Let’s face it, the Holiday’s seem to start earlier every year. The Holiday season sure lasts longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas. For many of us, once we hit Thanksgiving we are in the thick of things with the Holiday hustle and bustle. It is easy at this time of the year to neglect our own health. So instead of the Twelve Days of Christmas I offer you the Twelve Fitness Hacks (not Days) of Fitness, for this Holiday season.
1. Have a plan. Be sure to have well laid out plans for your workouts, whether running or strength training, or whatever you choose. Having a plan can help make you less likely to miss a session and stay consistent with your training. For example if you are doing a long run on weekend but are too busy, rather than skip it, try to squeeze it in during the week. Just because you always do a long run or workout on a certain day does mean you always need to. http://www.on-your-marc.com/boost-your-running-with-polarized-cardio-training/
That being said, do not beat yourself up for a missed a workout, you may be feeling run down, tired, etc, so listen to your body and make up the workout. Allow yourself a bit of flexibility and it might save you some stress and guilty feelings.
2. Eat healthy at all times where you control the menu. If you will be eating at home all week, but have a party on Saturday, eat healthy at all the meals you control. If you stay with your healthy eating that one party should not undo all your gains, or throw you off your diet, and healthy eating plan.
3. Snack on healthy food before a party or Holiday outing. If you fill up beforehand with healthy food you will not likely cheat or overeat when you hit the buffet table and if you do you won’t eat as much of the less healthy options.
4. Sign up for a Holiday themed run. There are plenty of themed raced to go around this time of the year. Do not focus on how fast or slow you go, but rather focus on the positives. You are out there getting exercise, burning calories, and raising money for charities as many of these races support local soup kitchens, etc. http://www.runningintheusa.com is a great resource to find races, along with www.bibrave.com. Bibrave has race recaps and reviews to help you make an informed choice of which race is best for you. Or if you are traveling see if there are running tours. It can be a great way to explore a new city and maintain your fitness simultaneously. One great example of a running tour is www.rivercityrunsa.com
5. Get plenty of rest. People who do not get enough rest tend to overeat. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20110323/sleepy-people-overeat
6. Do not forget to account for the alcohol you drink. Alcohol has calories and they can quickly add up. Too much alcohol can slow your metabolism, add up in extra unwanted calories, and lessen your resolve regarding healthy choices. Excess alcohol can also interfere with your recovery from tough training sessions.
7. Manage your stress levels. With shopping, parties, family obligations, and whatever, your stress levels can get high. This can then raise your level of cortisol which is a stress hormone. Find some quite time to read, or do some yoga. Maybe this is a great time to begin meditation. There is a great album on iTunes I have used. It is by Emmett Miller and is called “Letting Go of Stress”. I particularly like using track one, “Tension Relaxation.”
8. Check with your doctor first but increasing levels of Vitamin D has been shown to help improve mood as the days continue to only get shorter and can also help ward off illness.
9. This is an oldie but goodie and still relevant. Focus on eating smaller more frequent meals. Do not let yourself become so ravenously hungry as that can make it harder to stay focused on healthy choices and your discipline. Be sure to add in some healthy fat as well. It can help you feel sated and help maintain those important omega-3 levels.
10. Take part in some form of vigorous exercise daily. Continue to build muscle, maintain strength and burn calories right through the month of December and blast into those New Year’s resolutions with a roaring head start.
11. Do not feel bad about selfish. Sometimes you just cannot go to that party or Holiday gathering. You may be feeling under the weather, or just in need of a workout. You cannot be everywhere at once. Sometimes you have to take care of yourself to take care of others.
12. Stay hydrated. It can be easy to forget now that the temperatures in most areas are much cooler than they were even a short month ago. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
Also keep in mind drinking alcohol can dehydrate you, (think hangover). Following the 1-1 rule can help. For every alcoholic drink you have be sure to chase that with a glass of water. You might end up curbing your alcohol intake by following this rule, and avoid a Holiday hangover.
Bonus (gift) Tip: Take packets of Stevia with you so when you order that Peppermint Mocha Latte thingy you do not need to add in even more sugar or unnatural Splenda to your beverage.
I hope these easy to implement tips help you through the coming month of December. Have a wonderful and blessed Holiday season! Stay happy and healthy!