Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. In that time, I’ve been doing a lot of writing as well as recording for the All About Fitness podcast.
Over the past few months while learning how to teach home school I’ve managed to produce 3 e-books, including Dynamic Anatomy – which explains how your muscles function when you move, have almost completed a couple of continuing education courses for fitness professionals and am almost finished writing a second book, Ageless Intensity, for Human Kinetics. Be on the lookout for a lot of content on how to use exercise to enhance your quality of life.
For group fitness junkies, I’ve collaborated with Tricia Murphy Madden to create Your Body 2.0 – the FIRST high intensity group fitness program designed specifically for the over 40 body. Exercise, specifically high intensity exercise, can slow down the aging process (the subject of my upcoming book). Yet that doesn’t mean just slamming your face in the ground for endless burpees, exercise is MOST effective when it is mindful.
Your Body 2.0 combines mobility, strength and power training into one workout; the result is a challenging but fun workout
that will leave you sweaty and sore, but the good kind of sore that means your body is making changes.
As we enter the final quarter of 2020 (FINALLY!) it’s important to start thinking about how you want the year to end; remember, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish! If this year has taught us anything it’s that life is unpredictable and completely out of our control, which brings me to the holiday season.
The average American gains approximately 6-10 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s day; reasons include:
Days get shorter and colder making it more challenging to exercise outside before or after work.
From Halloween candy to Thanksgiving pies to Holiday sweets there are a LOT of empty calories flying around.
From kids activities to holiday parties to family gatherings to end-of-year business at work (if your organization has a fiscal year that coincides with the calendar year) your schedule becomes packed with commitments making it hard to find time to do your usual workouts.
When schedules become tight and obstacles get in the way it can be easy to put off exercise thinking, “I’ll get back to it in January.” We’ve all done that, myself included.
Yes, there are many things out of our control, but one thing you CAN control is being active and sticking to your fitness program; don’t let the annual weight gain happen to you, here are 7 tips for how to stay active and fit this holiday season.
Workout at Home
1. One good thing to happen because of the corona virus is that virtual and online workouts have exploded in popularity. From independent studios to individual instructors to national brands there are a number of options for working out at home. Whether a workout is being broadcast live or previously recorded it’s possible to do a variety of workout formats at home so that you don’t have to sit in traffic, fight for a parking space or risk catching a virus. There are a variety of options but you might want to try: Your Body 2.0 and HIIT at Home on homeroomfit.com – full disclosure, I teach the latter class on Wednesday and Fridays at 12noon pacific – join me for a great workout in less than 30 minutes. There are a TON of great classes and instructors on the platform, you’ll definitely find something that you like.
2. Invest in a headlamp and a reflective jacket so you can continue walking outside even in the dark. Another great by-product of covid (yes, I’m being overly positive, but hey, life handed out a bunch of lemons so time to make some lemonade) is that people are spending more time walking outdoors. Even here in the SoCal car culture I’ve seen many families walking together, don’t stop this healthy habit just because daylight goes away, invest in the proper gear so you can continue this important exercise activity.
Plan Your Nutrition
3. Watch your nutrition. Don’t get busy and then end up snacking on crappy food. Take the time to meal prep on the weekend so you have healthy options throughout the week. Recently I’ve interviewed nutrition experts Chef Mareya Ibrahim AKA the Fit Foodie, Doug Smith – the founder of True Nutrition and Jess Cording, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) about the benefits of supplements and Frances Largemen-Roth a RDN and long-time friend who wrote Juices and Smoothies with Prevention Healing Kitchen to provide you with more than 100 smoothie recipes to help you get all of your nutrition when time is tight. Each one of those interviews offers a number of great insights to help you optimize your nutrition during the holidays or any time of year.
HIIT Your Workouts
4. If time is a factor, high intensity interval training (HIIT) can allow you to do a great workout in less than 10 minutes. Yes, that sounds like a cheesy informercial but research suggests that a 4-minute Tabata HIIT protocol could be as effective as running for 30 minutes on a treadmill. Download a Tabata timer on your phone (there are plenty to choose from) and alternate between jumping jacks or fast squats and push-ups for a great workout in 4 minutes. NOTE, for best results, walk in place for 2-3 minutes and do a few stretches to warm-up first.
HIIT Workout you can do at home!
Plan Your Meals
5. When heading to a party or going shopping, eat something at home first! A quick healthy meal or smoothie with fiber, protein and good fats can help fill you up so you don’t get hungry at overeat at a party or stop and get junk food while running errands. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Be Active Everyday
6. Make a commitment to yourself to do something active everyday. This just doesn’t mean working out, if you don’t have time
for your favorite sweat session, sneak in activity breaks like parking far away from your destination so you can walk a bit. When possible take the stairs between floors. Invest in a standing desk so you can work while on your feet which burns more calories than sitting. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the name for the calories you burn from daily activities. The body burns about 5 calories of energy for each liter of oxygen consumed, the more active you are, the more oxygen you consume and the more calories you burn. Research suggests you could burn an additional 300 calories a day through these simple tasks which is about the equivalent of walking 3 miles.
Have a Workout Buddy
7. Make a commitment with a workout buddy who can help hold you accountable for being active. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spouse, significant other or co-worker, when you have a workout buddy you have someone who you are accountable to. Even if you feel like skipping a workout, you know you have to meet a friend and you won’t want to let that person down by not showing up. Set a goal for the number of workouts you want to do together during the holidays and identify a reward like a new piece of workout clothing or ear buds to give yourself when you reach the goal.
Even if you only implement a couple of these suggestions you will be well on your way to maintaining your fitness and avoiding the annual holiday weight gain. Don’t let life happen to you and put off your fitness until January 1; one of the best things about this time of year is that the gyms, the ones that are open, will be less crowded meaning you’ll be competing with fewer people for space.
When you do go to workout , please wear a mask! Consider a mask part of your immune system, it’s not foolproof but it could keep a nasty virus from entering your body.
Remember, fitness is having the ability to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Keep listening to the All About Fitness podcast and checking this blog to maintain your fitness this holiday season or anytime of year.
Want to learn the best exercises for your bum? Check out the Glute Reboot Course I did with Abbie Appel!