Christmas – Ready, Aim, Feast – or Ready, Aim, Fat Loss?

You might think that I am a little bit early but really, Christmas is in less than one month and that month for many people is one of the most stressful months in the year. This is due to many different reasons. A lot of people complain about the financial pressure to be able to cover their holiday expenses as cnbc reports. Other people complain about family obligations and let’s face it, a lot of families are divorced. Children go visit each of their respective parents and feel like instead of a time of joy and fun with their family they are running from one appointment to another. 

What suffers often is our client’s health and well being. But there are some things that can be done to alleviate the pressure, stress and maintain fitness. You might even lose some weight over the holidays and not just from running from one appointment to another.

Here are some easy tips that can alleviate the financial holiday stress:

  • Speak to your family and agree on a Christmas budget per person
  • Have all of your family put their name in a hat, the one that each of you pull out is the person they are going to buy a gift for.
  • Exclude friends from expensive gifts. People really go too far. I value a friend regardless of a gift and spending some time together and having some fun is worth more than a gift.
  • Start getting your gifts earlier in the year

These tips might help you with your running around stress:

  • if you have a family and your parents divorced and you feel obligated that you have to visit them all, remember they chose to divorce not you. Tell them that it is not very enjoyable to run around stressed from one appointment to another. You can stay with one family on Christmas and another family on Thanksgiving and rotate it the next year. You could also choose to do the same with New Years.
  • Christmas parties: work Christmas party, church Christmas party, friends and before you know it, each weekend is booked. Choose one or two events and politely refuse to go to others because you need the time. If people do not understand then they are not really in the holiday spirit, are they?


How to stay fit in the weeks before the holidays

  • If you know you are going to stress later in the day, exercise first thing in the morning, even if it is just for 10-15 min doing some body weight squats, chin ups and push ups. At least you got it done and you don’t stress about it later in the day.
  • Plan your week on the weekend. Schedule actual time for exercise
  • I love Christmas cookies but that is a sure way to pack on the pounds. Only keep a handful in your house and give the others to friends or to work.
  • Lift weights for 2days a week and  do cardio for 2 days a week as a minimum. Again, even a little bit helps.

How to stay fit over the actual holidays:

  • Plan to exercise first thing in the morning after you get up. If you have a regular routine just keep that. If not, just go for a long vigorous walk, jog, lift some weights, etc. Our personal training clients who exercise in the morning often eat better throughout the day. Your workout serves two purposes: limit the damage caused by overeating and reduce the actual overeating.
  • Make sure to eat breakfast and lunch, don’t just wait for Christmas dinner and gorge yourself, I have yet to meet the person that feels good after gorging themselves. If a salad is served at dinner as well, have that first. It will provide you with fiber and vitamins and fill you up a little bit.
  • Get up the following day and do a little bit of exercise as well, if you lifted the day before, do a little cardio routine or vice versa. Take your children for a hike or play with them on the play ground. For most adults nowadays that is already a workout.
  • Have a nap in the afternoon for recovery
  • Do a small core routine in the evening. It is true that targeted weight loss is not possible, nevertheless most of our clients feel better if they have done something for their “gut”.

Maybe you are an obsessive athlete like some of our clients or me but most people are not. I hope these tips give a little bit of breathing room over the holidays and keep you fit.


Michael Anders


Head Trainer Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting


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