Healthy Holidays: A Fail Safe Plan to Tighten and Tone during the Holiday Season

As Thanksgiving creeps up upon us (aaahhhhhhh! It’s RIGHT THERE!), most of us have a tendency to simply wave goodbye to those New Year’s Resolutions and vow that next year will be better…

Well, SNAP OUT OF IT PEOPLE! There is no need to tap out just yet. Take it from me (I usually lose weight during the holidays…stress?), you can tighten and tone while still enjoying the season, even if your loved ones are not so enjoyable.

Care to know my secrets? I’m telling you anyways so read on!

1. CIRCUITS RULE!

During this time of the year, I bust out the circuit training instead of focused muscle workouts. You know, leg day, shoulder day, eyebrow day, etc. The reason for this is simple: my time is gold and I don’t care to waste it. If I’m dragging my butt to a workout, it better work fast! Circuit training helps to burn more calories overall because it keeps you moving non-stop. Basically, circuit training involves moves completed one after the other with minimal to no rest in between. You may stop to vomit, but come right back… I kid! Wait at least 2 minutes after vomiting. :) OK, how do you get your eager little hands on some circuits? Well, there are LOADS of ways to do this, but perhaps I could make some suggestions. There are a few at-home circuits that I enjoy purely because they work (meaning I don’t always dig the personality and I don’t buy things just because somebody was on some show about weight loss, ahem). My 2 favorite circuit training programs are P90X2 and Chalean Extreme. Both have their pros and cons, but both really do work. Chalean Extreme is shorter in workout duration, P90X2 was NASM developed (my training school) so I’m biased because they rock.

chalean-extreme   P90X2 (disclaimer: I am a coach, I do use these, don’t hate)

What if you don’t dig working out at home because your family drives you crazy? Community center and gyms will often have discounted rates on classes during the holidays. If you don’t see a discounted rate, ask for one people! Want a totally FREE workout? Many gyms offer a free sampling of fitness classes on Black Friday and it sure beats standing in line. If you have a gym membership, but hate classes, ask for a free session with a trainer and ask them to set you up with an easy circuit. Will they be happy you aren’t signing up for sessions? NO. BUT….if they treat you right and help you out, how likely will you be to sign up later on? It’s all in the approach, so make sure you get good service.

2. LOG YOUR FOOD. Have I talked about this before? YES. Most people simply do not do it though and it drives me crazy! If it goes in your mouth, your body keeps an accurate record. You can’t cheat it. I always have clients claiming to be under calories, but they’re still gaining weight. Are they lying? I don’t think so. I think we omit foods that are seemingly small such as candy or beverages and we underestimate our portions by A LOT. So, keep an accurate record and measure your portions.

Side note: do not feel the need to write everything down Thanksgiving day as this could result in a terrible stress response and you family has enough drama without having to witness you crying into the gravy boat and then finishing off the pumpkin pie. If you stick with these tips, you can indulge without scaring small children :)

3. DON’T BE A LOAF. Oh my goodness, is anybody else finding themselves stuck to the couch, or is it just me? I have been so swamped with things that I find when I come in contact with the couch I am immediately sucked into a vortex of vinyl laziness. So, don’t sit on the couch! Or whatever furniture beckons for long snuggles from your rear end… make it a point to move a bit more. Get up and stretch every few minutes, do 10 squats every time you go to the bathroom (not in the stall people), walk around the whole store to get what you need, take walks on purpose, ride your bike that’s buried in the garage, do a sit up and then do another one! The list could go on, but at the end of the day it really is about how much you move.

These tips will get you started in the right direction for a tight Christmas and that ever lovely “You look great, what have you been doing?” compliment :) Soak it up, you deserve it!

Until next time, Healthy Holidays to you!

Michelle

FIVE Ways to Stay on Track through Christmas

Merry Christmas Healthy People!

We can all find the holiday food freeway a little hard to navigate. Here are my TOP FIVE ways to keep it tight!

  1. CHUG! Water, that is. Get in a gallon a day (don’t roll your eyes at me, I saw that!) AND if you indulge in holiday cocktails, take in an extra 8 ounces of H2O for every alcoholic drink.
  2. Exercise every day. Yes, every single day. 30 minutes minimum. You can lift weight, box (my fave!), dance, run, walk (um…faster), play catch, whatever. Bust a sweat.
  3. Portion Control. You have total control over what goes into your mouth. Period. Small portions, especially if you don’t know what’s in it!
  4. Limit eating out. Save those extra calories for social events and prepare your own food as much as possible. The average person eating out 3x per week takes in 1500 MORE calories than those who prepare their own food. Do the math.
  5. Plan ahead. If you’re headed to a party or family gathering, KNOW what you’re going to splurge on and calculate into your daily calories. If you know you’re going to have a 600 calorie piece of pie (for most pies, that’s the common size slice) then cut calories from extras in your daily diet like creamer, butter (even peanut) and added sauces and cheeses. You can also move MORE that day to add to your total calorie burn. Then, you can have your pie (or bread or spinach dip or Christmas cookies) and eat it too!

Stay tuned for more Healthy Holidays!

Michelle

Healthy Holiday Travel Treadmill Shredder

20121126-081533.jpg

 

The Holidays are upon us and for many that means travel. Don’t let your workouts fall by the wayside! This is the treadmill program I did while in New Orleans this past weekend :) BONUS! Healthy recovery shake below. I do my workout track by track on the Ipod, instead of having to time things.

Treadmill Shredder

Warm up at 0 incline, 3.0 speed  for 3-5 minutes

Track one: 5.0 speed light jog at 0 incline

Track two: 20 deep squats off the rails (feet wide, belt between). Speed 3.5, incline 15. Every chorus, 20 deep squats, verses are climbs.

Track three: easy run at incline 3.0, speed 5.3

Track four: super slow speed, 0.8 walking lunges at 6.5 incline

Track five: quick run, 2.0 incline, 6.0 speed

Track six: recover and 3.0 pace for 2 minutes. Light jog, 0 incline, 3.8 speed for remaining track

Track seven: 20 deep squats off rails. Side shuffles at 1.5 speed, 0 incline. Repeat squats every chorus and alternate shuffles during verses.

Track eight: hill run/climb. Set incline at 15, speed at 3.5 during chorus. Verses, incline down to 7.5, speed to 5.0

Track nine: incline between 5-10, speed alternates between jog (5.0) and sprints (7.0-8.0) between chorus and verses.

Track ten: 15 incline, 3.0 speed, slow climb entire song.

Cool down with flat walk and make sure to stretch!

Post workout Recovery Smoothie

In blender:

4 oz water

4-6 oz skim milk

1 whole banana

1/2 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1 scoop whey (I use BSN Syntha 6 chocolate peanut butter)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

ice to taste

Blend well and drink within 30 minutes of your workout :)

THRIVE (don’t just survive) through the Holidays

Below are some KEY points to keep you on point and start next week refreshed and ready to go!

  1. Plan ahead. Know what you will be splurging on and what you will save.
  2. Keep weekday meals light. Fuel up on lighter meats, plenty of vegetables and fruits during the week so the holiday meal splurges won’t catch up too much.
  3. Aim for maintaining, not losing.
  4. Get an accountability partner for workouts.
  5. Plan your workouts for the week, including one Thanksgiving morning (it can be as simple as a walk/run just to get your metabolism going).
  6. Know your weight loss rules:
  • Your body can only process up to about 600 calories per meal! There is no such thing as “saving calories”.
  • You cannot out train poor nutrition.
  • A walk after a heavy meal has been clinically proven to help improve digestion.
  • Deprivation and guilt never work. Enjoy your holiday and move on!

Here are a few extras to keep in mind as Thanksgiving day gives way to Thanksgiving weekend….

  1. Try to plan the big meal for early evening. Studies show when Thanksgiving is eaten early in the afternoon, we are 3x more likely to go back for more helpings during the hours that follow.
  2. PORTION CONTROL IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.
  3. If you are doing more than 1 meal, know when to say “No thank you”. Another great tool is to tell your hostess thanks, but since you just ate you will pass; HOWEVER, if there are leftovers you would be happy to take a plate :)
  4. Remember that you are building a lifestyle. This takes practice and is never going to be perfect. Enjoy the treats in life, don’t try to punish away food “sins”, and live to the fullest every day.
  5. Avoid the booze! Yes, I get your family drama is more enjoyable with drink in hand, BUT we are all likely to let down our guard when it comes to holiday drinking. Recent studies show that when we drink normally we are more likely to consume an extra 300-800 calories from the drinks themselves, but we also take in about 2x more calories than we ever intended too! How do the holidays change those stats? Our calorie count can be upped by a whopping 5x! So not worth it. Consider adding seltzer water (PLEASE stay clear of sodas and more important, diet drinks) to your red wine for a spritzer. You’ll sip slower and take in far fewer calories.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and be back here next week for a new workout and a fresh take on Christmas!

Michelle