How to Stay Fit During the Holidays, Part II

Tricks and tips from personal trainers on how to avoid holiday weight gain but still enjoy the festivities.

Planning on indulging a bit during the holidays? Fitness experts say to avoid fasting before a big meal and stick to your current exercise regimen to avoid injury and weight gain later. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

We’re all about indulging during the holidays, but not when it means an extra five pounds to our expanding waistlines. Around the holiday season one of the most popular questions personal trainers get asked is, “How can I avoid holiday weight gain?” Just like last year, we asked how they stay in tip-top shape this time of year, and once again they enthusiastically answered. 

1) Plan your workouts and meals carefully.
“I do some careful scheduling to make sure I get my workouts in, even if there’s limited time—high-intensity interval workouts are very effective. [I also] adjust my diet to make up for the extra calorie intake. I enjoy a lot of the foods and sweets that come with the holidays, and it’s the one time of year I indulge. I make up for it by eating very strictly on the days I don’t have holiday gatherings to attend.” —Doug Murphy of DSM Fitness 

2) Don’t punish yourself.
“The key to it all is to have fun and not to punish yourself—punishment is so not festive. So catch a workout with friends, choose workouts you love, and have a blast!” —Katie Fouts and Jane Brodsky of Biker Barre 

3) Take a rest.
“I would not be concerned with taking 7 to 14 days off [from resistance training]. Research shows that there are no cons to stop resistance exercises for less than two weeks. After two weeks, we tend to lose the strength gain and muscle tone. That being said, your resting metabolism will not change drastically during that time. But remember, nutrition is a key factor and must not be underrated.” —Ariel Osharenko of FIT DC

4) But don’t stop everything and then overdo it come January.
“Staying active at this time of year will prevent you from getting injured in January when everyone else will try to work off two months of eating in two weeks.” —Errick McAdams, Lululemon Ambassador and personal trainer

5) Wear a tight-fitting clothing (Seriously!).
“Wear a tight dress, or tight pants to the party. This will make overeating more challenging. Trust me.” —Sara Oliveri, health coach and personal trainer 

6) Pick your battles.
“Pick your battles. My mother used to say, ‘Errick, you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.’ I apply this rule to eating all year but especially during the holiday season. Decide what you really want and eat that. This way you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.” —McAdams

7) Remember the trifecta.
“I try to employ three intra-holiday ‘points of focus’: 1) Keep it clean throughout the week (nutritionally), 2) go to a higher-intensity circuit-style strength program, and 3) remember to allow myself some small-portioned indulgences with friends and family. I’m not a big sugar junkie, so this usually means comfort foods, holiday brews, and perhaps some eggnog.” —Allyn Blind of Synergy Training Solutions 

8) Keep the desserts out of reach.
“If your host tries to send temptation home with you, politely, but firmly, decline (do say ‘yes’ to the protein and veggies that aren’t in a casserole). If you are the host, send the unhealthy leftovers home with your guest or donate them. Better in the trash than on your ass. Keep your home a safe nutrition space.” —Josef Brandenburg of The Body You Want Fitness Solutions