3 Steps to Stay Active During the Holiday Season

By Kaitlyn Braddock M.S. CSCS

The time of year has rolled around where you might be thinking: this is going to be the least I weigh for the REST of the year! Although on average this is true, this theory does not have to be in the cards for you.

We all know that during Thanksgiving you probably consume more calories on average per meal than any other time of the year, but the question is how to work off those unwanted pounds that we regret every year.

The first step is to create a holiday plan. Take care of yourself first! Starting the Sunday before your big family gathering, take a look at your week, including meals, meetings, work related events, family related events and the times and days of each. Once you have something written out you can actually visualize what you have going on versus just what is in your mind and an event popping up because you forgot about it.

The second step is to create a meal plan for the meals leading up to the holidays. Try to cook as much as you can at home, you need to clean out the refrigerator for all the upcoming food and leftovers anyways. Get creative but try to stay light. Those extra calories from stress eating will not help that holiday weight gain! Diet is about 85 percent of your health journey so this is key during the holiday months.

The third step is to move as much as you possible can to burn off as many calories as you can. It is recommended to get 40-60 minutes of moderate activity a day for a heart healthy life. Activities would include: walking (incline is a personal favorite), jogging, or going on a bike ride. All of these activities can include your family, which is perfect for those Sunday family members who will be staying all week.

As you read this and look at your schedule for the week I am sure you are thinking: How could I possibly have time for all of this? There is no way I could add in a workout. To this I say “NO PROBLEM.” High intensity interval training (a.k.a. HIIT) is the best time-saver program to exist in the fitness world. I personally love it! If you have 30 minutes in your day and you would like the added benefits of cardiovascular training then look at a workout like this:

Tabata Training: Eight rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest

Exercises include: burpees, step ups, push- ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, lunges, ski jumps, plank and leg raises.

Holidays can be a time of family and fun but it is also a time of stress and lack of sleep. Remember the reason for the season, to be gracious for what you have and thankful for the memories you can make. Be gracious for the body that allows you to move every day and the ability to spend time with your family. Family workouts can be a great opportunity to bond and adventure into new places within your community like the lake and parks.

About the Author

Kaitlyn Braddock received her Masters in Exercise Science from Texas State University and is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Kaitlyn enjoys competing in Crossfit and Olympic lifting, reading and evaluating research on injury prevention, programming and myofascial release. She likes to bake healthy treats, and regularly attends continuing education conferences and clinics. Kaitlyn takes every opportunity to learn and thrive in the fitness environment.