Holiday Fitness Tips
When the holidays arrive, many of my clients worry about falling behind in their fitness and nutrition habits. However, a good strategy on the holidays is aiming to maintain good habits – not necessarily to lose weight or blast through a plateau.
When you’re traveling (and sometimes a little stressed) on the holidays, you can’t always count on making it to the gym, or even having access to a gym. You may also not have all your regular food, snacks, and routines going. It can be tough! But it is manageable if you prepare well. Here are some easy nutrition tips to incorporate, including a bodyweight-only yoga flow that you could even do in a hotel room (or guest bedroom).
I advise the following actions to make sure that you stay on track for the holidays without feeling like you’re depriving yourself:
Go grocery shopping as soon as you arrive.
Buy Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, instant oatmeal (sugar free), and any other healthy snacks that help to keep you on track. This will help to create a thread of consistency with your “normal life,” and also make sure that you don’t under-eat before bigger meals.
Plan around your bigger meals.
You know when the bigger “feast days” are going to occur – and it’s probably not every day of your holiday week. Make a point to stick with your regular way of eating on the non-celebratory days, but then relax and eat what you want at the holiday family meals.
Eat enough protein.
Holiday food tends to be high in fat and carbohydrates. A good strategy that helps to beat deprivation is to focus on getting more than enough protein, rather than focusing on restricting the “bad foods.” Make sure to incorporate plenty of lean protein, eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt, and even high-quality protein shakes (I recommend Vega brand) into your meals and snacks each day. You will feel fuller when you incorporate sufficient protein, and will be less likely to mindlessly overeat beyond enjoyment.
Holiday Yoga Workout
You don’t need a gym, tons of equipment, or an intense cardio habit to build a leaner, more toned physique. You can get started just by incorporating this short daily yoga flow into your morning routine, in addition to staying on your feet as much as possible each day.
Plank – 30 seconds
Start at the top of a push-up position, with your hands and toes on the floor. Maintain plank by tensing your core muscles and squeezing your butt. Keep your body straight, look straight down at the floor, and breathe for 30 seconds.
Plank Knee to Chest – 10 seconds
From plank, bring the right knee to your chest and hold for 10 seconds. Keep your core tight and your hips level, and keep breathing.
Three-Legged Dog – 10 seconds
After the last inhale of the previous step, exhale as you push the right foot and hips back and up, so that your right leg is in a straight line with your torso. Your hips should be level with each other. Keep breathing
for 10 seconds.
Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side, starting over with
Once you have completed the left side, rest for 30 seconds.
Side Plank – 10 seconds
Start in plank. Shift your weight to your right hand and right foot, then ease your body open, stacking your feet, so that you are supporting your weight on only the right side. Hold your left hand straight up into the
air, and look up at your left hand while keeping your hips up and off the ground. Breathe while you keep your body straight.
Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Advanced: If you can already easily perform side plank for 30 seconds or more, you can lift the top leg to add more challenge.
Chair – 30 seconds
Stand. Keep your feet and knees together, and sweep your arms straight overhead as you sit down and back with your hips. Keep your shoulders low and pull your core in tightly. If your form is correct, your toes should want to come up from the floor. Keep your feet grounded, keep your gaze on the floor about three feet in front of you, and breathe.
Boat – 20 seconds
Sit down with your feet straight out in front of you. You may need to sit on a pillow or folded towel if your tailbone is sensitive. Hold your arms straight in front of you, and slightly lean back and pick up your legs. You can either bend at the knee (easier), or hold your legs out straight (harder). Your hands should be at about the level of your knees either way. Keep your back straight, your chest up, and your core engaged. Breathe.
Bridge – 30 seconds
Lie down on the floor with your arms at your sides, your feet on the floor, and your knees bent. Lift your hips off the floor so that your body is in a straight line from your knees to your chest. Squeeze your glutes and hold. Breathe.
You can make any of these moves more challenging by adding more time or more repetition! Regardless of the level of difficulty at which you start, incorporating these strength-building yoga poses will help you gain the lean muscle that will boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories each day in a healthy and sustainable way!