A few more weeks to go and it will Christmas. Party invites will litter your phone inbox and no matter how much you tell yourself to control your food intake, your mind tricks you into consuming more food than you should. Besides, how could you say no to a scrumptious Christmas feast? You feel required to try a bit of everything laid on the table! Christmas is the time to eat as much turkey and pie and to drink as much booze can. You have strictly counted each calorie for the year so one ultimate cheat day wouldn't matter right?
According to a survey last 2013, an average person puts on 1-5 lbs during this festive period.
Your mind may be happily fooled by by the cheat day theory but sadly, your body doesn’t agree. By the time the holidays are over and you step on your weighing scale, you discover additional calories has snuck up to you and your jeans are a bit tighter.
So how can you at least retain your weight without sitting in one corner far away from the dinner table, grudgingly looking on while others are enjoying themselves?
The answer is simple. Exercise.
But what if there isn’t a nearby gym or you don’t feel motivated without your exercise equipments? Or maybe you’re the type to simply not exercise as much as you need to shed of unwanted calories. Well it’s never too late to start and lack of exercise equipments is not an excuse to not start moving. Whether you’re staying in your home or traveling for the holidays, here are simple but effective alternatives to keep yourself fit without the need for a gym or heavy equipments.
Holiday Fitness Solutions
1. Time / Schedule Your Exercise
The fact you are in vacation means you have more flexible time to schedule at least 30 minutes 3-4 time a week for exercise. If it’s heavily snowing in your location, you can do push-ups and jumping jacks in your room. If you're living in a tropical country, you have the chance to go swimming all year round. If you are staying in a hotel, you can take advantage of gym facilities. Walking around your area for 30 minutes will suffice and you’ll enjoy the view at the same time too. You can exercise anytime and anywhere.
2. Assemble Your Portable Fitness Bag
You can assemble your own portable gym for staying in shape on the road, in hotel and in small spaces. Your bag can include any or all of the following:
a. Jump Ropes
Jumping rope requires balance, strength and agility. It is a high-intensity cardiovascular workout and helps your lymphatic system remove all sorts of waste and toxins from your body. Jumping rope literally works on your legs, abs, arms, heart and your mind. The tool is also inexpensive, portable and you can jump with friends. What more can you ask for?
b. Suspension Trainer
Although a bit pricey, this portable home fitness program can fit inside a lunch bag. To use, all you need is a place where you can securely attach the equipment to a wall that can bear your weight. A door frame, a tree, or any strong anchor points will work. It's a portable tool to help build your strength and flexibility wherever you are.
If you are commuting towards your holiday or you plan to do a lot of walking, why not track your steps with a pedometer. It is a good motivational tool and you will feel productive knowing you are doing something for your health while enjoying your the views.
d. Resistance Bands
Whether you are beginner or expert in fitness regimen, there is sure to be a resistance band for you. You can control the tension by shortening or lengthening the band. This can be used alone or with other equipments and exercises such as push-ups, squats, lifting weights, horizontal chest press, biceps curl, etc.
e. Exercise Ball
If you have an inflatable exercise ball at home you already have a mini-gym. You can deflate this, put in in your suitcase then bring it out again when you need it. During a travel, you can avail a portable hand air pump that can fit in your bag to use on your ball. An exercise ball provides you with multitudes of exercises you can do depending on which muscle group you want to work on.
f. Push Up Bars
Maximize your push-ups with these tool, strengthening and sculpting your muscles while reducing stress on your wrists. You can also make simple adjustments in the width and angle of the bars to let you find and work on a range of muscles.
3. Monitor Eating in Moderation
To effectively monitor your fitness during the holidays, you also monitor your food intake.
a. Keep a Fitness and Nutrition Journal ready
Imagine you decided to pass off doing a short exercise because you forgot the whole pie you had the night before. With a nutrition journal, cannot deny evidence and you will be motivated to exercise. You can’t cheat! If you’d rather go digital with your records, there are many calorie tracking apps available for you to use.
b. Balance Diet and Exercise
Let’s say you attend 2 holiday dinner parties for the week. To shed off the calories, add 2 extra workouts to your weekly routine. That way, you balance out the calories to retain your figure.
c. Eat Conscientiously
Studies show that people who take smaller bites, chew their food well and sit in a well-lit room are likely to eat less. Chew each bite at least 10 times before swallowing. Enjoy the tastes, scents, and texture of the food while reflecting on what you eat, including calories, fat and carbohydrates in the food. Before you know it, you feel full without over indulging food intake.
d. Have an accountability buddy
You will be more motivated if you have someone to look over your shoulder to stay on track. This person will check on you daily and you will will do the same for them. You both will serve as cheerleader and teammate to each other and reach your fitness goals together.
e. Start with Soup or Salad
Studies have shown you will eat less during a single sitting if you start your meal with soup or green salad. Watch out for the toppings because a tortilla soup loaded with tortilla strips and sour cream, or a salad drenched in creamy dressing won’t help you maintain your calories. You can't cheat on this.
4. Sign Up for a Holiday Fitness Event
Research if your destination has a local events related to running, walking, or cycling in the area. If there is available, sign up. This will help you follow through with your exercise. Better, you will be with others and be more motivated.
5. Start and End Each Day Strong
As a general goal, it is recommended to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day to stay fit and healthy. Try to schedule a 10 minute workout when you wake up and another 10 minute cardio before going to sleep. Even if you can’t make the regular 30 minute goal, doing a regular 10 or 20 minute exercise everyday will help make a regular physical activity in your lifestyle. It's a great start!
6. Imagine you are in the prehistoric era
When it’s the Christmas holidays, you feel the world slows down right? So why not pretend you don’t have the luxury of modern-day conveniences and move, move, move. Make meals from scratch and not rely on the microwave, ride a bike or walk if you are going somewhere near, wash dishes by hand instead of running them in the dishwasher, sweep with a broom and not with a vacuum, etc. It may not be much but if you are too used to modern day conveniences, you will realize how manual labor can be physically fulfilling.
7. Dress Your Best
It’s really tempting to wear loose clothing this time of the year but wearing form-fitting clothes will make you feel more conscious to what you eat and whether your body changes from week to week. If you feel the pants you wore last week felt a bit tighter this week, there’s your cue! Exercise and monitor your eating habits to regain your fitness goal.
It will be pretty hard to maintain a strict regimen to stay fit during the Christmas holidays. To retain your fitness during Christmas holidays doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the feast laid out in front of you. It’s a matter of discipline to eat healthy and exercise regularly to remain fit and lively.
Cheers to healthy living!