A blog about my journey as an athlete and a woman. Come step into her shoes...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Staying Fit During the Holiday Season

NHerShoes Guide to Staying Fit During the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time to celebrate, and boy, do we make the most of it. We EAT we DRINK, we indulge and then we end up feeling like bloated whales by the time it's all over. Staying healthy through the holidays is quite the challenge. I am trying to do my best to stay on track in my eating and exercise through the week, but on the weekends it gets soooo hard! I want to ENJOY all the holiday has to offer including all the party FOOD. I can stay away from most of the sweets because that is not my true weakness, it’s all the appetizers, drinks, and food that is so tempting to just say “hey this holiday comes only once a year enjoy, enjoy”, but I know that the next day I will regret that decision.

So how does one do it?
How do you stay away, well I have some tips for you all that might be facing the same challenge this holiday.The first step, is to acknowledging the holidays probably will affect your exercise program to some extent. Then you can make adjustments that will help you stay fit during the season.


SHORTEN YOUR CARDIO: Cut down your cardio into small circuit maximizing all the time you have even if it’s only 10 minutes. You can do real simple actives that don’t require too much like; walking, running, jump roping or cycling. Get the most out of the time you have by working at a high intensity.

My sample 10-minute BOOTCAMP is a great place to start:
0:00 to 1:00 - Warm up with a brisk walk (outside or around the house)
1:00 to 2:00 - Jumping jacks
2:00 to 3:00 - Jump rope (pretend if you don't have a rope)
3:00 to 4:00 - Run as fast as you can for 1 minute (in place or outside)
4:00 to 5:00 - Ski hops: Stand with feet together, bend knees and jump a few feet to the right and then left, landing with bent knees.
5:00 to 6:00 - Jumping jacks6:00 to
7:00 - Walk as fast as you can
7:00 to 8:00 - Jump rope
8:00 to 9:00 - Jumping jacks
9:00 to 10:00 - Cool down and catch your breath
Remember to work hard. Keep your perceived exertion at 8 or 9 for the entire workout.

If it’s taking the stairs at work or at the mall DO IT! This holiday season, wear a pedometer as you're running around, and see how many steps you can accumulate. Use EVERY opportunity to get in more movement, whether it's parking on the opposite side of where you need to be (I do this often).

Increase your time management skills over the holiday season. Organize your day the evening before. Prioritizing your tasks beforehand will help you find time to exercise. Each week, make it a priority to fit in three exercise sessions.

Give yourself a CHALLENGE! You can join the Bootie Buster Challenge or POTM Challenge Holiday Edition like me or got to livestrong.com to find one that works for you! Or even better ask a friend to hold you accountable, and each of you can work together to STAY fit during the HOLIDAYS!


EAT BEFORE: Rules to live by: NEVER go grocery shopping while hungry, and similarly, never hit a holiday party on an EMPTY stomach. You'll be less tempted to overindulge if your belly's full of something healthy. I think this is one we all know but tend to forget.

Once at the party, choose one thing to indulge in and make it good. No chips or anything you can have at any old time. Pick something you ONLY get during the holidays.

Alcohol is an easy way to consume more calories than you need, so AVOID mixed or fruity drinks, and have a glass of water for every drink you consume. Also, definitely AVOID the egg nog; it has up to 350 calories a cup. A great thing to do is bring a packet of hot tea or apple cider and ask if you can have some boiled water.

It's tempting to skip meals to make up for whatever nightmare food you'll eat later, but just like the empty-stomach rule, if you're starving, your rational mind will be unavailable for healthy food choices. Eat SMALL meals all day to avoid going nuts at the buffet table.

Try to eat as healthily as possible and munch on holiday treats in small quantities. Did you notice I did not say to avoid holiday meals or treats? If you try to avoid them, you will regret it. This is always a good rule of thumb. Eat healthily for six days, and then eat one or two items, holiday snacks or deserts on the seventh. I try and do this all the time even when it’s not holiday season.

Remember that balance, variety and moderation apply to holiday celebrations as well as to most other things in life, so don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Keep your good intentions, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the holidays.

I am making it a personal challenge of mine to make healthier body. mind, and soul choices through this season. I already had two parties this week and did pretty well, but after writing this information I am going to push myself harder so that I feel HEALTHY and POSITIVE this SEASON. What are you going to do for yourself this season to stay HEALTHY?

"It's important to enjoy the spirit of the holidays and not focus on food so much; it is not the main point of the gathering. By doing that, you will make healthier choices."-
Amanda Gavlik is a Health.com Contributing Editor


  1. Work out 6 days out of seven, even if it is small workouts
  2. Increase my weight training at least 2 days a week (after marathon)
  3. Drink more water at holiday parties in order to stay fuller and make better food choices.
  4. Write down my weeks goals of exercise for my challenge
  5. REMEMBER the true meaning of the SEASON!


Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life said...

Great Tips Bobbi! I am really excited for the POTM Holiday challenge especially because I started my half marathon training this week!

I usually write down what I have eaten all day before an event so I know what I can eat!

Dawn (HealthySDLiving) said...

Great tips, thank you! I'm definitely staying away from the Eggnog this year!

Anonymous said...

great tips! i always get in trouble when i grocery shop on an empty stomach. i start eating things in the store!

Kate said...

Bobbi, this is such great advice and so easily managed. Most of these tips have been around for years but it's great to have a reminder. I practice the 90/10 rule (or your 6Day/7Day) of eating all the time, and even when I allow myself a little indulgence, I find it to be so much more satisfying in small doses.

My favorite item in your list is to enjoy ONLY the holiday treats, and leave out the ones that can come at any time of the year.

Carrie C. in VA said...

this is the best, easiest advice of this type i have ever read. you managed to include all the most sensible tips! thanks!

Anonymous said...

what a great post. you break it down into such manageable stuff! can you be my life coach?! haha

Anonymous said...

Great post! I like the eat healthy six days idea....

Anonymous said...

these are really some great advice! even though i shouldn't follow all of it at this point, i know one day i will love to look back at this for some pointers :)


chrystad72 said...

Amazing tips! i love it!! I think the holidays is truly one of the toughest times of the year simply because of all the amazing food that is around. But like yousaid, picking one or two treats to indulge in, drinking lots of water, keeping up with workouts and all that are great ways to stay fit during the season. And remembering the holidays is about family and friends and not foods and drinks. Great ideas! Thanks so much!

Lisa said...

Great post Bobbi. Can you do a post on how you organize the next day the night before? I would love to hear how you do that.

Katie A. said...

Thanks for the awesome tips - of course I already knew most of them but it is so easy to forget! Printing this up and keeping it with me! Happy Thursday! :)

Mica said...

Thank you for all the great tips, Bobbi! They really were a good reminder of what to do for the next month or so!

Jenna said...

great tips!

fusionjaz said...

Great tips Bobbi. We have to get all the food intake circulating in our insides by exercising or moving around. Otherwise, GERD sets in or your digestive system doesn't work right.

Even better to take a brisk walk or Bobbi's 10 minute workout, the weather's nice a cool to wear sweatshirts & hoodies to breathe in all that holiday air!

I wonder about pedometers though. I have one. I noticed while sitting, I just shook my foot (with pedometer on shoe) and the count went up one. So, how accurate are those things really?
I could shake my foot for 5 minutes and the pedo count will go up too.

Erin, Consider It Joy blog said...

Great post!! I'm going to try your bootcamp tonight when D goes to bed:)

Lauren said...

These are all fantastic tips and ones that I think we all alreday know, but it is so good to be reminded, especially with the Holidays so near.

Thanks for sharing your insightful wisdom. I know that so many girls look up to you and value your advice. I know I do! ;)

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Fantastic post! I think having a 'plan' is a great idea. If I dont - I soon fall into the 'well I have fallen off track so I may as well keep falling' midset - which is very unhelpful! This season I plan to workout before work, or in the morning of those party days. Then it is out of the way - plus it is a good motivation to not overindulge during the evening (ie if I know I have to get up early for a workout the next day!!)

Cara said...

Useful tips :) Thanks for sharing!

For the holidays I just eat as I normally do...I enjoy sweet treats and wine, but I also listen to what my body is saying to me and try not to over-indulge.
I am definitely not one to restrict myself from eating something...I like to live it up a bit when there is good food to be eaten.
A couple Christmas meals will not change me, so it's worth every delicious bite!

Stasa said...

These are great tips and goals! Funny how I feel guilty sitting at my laptop when you mention moving every chance you get.
I hope you don't mind if I link this on my page :)

maria said...

Very well said and Great tips!

Jamjie said...

These are Great tips! I especially love the shorter workout routine. I have been pressed for time lately but have found that even a short workout helps me feel better the entire day!