Enjoy the holidays without getting off track from your health and fitness plan

As we approach the upcoming holidays, it’s easy to accept the “holiday weight gain” that comes every year – the five or so pounds that appear between November and January. However, there are some steps that you can take to keep the pounds from creeping up on you. At the top of the action list? Take advantage of your J membership! Make time for yourself to hit the gym or to meet with your trainer to help you keep focused on your fitness goals.

Two things happen during the holiday season. First, we get busy with events and shopping and cleaning and prepping, and we don’t feel like we have time to exercise. Second, it seems like we are always surrounded by high-calorie, delicious foods. This is a detrimental combination, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some steps we can take to make better decisions during this season to keep our healthy lifestyle on track.

Let’s talk about Thanksgiving. It’s estimated that the average American eats 3,000 to 4,500 calories in just one meal on Thanksgiving Day! To put that in perspective, one pound of fat holds 3,500 calories. However, there are ways to plan for your Thanksgiving week to help you make better decisions. First, despite your busy schedule, make time for yourself to hit the gym to keep your metabolic furnace burning. The average one-hour workout will burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories – this number varies based on intensity, volume, body size and gender. Accumulating five workouts during the holiday week can accumulate up to 1,500 to 3,000 calories burned, which makes your big holiday meal less of a threat.

Make the most of those workouts! The harder you work (intensity) or the more work you do (volume) in your hour workout makes an impact on the calories you burn. Working with a J Personal Trainer is a great way to increase your volume and intensity during your workout – our exercise experts put together programs designed just for that purpose.

Also, hold yourself accountable by making your training appointments now. Once you have your appointment on your calendar, you’re less likely to skip your workout (same goes for all your workouts – add them to your schedule). Look at our group exercise schedules or our Signature Training options and add them to your plans.

If you have questions, our fitness staff is here to help. Stop by the fitness desk to inquire about options that fit your schedule and lifestyle. Our trainers specialize in finding and creating workouts that work for each of our members.

Top tips for weight maintenance during a holiday week

  • Wake up and hydrate immediately with 1-2 glasses of water. This can boost your early morning metabolism.
  • Make time for yourself to lower stress and anxiety. Yoga is a great option with its deep breathing and stretching exercises.
  • Plan to work out in the mornings. This way mid-day and evening social gatherings will not conflict.
  • Perform strength training exercises during your workouts at least a couple times per week. Strength training helps build and maintain muscle and healthy bone structure, improves your metabolism and quality of life.
  • Plug yourself in with a personal trainer, small group, or group exercise class to ensure a challenging and dynamic workout.
  • Focus your meals around these best holiday options:
    • Turkey breast – the breast portion is lean and high in protein
    • Sweet potatoes – they are tasty and higher in anti-oxidants than white potatoes (just leave out the marshmallow cream and extra sugar)
    • Fresh salads – there is always a way to add salad to any meal for extra nutrients
    • Baked green beans – one of the best options for fiber at 4g per serving
    • Apple crisp – with fresh ingredients and low amounts of butter and added sugars, this can be a better dessert option with lower saturated fats

Written by Andy H., Assistant Fitness Manager