Staying in Shape During the Holidays

As much as you might look forward to the holidays throughout the year, they do bring with them a few fairly large roadblocks when it comes to your training. First of all, there’s the weather. Plus there’s the added stress of being around family and having to make sure everything is just right. Plus, the food isn’t exactly what we would consider “healthful.” And all of that is on top of the fact that plenty of holiday-centric events start popping up between work and school that can take away from your training time. In fact, according to the University of Texas, some people gain as much as 7 pounds over the holidays. So, to help you avoid the annual weight gain, we’ve compiled some tips for staying in shape during the holidays.



Since all the major events are pretty much done for the season, now’s the time to give some attention to other training modalities. Taking some classes at the gym in something you don’t have a lot of experience with is a great way to round out your training, learn something new and stay out of the cold.

Taking some time off from your primary sport can also help you avoid overuse injuries in the long-term. This is especially true if you can take this forced indoor time to hit the weights. Strength training can improve your performance and muscular endurance regardless of what sport you normally compete in. Weightlifting has the added benefit of boosting your metabolism for a few days after your workout. That could be a valuable little change when it comes to all these holiday treats.


Control Your Appetite

Keep in mind that your regular workouts will help to suppress your appetite so they are incredibly important for you to keep up. Unfortunately, social pressure can still get the best of you and you might find yourself chowing down on food you don’t really want. So piling up on all the natural ways to limit your appetite might just be enough incentive to help you limit how many things you “just try.”

Drink a full 16oz glass of water before every meal. The water will fill you up and make you less hungry, taking up room that would normally be left vacant for all those foods you’re trying to avoid.

I know it sounds a little ridiculous but simply slowing down could also help reduce how much you eat by the end of your meal. The hormones that control your appetite, leptin and ghrelin, take time to do their jobs and get their message to the brain. If you eat too quickly, you might find that you’ve over eaten before you even realized it.

One more little psychological game you can play with your appetite involves cleaning your teeth. Think about it: If you immediately went and did a really thorough cleaning – brush, floss and rinse – the thought of cramming down any more food doesn’t seem all that appealing anymore, does it?

These are just a few ways to stay active and fit during the holidays. Please share your tips in the comments!






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About jonathan.thompson

Jonathan Thompson is a Certified Personal Trainer and Running Coach with the American Council on Exercise, specializing in nutrition. In addition to his real-world experience working with clients, his articles and blogs on fitness advice have been published on many websites and magazines.