10 Health and Fitness Tips for the Holidays

1. Exercise in the morning. The longer you put off your workout, the more likely you are to skip it.  Avoid this common downfall by making your workout your number one priority.  Give yourself enough time in the morning to comfortably fit in your workout.  If necessary, set your alarm early.  Beginning your day with exercise will increase your blood flow, warm up your muscles, rev your metabolism and increase your energy level for the entire day.

2. Eat a great breakfast.
Create your daily energy reserve by eating a healthy breakfast.  Begin the day with whole grain high fiber carbohydrates.  Whole grain carbohydrates will help you to feel full longer and act as a fuel resource that provides a steady energy release.

3. Prepare for the day by bringing healthy snacks.
Whether you are shopping or going to work, you will inevitably get hungry throughout the day.  Make your choices in the morning when you are not so hungry. Consider bringing sliced apples or a banana to snack on when you are hungry.

4. Stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day will help you to feel more full and will keep your body functioning at peak levels.

5. Avoid high calorie “pick me up” energy drinks. There are many temptations for quick energy.  Unfortunately, most of these quick pick me ups are high calorie short term energy sources that will leave you flat. If you prepare your body with a whole grain breakfast, hydrate and keep healthy snacks at hand these options will be less appealing.

6. Eat high protein foods for meals. Higher protein meal choices tend to fill you up and carry less calories than their high fat and highly refined food counterparts.  If you select chicken, fish, or other lean protein sources, you will provide muscle building nutrients to your body while introducing less calories.

7. Avoid heavy snacks.
Stay away from snacks and drinks that may carry high amounts of calories.  These include cream based foods, foods that include cheese, items that contain high amounts of sugar, and high fat meats and dips.  Consider steamed veggies, fruits, and lean cuts of meat.

8. Avoid high calorie soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages. Sodas, juices, wine, and mixed drinks may easily carry 200 calories per glass.  If you drink four or five of these per day, you will likely gain a pound in just three days from these drinks alone.  Drink water whenever possible.

9. At social gatherings, position yourself as far from the food table as possible. Avoid making every social situation about the food.  Position yourself on the opposite side of the room so that each serving will require an additional trip to the food table.  Only take small portions each time.  Interact with as many guests as possible.  It is more difficult to eat when you are socializing.  Also if you do not hang at a table you will be less likely to take large portions of food.

10. Add a 10-minute workout before bed if your calorie intake was extra high. On particularly challenging days when you are not able to avoid as many holiday temptations as you would have liked to, consider ending your day with a quick workout.  When your calorie intake is higher than usual, you can negate some of those calories by burning them off before going to sleep.

Follow these holiday fitness tips for a guilt free holiday season!

Jim Bompensa has been a health club owner and manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition specialist for the nearly 15 years. He is currently the owner/operator of Body Physics Fitness Center in Haddonfield, NJ. Jim has appeared and contributed on ABC and NBC in Philadelphia, PA as well as Designing Spaces on TLC.

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