions; you can always go back for more. Think in terms of tasting the different foods – often a little bit is all you need to be satisfied.

  • Do a workout first thing in the morning. One of my favorite things to do is a long run early Thanksgiving or X-mas morning. There is something about the energy in the air. People are out strolling along the beach (at least here in SoCal), the mood is positive…. As others are sleeping or starting up their day, get out there and do a super easy long run, bike, walk, etc. You commence the day in a caloric deficit and have a ‘pass’ to eat what you want the rest of the day (that said, you are actually less likely to over eat having worked out earlier…and still keep the above tips in mind).

  • Just do a little something active. Don’t have time, or the resources, for a solid workout? Do something short and simple – go for a walk, do jumping jacks, push ups, crunches…even 20 minutes of something will make a difference physically, and increase the chances you don’t overeat later.

The holidays are a great time of year to be with friends and family, reflect on the year just passed, and set goals for the year ahead. Don’t let the hard work you’ve done for the prior 11 months get offset by 4 – 6 weeks of not working out and gorging. Balance in life is a good thing. Strive to keep a basic routine going through the holidays. Use the realities of your situation – travel, family in town, etc. – to your advantage. Encourage a relative from the Midwest to go for a walk witih you. Win-win-win: you get time to catch up, you help her stay fit and explore your hometown, and you get some exercise in at the same time. By staying disciplined, organized, and creative, you can emerge in January 2018 as the healthiest, fittest version of yourself ever.

Stay Disciplined My Friends!

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