Now that December is in full swing, many of us will be spending the next few weeks eating, drinking – and repeating. With endless office parties, family feasts, and holiday events, it’s no wonder that on average people gain 1-5 pounds in just the month of December alone. This season can be challenging for anyone who can’t say no to mulled wine and gingerbread cookies, so we’ve asked some of Vancouver’s top trainers how we can still be merry without adding inches to our waistline.
Jessica Slonski from Form Body Lab
The first thing you can do to counteract the baked goods, wine, and rich meals is to start your day with a mug of hot water with lemon followed by a green smoothie. This will help cleanse your system while also replenishing your body with nutrients. An easy recipe is to blend 2 cups water, 1 cup romaine lettuce, 1-2 cup spinach/kale mix, half a lemon, 2 sticks of celery and half an apple (for less sugar skip the apple).
From work parties to holiday shopping, it can seem impossible to go to the gym, but squeezing in just five minutes of exercise will help burn calories as well as maintain your strength. If your nights are fully booked with festivities, try getting up earlier to do you workouts, or do this quick exercise on your lunch break.
- Put on a great song!
- Start with your 4 point kneeling position (neutral spine, shoulders over wrist and hips over knees)
- Stabilize your core and don’t let your body shift the weight to one side or the other.
- Flex your foot, engage your glute and reach your heel up to the ceiling.
- Hinge at the hip without moving your pelvis (targets lower abs) to bring your knee back to the start position.
- Do 3 sets of 30 on each side everyday to sculpt your butt (estimated time: 7-10 mins)
Lance Barrett from Elite Performance Fitness
To combat holiday drinking, eat more lean protein like chicken breast and healthy fats like avocado while consuming alcohol, which will help stabilize blood sugar. Choose clear alcohols and have them with water. For example, sparkling water and vodka with lemon is a low-calorie drink, especially when compared to the 450 calorie eggnog and rum cocktail.
There are definitely benefits of small bursts of exercise, so if you can’t commit to an hour in the gym, don’t get down on yourself. You can easily squeeze in a workout during the holidays with this short strength circuit that can be done anywhere and requires no equipment.
- Push-ups. Can be done from either your toes or your knees, depending on your strength level.
- Walking Lunges
- Crawl. Start on your hands and toes. Move the opposite arm and leg together, then switch and repeat.
- Squat with Lateral Hop
Do 12 reps, 3 sets.
Lacey Kondi from Kondi Fitness
Is it possible to celebrate the season without packing on pounds? Absolutely! Life is about balance, so even though this time of year is about heavy foods and indulgences, it doesn’t mean you have to hibernate because you’re afraid of temptation. It’s all about moderation.
Hydration is essential, so make sure you’re drinking more water than usual over the next few weeks. If you know you’ll be having a feast that night, nourish your body with plenty of vegetables and fruit throughout the day. Starving yourself to “save” your calories is never a good idea; not only is it bad for your body, but it slows down your metabolism.
To help your tummy stay flat and increase your core strength, try this single leg teaser. For an added challenge, follow by holding plank for one minute.
Single Leg Teaser:
- Start lying flat on your mat with your knees bent feet flat, hip-width apart.
- Draw you right leg in towards your chest and lower it as low as your left knee.
- Engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button towards your spine, imprinting your lower back into your mat. Bring your hands above your eyes, shoulder relaxed down your back.
- Inhale and exhale as your round your entire upper body up off your mat using your abdominals, reach your finger tips towards your toes, exhale and slowly roll your upper body back down onto your mat in order of spine.
- Repeat 5 times on each leg.