Christmas Holiday Fitness Tips

TheActiveTimes.com

The biggest challenge around the holidays is maintaining a healthy eating pattern. This is not just about binging out 2-3 times but using a privation strategy to try to compensate for the binges. "I see people fasting either the day of a binge or the day after to 'make it OK,' to binge," renowned bodybuilder and strength trainer Christian Thibaudeau says.

This is a mistake because it often leads to an even more disastrous pig-out event. "But more than that, it reinforces negative mental patterns that can actually make it really hard to get back to a solid nutrition plan," he adds.

Usually, there is always a way to eat healthy at holiday gatherings if you overcome the temptations and make the right choices. "So it's a matter of deciding what is important to you: Having the body you want and the health you deserve or having short-term sensory pleasure," Thibaudeau says.

It's important to exercise, too. "An hour of cardio might 'burn' 400-500 calories and an hour of weight lifting about the same," Thibaudeau adds. "So if you train hard for 90 minutes you are likely burning around 600 calories. Note that this should not be used as a strategy to justify eating poorly all the time. I’ve seen a lot of people gain fat when they started to train because they thought the training would completely prevent fat gain."

Christmas Holiday Fitness Tips

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Accept "less than ideal" days

Try to keep up with a normal healthy eating pattern throughout the holidays, but accept that there might be some less than ideal days, Thibaudeau says. There is no reason to make the whole season unhealthy, he adds. "I can see two 'large and not optimal' meals between December 24th and January 1st, but there is no reason for more than that."

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

See training as "problem solving"

Do not blindly follow a program, Thibaudeau says. "Use exercises and methods that address a weakness you have." The best results in training come from correcting problem areas, he adds. "This is also what is the most rewarding for people and what makes them more likely to stick with it in the long run." His recommendation is to find a type of training you enjoy and that fits your psychological profile. "You can always move on to something more effective once you've established the habit."

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Find a real training partner

"I don't want 'workout buddies.' I want training partners," Thibaudeau says. "A buddy is someone you have fun with. This is likely the worst person to have as a training partner. It will turn into a social event and training focus will be taken down several notches." A good training partner with similar goals and focus can enhance your training. They will also make it a lot less likely that you will skip workouts, he adds.

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Alter your routine

How often you should do it varies with every one, depending on when your body plateaus. "You should only change a program when there is a need for it," Thibaudeau says. "If after two weeks you discover a new problem (e.g. a muscle is not responding) then you might need to change some exercises after those two weeks, but not the whole program." Also, changing things up will keep you motivated.

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Have healthy snacks on hand

Eating a healthy, satiating snack before going to parties will make it be less likely to eat mindlessly or overeat at meal time. Another option is to create healthy versions of your favorite treats to bring along and share with everyone. Water content, fiber and calcium are the three key "ingredients" you need to look for when choosing your snacks. They will keep you full for longer.

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Have fun with active holiday traditions

Many holiday traditions double as exercise. Go power shopping in the mall, for example, and get some cardio in. Participate in a holiday fun run race or go on family walks after big holiday meals. Make a game out of the whole thing. Gamification is key.

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Go to the gym during rush hour

Most people usually advice against going when everybody else is there – usually after work hours. But the energy in the gym when you see so many people working out can be very effective. You have a lot of fit people to look at and copy them if you are not sure what to do. Imagine everyone exercising and you being the only person looking at your phone. Wouldn’t you want to fit in?

Holiday Fitness Tips
 

Sign up for a future event

Register for an upcoming fitness occasion, like a walk or race, and ask friends to join you as well. There are a lot of charity events this time of the year. Having something to train for will help you stay focused on a long-term goal.

previous next

For the complete list of Personal Trainer's Christmas Holiday Fitness Tips, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

More From The Active Times:
-- Workouts Top Trainers Do When They Only Have 15 Minutes
-- Overhyped Exercises That Are Actually Wasting Your Time
-- 16 Ineffective Exercises You Should Never Do
-- Stretches You Should Never Do Before a Workout