The holidays are notorious for taking an otherwise chiseled male physique and reducing it to the consistency of the Pillsbury doughboy. It's not uncommon for men to gain 10-12 pounds during November and December. All that eating, drinking and merry making takes its toll on your overall fitness regimen.
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Know the Enemy
There's no question, the holiday season provides an easy excuse for eating poorly and forgoing exercise. "What the heck, I'll get back on the plan after the first of year." Sure, you will NOT. Yes, it's hectic this time of year, but it is important to stick as closely as possible to your regular routine.
Witness to Fitness
Here are some sure-fire suggestions to help keep off the holiday pounds and keep up the muscle tone.
- Remember the goal: You should be to get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise at least three times per week. This is true year-round, but it's especially important during the holidays when your eating and drinking escalates.
- Be flexible with your workout times. If you're used to exercising in the morning, but late-night holiday gatherings make this problematic, simply schedule your workout at noon or after work. The key is continuing to exercise at regular days, not times, during the week.
- Oddly enough, just getting a full night's sleep may help prevent winter weight gain.
- When weight lifting, be sure to work all muscle groups, which will help jumpstart your metabolism.
- Try adding a new exercise into the mix. If you're used to running on the treadmill three days a week, substitute swimming for a day or two. The novelty can help keep you on a regular exercise schedule.
- Don't have time for the gym? Create a home workout using a regimen of push-ups, crunches and sit-ups.
- Try combining family activities with exercise. For example, hauling the kids up a hill a few times can make a sledding trip as beneficial as a jog. Or taking the kids cross-country skiing or on a backpacking trip will provide exercise as well as spending quality time with your family.
- Finally, walking is a great exercise for the holiday season. Enjoy a nightly stroll through your neighborhood, checking out the festive lights and spirit of the season.