Stay fit and motivated during the holidays

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WITH the expected gastronomic treats that await for people to consume during the holidays, it’s really hard to resist the temptation of indulging. What the heck? It’s the holidays! Everyone deserves a holiday treat.

But unlike visiting relatives, weight can creep up over the holidays and may never leave.

According to the fourth annual holiday survey by Herbalife Nutrition, it revealed that Americans expect to gain 8 pounds at the end of this season, and a whopping 64 percent of them are actively planning to delay attempts to be healthy until the New Year.

This is a 9-percent jump from 2020 and a 23-percent spike from 2019.

However, this may be due in part to the stress of the past year and a half, where 65 percent felt like they “deserve” treats this year, more so than in other years, because of the pandemic and the added stress it brought.

However, there are strategies to avoid stress eating, and while indulging in a treat or two is okay, holiday meals don’t have to destroy your healthy lifestyle.

Since nutrition, mental health and exercise all play a role in our overall well-being, it’s important to keep fitness in mind even during the holidays.

So how does one stay motivated to keep fit during the holidays? According to Samantha Clayton, OLY, ISSA-CPT and Vice President of Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness of Herbalife Nutrition, while it’s not easy to pass up all the holiday cheer, exercise and mindful eating can help one stay lean and healthy and avoid gaining weight.

Below are some of Clayton’s favorite tools and tricks to keep her on track with her fitness goals during the holidays:

1. Get creative.

Use items at home to add additional weighted resistance to your routines, she said. For example, books in a backpack serve as a great practical way to add weight to squats. On the other hand, water-filled laundry detergent containers work really well as a substitute for a kettlebell, and a towel on a hard surface works well in place of sliding disks. “Adding weight to your routine helps you build lean muscle, which is great for a toned look and good for boosting your metabolism,” Clayton explained.

2. Track your progress for motivation.

Consider getting a tracking device for the holidays. Clayton said having the ability to monitor daily, weekly, or monthly activity levels makes it easier to accomplish fitness goals. A low-cost item like a pedometer, she said, can be effective, and of course, there are the more technical options that cost a little more – like Garmin, Fit Bits, and Apple Watches – that allow people to add in an element of competition with family and friends.

3. Boost your angles.

Changing the angle of an exercise can help to place additional stress on targeted muscles. As an example, performing a push-up with the feet elevated places more stress on the chest muscles. According to Clayton, the same is true for making exercises easier for beginners: doing a push-up using a table or placing hands on a wall to keep the feet below the chest will reduce the gravity and make an exercise easier.

4. Try Free, Online Workouts.

Performing exercise in combination with balanced nutrition will improve one’s overall sense of well-being, improve body composition, and positively impact body confidence. She pointed to free workouts available online that can provide the flexibility to fit in fitness when it is most convenient, including during the busy holiday season.

5. Listen to new music.

There’s nothing quite like fun, new music to give that boost to get off the couch, run that extra mile, or push through a heavy lifting session. Clayton told that people can simply download new tunes, trade playlists with a friend, or reshuffle their existing library to keep workouts interesting, or can even be mixed up with favorite holiday tunes.

6. Try mini stretch bands.

Inexpensive mini stretch bands, which come in various resistance levels, can be anyone’s best buddy to help warm up the hips, glutes, shoulders, and back, or use them for a fast and effective resistance routine.

7. Get new running shoes.

Poor weather conditions, Clayton said, can make the ground slippery, so having running shoes with good tread at this time of the year is important. “Look for new models during the holidays, and take advantage of all those holiday sales,” she suggested.

8. Run with reflective clothing.

Winter nights come early and get cold, even here in the Philippines where it gets colder in the early mornings at this time of the year. “When you invest in warm running gear with reflective panels or strips, you’ll be safer and warmer during your outdoor workout.”

9. Jump rope.

Jumping rope is a good old-fashioned way to warm up and get your heart rate going. Warming up for 10 minutes can also help prevent injury. “You can use an interval-style training method and use your jump rope for your entire routine,” she recommended.

10. Control hunger with protein snacks.

Finally, aside from practicing mindful eating, consuming a healthy protein-rich snack before attending holiday parties will help anyone feel full, curb unnecessary party snacking, and give a little energy boost.

“Every little bit you do to stay focused on your fitness before and during the holidays will help you afterward. Consider each good choice you make as a gift to your future self,” Clayton concluded.

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