Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Survive the Holidays...Without Packing on the Pounds

Holiday parties, social obligations, family dinners, nights out on the town. It's tough to squeeze these events into our already hectic lives. If there's one thing that gets the short end of the stick this time of year, it's not the parties but the workouts. Who wouldn't prefer to catch some extra zzz's especially after a late night out, avoid a dark walk to the gym, or grab some down time where you can just veg?

I know I'm guilty as charged. I've done all three this season. Skipped a morning workout (and that was minus the late night out) at least once by ignoring my alarm--or failing to set it. Skipped the dark walk to the gym after a long day in front of the computer (even though I really could have used the sweat session to help me think). And skipped--more like delayed--the workout until the last hour possible to watch hours of Christmas movies, lay on the couch and periodically doze off.

Turns out I should have read these tips from Lis Settimi and Catherine James, the co-owners of The Bar Method Chicago, the popular workout that merges the fat burning of interval training with the muscle shaping of isometrics and the elongating of dance conditioning, before Thanksgiving when my routine went haywire. The duo not only knows how to teach the routine that promises lean thighs, a lifted seat, flat abs and sculpted arms, but they also know how to keep you moving through the holidays and into the New Year. And as The Bar Method celebrates its fifth anniversary in Chicago in January 2013, here are their five suggestions to avoid feeling like a slug come mid-January.

  1. Keep up your workout routine throughout the holidays--don't take a break until January! This will keep you feeling good through the holidays and ready to face the new year with energy!
  2. Schedule your workouts (reserve spaces in classes) and put them on your calendar. Then stick to your routine!
  3. During the holidays especially, work out in the morning before work so you can take advantage of spontaneous social invitations for after workout without missing your workout!
  4. Increase your number of weekly workouts to compensate for "holiday cheer!" Bump up to 4-6 workouts if you normally target 3-4.
  5. Do workouts that have an interval structure (high energy interval followed by a lower energy interval). Interval training workouts are proven to burn more calories and fat and get results faster!

Well, at least I'm on target with that last one. I've been hitting the gym's class circuit like it's my job--mostly attending the interval-intensive classes. But next week is a different story when the parents come to town (the not-so-into-fitness parents who think I'm nuts...some of the time). I'll have to drill those morning workouts into my routine, not so much for spontaneous meet-ups but for the restaurant reservations that sit during my regular workout time.

How are you sticking to your workouts during the holidays? Have any of these tips worked for you?

Photos courtesy of The Bar Method.

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