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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.