Wow! How can it be December already? The calorie-laden home stretch of 2012 is upon us. No need to panic. Holiday weight gain is not inevitable. In fact, with just some small changes to your regular Koko exercise routine and some holiday party survival tactics, you can easily keep it in check while protecting and BUILDING that lean muscle. We have even created some in-club holiday fitness challenges to help motivate you!
Much is written about holiday weight gain this time of year, so I’m not going to rehash it, but the scope of research suggests the average person only gains between 2 to 5 pounds.
What I find more interesting than simple weight gain statistics are the results of a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that links much of the incremental weight gain we accumulate over the years to the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years.
So, we may not gain a lot of weight over the holidays, but that weight has staying power. Alternatively, holding holiday weight gain at bay sets you up to maintain a healthy weight long term.
First and foremost, if your club is participating in the Holiday Hold’em Challenge, or the 12 Days of Koko, sign up! It will give you an extra nudge to stick to your Smartraining routine, 3 to 4 days a week. The hustle of the holiday season may be leaving you feeling time pressed but the best way to deal with the stress and excess calories is to make time to exercise it away. I also like to add an extra cardio session or two to my weekly workout routine because I know I will be indulging in plenty of amazing home cooked Italian food all season. If you know you love to indulge in holiday fare, compensate by burning a few more calories. Thanks to Smartraining’s efficiency, that amounts to a mere 30 additional minutes at your local Koko FitClub each week.
Besides sticking to your Koko Smartraining routine to stay fit, it’s also a great idea to have strategies in place to handle holiday situations that tempt you to overindulge. Here are a few of my go-tos:
- Eat a healthy, high fiber snack before you head out to holiday festivities. (Something like fruit, veggies or oatmeal.) This will help you avoid overindulging in high calorie party food.
- Don’t waste calories on mindless munching. Skip the chips, pretzels and peanuts and spend calories on the holiday food you really love.
- Liquid calories are a killer this time of year. At holiday parties, alternate your favorite adult beverage with ice water. It prevents dehydration and slows down your rate of consumption. Fewer calories AND fewer headaches.
- Don’t eat after 8PM during the week. My secret weapon against sneaking an extra slice of pie before bed? My toothbrush and dental floss. Brushing and flossing my teeth right after dinner is a great deterrent for late evening snacking.
- Get plenty of sleep. Burning the candle at both ends trying to be everywhere and do everything will have adverse effects on the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, causing unhealthy food cravings when you aren’t really hungry.
We now know that preventing end of the year, holiday weight gain plays a big role in maintaining a lifelong healthy weight. And the good news is, it really doesn’t take much to successfully hold them off. First, if your club is participating in the Holiday Hold’em Challenge or the 12 Days of Koko, sign up! Nothing like a little fun, healthy competition to encourage you to make time for Koko this season. Second, think about tagging on a couple of extra cardio session each week in anticipation of indulging in your holiday favorites. Finally, be prepared with a few strategies for when you are faced with the inevitable temptations of the season.
All the best to you and yours this Holiday Season!
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer
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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.