Croque-em-bouche. Bûche de Noël. Pannetone. Forget Santa or Rudolph, these are my favorite players of the season. I LOVE holiday desserts. For me and everyone that I know, this is the most challenging time of year to stay ahead of your curves. I don’t know about you guys, but my bed seems particularly cozy and snuggly in the mornings lately. Way too cozy to even think about going to the gym so early or to feel guilty about it.
But that’s the real question — should we feel guilty about relinquishing self control during the holidays? Does the season of giving mean that you’re not allowed to give anything to yourself? At TTF, we’ve figured out that you’re only setting yourself up for failure if your end goal is to be perfect. The key is to find that balance between staying on track while letting yourself simply enjoy life at the same time. But between epic family meals, gourmet catered holiday parties and treks across the country, staying on track is much easier said than done.
Rather than forgetting the whole thing and dealing with a massive detox resolution in January (which we’ve attempted for the past 5 years in a row) we’ve decided to consult with an expert who’d know best. This isn’t the time for guessing games (or any kind of games for that matter), we’re grown. Let’s skip ahead to the solutions and get ahead of our curves.
Meet Jason Lenington. Jason is a certified personal trainer helping clients in all shapes meet their personal fitness goals, a renowned Bootcamp instructor, and most of all — one of my very best friends. So, to take advantage of that, I’ve asked him to give us some tips on not only how to stay on track this season but how much exactly we’re allowed to indulge.
You’ve told me in the past that you can’t out-exercise a poor diet. Is there anyway to both stay on track but still have my favorite holiday treats?
It’s true — you definitely cannot out-exercise a bad diet; however, you’re going to sabotage yourself when you lie to yourself and say that you’re not going to have any sweets over the holidays. There’s pretty much no way to say no to everything when you’re constantly having cravings. The secret is to say yes, but with limitations. Just one cookie is better than five. Maybe share that piece of cake that was offered to you with someone else who is also working on restricting their sugar intake. Once the holidays are over, start from scratch and start eliminating bad habits one by one! I usually start my first week with no alcohol, then limit my sugar, then processed carbs, and so on.
At TTF, our motto to Nourish Your Inner Perspective focuses on not only looking good but feeling good. The holidays are a time when a lot of people struggle with issues like discouragement and stress. What can exercise do to counteract the holiday dispirit?
Moderate to vigorous exercise releases endorphins, which will definitely reduce the amount of stress that is induced from crazy holiday priorities. Consider making your main priority getting at least 10 minutes of exercise daily, whether it’s going for a quick walk around your neighborhood, hitting the gym for a few quick sets, or running to the nearest park and performing some body weight exercises. And if you’re telling yourself you don’t even have time for that, exercise in your living room! A little yoga? Maybe a few squats and sit ups? You’ll thank yourself later.
Ok real talk, what’s the bare-minimum I should be working out per week during the holidays? Literally minimum.
10 to 30 minutes a day would be my advice. Basically just get in what you can and try to survive these next couple of weeks. Come January, with no big holidays ahead for a while, you can make a fresh start by making a plan to hit it hard with your exercise schedule.
Are there any short cuts we can take in order to minimize the outcome of totally pigging out during a Christmas feast? Keep it 100% with me.
Have a healthy snack a couple of hours before dinner, and then indulge in more healthy snacks lying around when it comes to dessert time. If you catch yourself trying to grab that extra piece of pie that’s been staring you in the face, quickly turn around and grab a small handful of almonds! The protein and fats will help keep you satiated, and hold you over throughout this time of temptation. Also maybe run for the crudité platter and pick out whatever veggies you enjoy.
This is the time of year that the TTF Team is traveling the most. Do you have any tips on staying active while you’re traveling?
Traveling calls for outdoor activity! Get creative with your surroundings! is there a park nearby? Do some step ups on a bench, or maybe some dips! Go for a hike if there’s a great place for that nearby. How about committing to exercise right when you wake up? Are you in a hotel with a decent gym? Hit a few weights or the treadmill for a good 10 to 30 minutes.
What if there’s no access to a gym? Is it possible to work out in the hotel room?
Take the stairs instead of the elevator! When you go shopping, try parking in the farthest parking spot from the store entrance so you can get some extra steps in. If you’re exercising in your hotel room, set a timer on your phone to do some body weight intervals! Maybe do 20 seconds of push ups followed by 20 seconds of squats for 5 rounds! Switch up different exercises! Sit ups, lunges, jumping jacks, etc! Try to have fun with it! I promise you’ll feel better afterwards.
You can check out Jason Lenington’s fitness courses at Toadal Fitness in Santa Cruz, Ca.