TEN WAYS TO STAY FIT OVER THE HOLIDAYS
Author: The experts at Morgan Boxing and Fitness Date Posted:17 November 2020
The holiday season is enough to get sidetracked from a fitness routine you've worked hard to maintain for almost a year. With family obligations, party invites, delicious food, and tempting treats, even the most dedicated gym junkie can easily turn into a slacker with a slowly expanding waistline.
Weight gain over the holidays
Without a healthy diet and exercise, we tend to put on weight throughout adulthood. While gradual and moderate weight gain may seem natural, an increase in weight can have serious health consequences. It has been found that people tend to gain considerably more during the holidays. Here are some important statistics:
Breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state. (lifehack.org)
The 2019 survey shows that the average Australian can gain up 3 kilograms of weight over the Christmas period. (livelighter.com.au)
On Christmas day alone, an individual might consume 6,000 calories: three times the recommended daily allowance. (www.bmj.com)
Out of the 34 OECD countries, Australia ranks 5th highest in obesity rate over the past ten years. (www.oecd.org)
Ways to stay fit and manage weight
It is easy to give in to the inevitable extra pounds we'll carry around after Christmas season when the statistics show that we're not alone.
So how can you accommodate the holiday period without altering your exercise routines? Here are some helpful tips you can use to avoid weight gain.
Make a schedule
It's important to make a schedule to help you stay on track with your fitness goals. Make a note of which days you're invited to a party and schedule your workouts and healthy meal preps around that. Having a schedule helps you stay focus on maintaining the weight you worked hard for all year.
Keep a diary
It might seem like too much work but keeping a fitness diary is one of the most effective ways of keeping your fitness plans. Write it down or use an app such as activity trackers, or fitness watches can help you keep tabs on how often you exercise. When you track your progress, it makes you more conscious of unhealthy habits and motivates you not to get sidetracked.
Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your weight management goals. People who are sleep deprived are hungrier and often have less energy to exercise. Additionally, not getting enough sleep is linked to lower metabolism; thus your body will store excess fat which contributes to weight gain.
Stock up on healthy snacks
If you've been keeping up with Christmas dinner plans, you'll know right off the bat whether you have to pack up some healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day. A protein shake is a great low calorie option mid-morning or afternoon. This prevents you from overeating at Christmas parties or family dinners.
Another useful tip is eating only half of the less nutritious food being served while saving the other half for another day (and don't go back for seconds). This way, you don't miss out on sampling all the delicious treats.
Choose healthy beverages
When drinking at a party, avoid high-calorie beverages such as soda, juices, tonic and other fancy cocktails. If you choose to drink, stick with low-calorie alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, sparkling wine, or extra brut champagne.
You'll also probably want to resist seasonal sugary drinks such peppermint hot chocolate, caramel apple spice or gingerbread lattes if you can help it.
High-Intensity Interval training
When you're enjoying spending holiday traditions with your family and friends, it may be challenging to fit in a full-hour of gym time. We recommend trying out 20 to 30 minutes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts three times a week. Make sure to choose exercises that allow you to move as many body parts as possible instead of focusing on a single muscle group each time.
Doing higher intensity exercises for as little as two days a week can prevent declines in cardiovascular fitness for up to three weeks. For successful HIIT workouts, you'll be needing five things:
1) Resistance bands
2) Medicine balls
3) Jump ropes
4) Ab roller wheel
5) Weight bag
This HIIT approach with the use of this portable equipment is ideal to fit in a workout session at home in minimal time.
Drink plenty of water
Studies found that adults who drink two glasses of water before meals lose about 5 pounds of weight over 12 weeks and naturally led to eating less. Drinking water helps you resist the temptation of eating sugary foods and drinks, which may interfere with your attempts at controlling your weight.
Drinking plenty of waters makes you feel partly full before you start eating and at the same time has zero calories, so it makes you eat fewer calories during a meal.
Keep your normal routine
It is not unusual to see the Christmas as a time to get a well-deserved break, not only from work but from your diet and fitness routine. However, much as you want to spend most of your time sleeping in, partying, drinking and dining out, it is important to still keep to your normal routine of diet and exercise. People who can maintain a regular diet and exercise routine have more success in managing their weight.
Find an exercise buddy
Recruit a family member or a friend for a group exercise to motivate yourself over the holidays. You don't necessarily need to work out together in the same place. Knowing that you have someone checking in on your workout sessions will make you think twice about skipping it.
If you can't find anyone you know, who is not a couch potato, head on to find a support network online. There are many workout challenges in fitness communities, forums and other fitness-oriented sites you can count on.
Engage in recreational activity
Some people associate the festive season as the time to engage in recreational activities with family members. Hiking, climbing, skiing are popular choices and are enjoyable ways to stay fit and healthy. Before trying out any strenuous activities or sports that you don't usually do which may cause a sudden increase in heart rate, make sure to have your fitness level checked first by your doctor or sports trainer.
These tips are great if you have the right mindset. Resisting the temptations will be a challenge if healthy eating, effective fitness routine, and regular rests are practices you do not normally do. So before the holiday starts kicking in create a manageable regular and healthy routine.
 LiveLighter's annual Shape of Australia survey (2019) analysed the health, nutrition and physical activity behaviours of more than 2,000 Australians aged 18-55
 12 tips for holiday eating. Harv Heart Lett. 2007;18(3):8. [Abstract]