By Nelson Toriano

Around this time of year, I, like many people, start to wind down. Friends and family begin preparing for the holidays. As such, it may be challenging to dedicate ample time to fitness. Here are some things I do to ensure consistent healthy eating and exercise habits.

    • Knowing my schedule will be hectic with friends and family visiting, I know my time will be limited. Therefore, I decrease my time spent in the gym from 1 hour to 30 minutes, Tabata workouts are most efficient. Downloading a high intensity interval timer onto my phone helps.
    • If I know I’ll be traveling, investing about $50 in a set of luggage-friendly resistance tubes is a good idea. That way I’m not limited to body weight training; I have means to do biceps curls, overhead presses, etc.
    • I know I’ll be indulging. And I look forward to it. Therefore, for a day or two before going out with friends, I make sure I eat very clean (purely vegan if possible), and thus I don’t feel guilty for consuming extra (and empty) calories on my cheat day, nor will I see the weight gain or feel sluggish.
    • I like it when the gym is quiet. I know attendance in the gym slows down during the holidays, so going to the gym when no one is there is actually perfect for me. I get to hog all the equipment without bothering people.
    • Luckily, my friends are in the same boat of needing to keep up their fitness during the holidays, so before we do brunch, we plan to meet up to do something active, like a 10K run or do an obstacle race together. That way we have accountability to train together. Then, we allow ourselves to celebrate afterward.
    • Holiday food is traditionally heavy and much of the food at potlucks tends to be carb-heavy. Therefore, keeping a bottle of fiber pills or multivitamins in the cabinet is helpful. I know in the next few months, because of all the parties, keeping my nutrition balanced may be challenging.
    • When classes are less crowded, it’s an opportune time to take that popular class that tends to be full earlier in the year.
    • My friends and family know how passionate I am about fitness. So shopping for me is easy – gift cards to my favorite athletic goods stores. I insist they don’t think too hard into presents. I’ll make use of whatever is purchased from those stores: a good quality yoga mat, a membership somewhere, a heavy-duty backpack, weight lifting gloves, etc.
    • Since I’m spending time with family, and I’m a trainer by trade, my dad and I go to the gym together. I treat him like a client and we do a 60-minute workout designed for senior citizens. It’s quality time together and we’re both active. The picture is the selfie I took last year.
    • To be honest, running isn’t my favorite activity. My friends like it though, so we make a promise – I’ll join them in a Turkey Trot and I’ll pay for my own registration if they promise me they’ll do something I like doing which they’d rather not, like take a hot yoga class. This is in an effort to get out of our comfort zones and keep each other active.

I hope some of these tips have inspired you to develop strategies to ensure healthy habits.
Happy Holidays!


Nelson Toriano is a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He has more than 14 years of experience, which includes boot camp, weight lifting, dance, and yoga. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his family and being outdoors with his two Labradors.


3D illustration of a tennis elbow with close-up.

By Daniel Alvarez, DPT


What is ASTYM® Therapy?

ASTYM® is a form of therapy that helps regenerate soft tissue such as muscle, tendons and ligaments. In general chronic soft tissue problems are due to scarring and tissue degeneration.
Degenerated tissues are much weaker and prone to injuries and can be caused by many factors including: age, intense use, disease, improper movement patterns etc. Scar tissue that forms inside the body around joints, muscles, and tendon/ligaments is in response to some form of irritation or injury. This scar tissue is meant to reinforce an area of injury to protect it, but often causes restriction in mobility and pain. ASTYM® works to help restore healthy tissue and remove or reduce internal scar tissue.

How does ASTYM® work?

Using specifically designed tools a Physical Therapist will perform what is called microtrauma to the region where the damaged, scarred or overused tissue is located. Through the process of microtrauma, blood flow is increased which helps regenerate new healthy tissue. It is normal to experience some redness and bruising in the area, which is a sign of blood flow. Your therapist will determine the frequency of treatment and what, if any stretches should accompany your ASTYM® treatment.

Is ASTYM® a good solution for you?

This form of therapy has shown excellent results for a number of injuries. If you are suffering from any of the injuries listed below you could potentially benefit from ASTYM® therapy:

• Tennis elbow
• Scar tissue
• Trigger finger
• Chronic ankle sprains
• Shoulder pain
• IT band syndrome
• Low back pain
• Golfers elbow
• Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
• Tendonitis

For more information about this BaySport therapy service or to learn how our physical therapy programs can help you, go to or call (408) 395-7300.

Thomann A, Sevier TL, Wilson JK. Treating soft tissue fibrosis: A new rehabilitation technique for the treatment of various soft tissue injuries. Physical Therapy Products. 1999; 10(5): 56-58.


Daniel was born and raised in the Bay Area. He graduated from San Jose State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. In 2013, he received his Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine. Daniel brings experience in various settings including outpatient orthopedic and hospital inpatient care. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, staying active and spending time with family and friends. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish fluently.

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Here are some holiday recipe ideas to make your feast a little healthier and lighter:

Consider these healthier appetizers:

  • Dips- when preparing holiday dips use a low fat Greek yogurt for the base- the extra protein will make it more satisfying and creamy with less fat.  You will find a variety of ideas on the Stoneyfield website:
  • Hummus is a great choice- high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats
  • Guacamole – fiber and healthy fats- raises HDL, lowers LDL, lowers triglycerides
  • With dips, choose vegetables or whole grain crackers instead of chips.
  • For cheese and crackers- make it a little healthier with whole grain crackers- Triscuits are a great choice.

Make your gravy a little healthier.  Instead of using white flour or corn starch to thicken gravy, use whole wheat flour or ground flaxseeds instead.

Make your holiday side dishes a bit healthier with these tips:

No holiday meal is complete without dessert. Here are a few tricks to pie crust healthier:

  • Substitute yogurt for some of the butter
  • Substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat flour
  • Substitute some or all of the flour for almond meal (since it has healthy fats, you won’t need to add anymore fat to it).
  • For the filling cut back on the amount of sugar suggested or use Stevia instead.  You can find a variety of healthier pie recipes on sites such as and

By Sheri Berger, RDN