We’re on the fast track to the holidays. Time crunches, holiday gatherings with lots of goodies, office parties and merriment are right around the corner. Before you belly up to the buffet table and drop the bar bells, try these pre-holiday tips to keep your workout on track.
Track Food Intake and Activity
Diets are particularly hard during the holiday so do yourself a favor, whether you’re dieting or not, spend a few minutes each day writing down what you’re eating. It will help you be more conscientious of your food choices and quantity. Splurges here and there are fine, but be careful that you aren’t overeating. Track your activity, as well. Even if a busy holiday schedule prevents you from spending hours a week in the gym, by writing down whatever activity you’re able to squeeze in, you’ll be able to see what you are accomplishing even though things are chaotic.
Plan your workouts for the week ahead. By writing your workouts into your calendar, you’ll be more likely to actually do them. Create a back-up plan for days you know might be extra busy rather than potentially having to ditch your workout completely.
Exercise First Thing in the Morning
Start each day out right and devote the first 20 to 30 minutes to exercise. You’ll experience fewer interruptions and it will help you fight food cravings throughout the day.
The Buddy System
Make a pact with a friend or group of friends. Even if you don’t work out together, checking in with each other and holding each other accountable can help you stay on track.
Staying on track doesn’t mean hour-long gym workouts. Just keep moving throughout the day. Every time you get up from your desk, stretch. Stand or move at least one minute every hour. Take a walk on your lunch hour or after work. Studies have shown that walking just over a mile a day or doing three to four minute bouts of high intensity exercise per week may be enough to help you maintain your weight and fitness level.
Focus on drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drink a large glass of water before each meal to prevent overindulging. Your brain can mistake thirst with hunger, which can lead to overeating.
Prep for Travel
If you’ll be spending the holidays away from home, decide on a quick and easy travel workout. It doesn’t need to be a high-quality workout to be effective. A simple routine consisting of three to five exercises you can do with no equipment in a very small space is enough to keep you on track until after the holidays. Try one-legged balance stands, push ups, walking lunges, bicycle crunches and back extensions. Doing two to three circuits with short rest breaks in between is great for cardio, maintaining muscle strength and endurance.
Give Yourself Permission to Splurge
It’s next to impossible to pass up all the holiday goodies and hearty meals. Allow yourself a small portion of those things you really, really want and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about it later.
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