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Staying fit during the holidays a weighty matter

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It can be especially difficult to stick to your fitness routine during the holidays. The parties, the drinking and the desserts can be especially problematic. What’s even more dangerous is that we tend to lose track of our regular routine. The holidays tend to disrupt sleep and workout schedules and foster poor food choices.

To stay fit during the holidays, make every effort to maintain regular training, sleep and nutritional habits. If you usually work out in the morning, continue to work out in the morning, even if it means shortening your routine or training at home instead of at the gym. If you have a regular bedtime, stick to it as much as possible.

This is easier said than done, and it might not be realistic to think that we will avoid family feasts and late night holiday parties.  So how can we mitigate the damage? Here are a few strategies to help you reduce the impact of a holiday party on your health.

First, plan in advance. Schedule a workout on the day you are going out. If you plan an especially challenging workout, you’ll feel energized and confident for the party. Even better, schedule a training date with a workout buddy for the day after the party. It doesn’t have to be a traditional gym workout, maybe you can plan to go out skating or tobogganing. The important part is that you are accountable to someone and that you get moving after the party.

Second, prepare your body for the partying ahead. Drink lots of water the day before and the day of your party. If you plan on drinking at the soirée, add some electrolytes to your water. To minimize the impact on your health and body composition, choose alcoholic drinks wisely.

Avoid sugary drink mixes and beer. Instead, have a glass of wine or hard liquor on ice.

On the food front, consider eating a healthy meal before you go out. A high protein meal before the party will make you feel full and less tempted to eat everything in sight once you actually get there. If you know what types of foods and drinks will be at the soirée, plan in advance. Think about which options will be healthiest and load up on those first, particularly meat and vegetables.

Rather than completely depriving yourself of all those delicious holiday treats, choose the one item that is most special to you and decide in advance that you will have it. If you love grandma’s cookies, give yourself permission to have them, and savour every bite! Don’t waste your treat on something you don’t enjoy; choose something really special.

Enjoy the pleasures of the season. Before you know it everyone will be setting New Year’s resolutions and you won’t have to.

Tania Tetrault Vrga is owner and head trainer at CrossFit Winnipeg. Send questions to her at www.crossfitwinnipeg.com.

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