Easy (Gym-Free) Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays

Easy (Gym-Free) Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays

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1. Break your workout throughout the day

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The best advice is for people to break their workout throughout the day, according to Maurice Williams, top personal trainer, fitness coach and owner of Move Well Fitness. “Instead of doing 45 minutes at a time, do 10 minutes but twice or three times a day.” The overall effect will be the same. “Your body doesn’t know the difference,” he added.

2. Partner up

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Keeping yourself accountable is one of the best ways to make sure you stay on track. Having a partner for any form of exercising, not just at the gym, can also help you overcome boredom (if you have that problem). “Try to pick someone who is equal to your fitness level or even better so you can keep up. It’s good for motivation,” Williams says.  

3. Keep a journal

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If your aim all along has been to lose weight, then writing down what you eat during the busy holiday period definitely works, according to Williams, because it serves as a detailed feedback of what you’re doing right or wrong.

4. Beware of what you drink

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The obvious advice is to drink enough water. But if it’s not H2O, then add coffee. “It gives you a boost in the morning so you won’t dread doing some exercises,” Williams says. Green tea is helpful, too. Avoid alcohol. “There are studies saying if you drink one glass of wine a day, that will help prevent heart disease. But if you never drink, you’ll be just fine.” Still, a glass of wine or a pint of beer is OK. “Don’t have three.”

5. Exercise “home-style”

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You can do that many different ways. Download apps with suggestions for working out in your own house doing regular chores. Such exercises include walking (or biking) to the store or to work, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or in your lunch break, do squats while you’re waiting for  something at home, do push-ups, sit-ups, planks, jumping jacks while watching TV. One or two sets are better than nothing at all.

6. Enlist your family

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Go on a walk together or play a family game. If not football, then maybe a board game? For example, in which whoever loses has to do 10 push-ups or run around the house twice. “I make my family go on walks if I haven’t got enough workout for the day,” Williams says of his personal experience with involving his relatives.

7. Spend less time working out but mix exercises

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“In 5-10 minutes you can feel like you’ve done 50 minutes,” Williams says. That is good news for all the busy people out there. Mixing cardio and resistance exercise will be enough. Do as many as you can push-ups for 30-40 seconds. Immediately after that do jumping jacks for one minute. Right after that do lunges. This is about 3 minutes, right? That’s the length of the commercial break during the movie you watch at night.

8. Food or exercise: You can skip one

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This is in case you absolutely have no time for both: If your goal is to lose a few pounds, according to Williams, then skip the workout and eat but stay on track. “You can lose weight without exercising.” If you want to build muscle, then choose resistance training.

9. Make your goals public

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This goes back to accountability. Schedule your workouts or tell someone who you know will check on you about your plans. “I’ve found to best way is to sign up for a challenge whether it’s for 21, 30 or 60 days. It gives you a training regimen and keeps you on track,” according to Williams.

10. Exercise before eating

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We already established that just 3-4 minutes of cardio and strength exercise can be enough. So do it before the big meal. Your body is using energy to cool down after working out. It’s still doing that while you’re eating. The metabolism then continues to burn calories when at complete rest. This physiological effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

11. Brush your teeth after a meal

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Putting all benefits to your dental health of brushing your teeth before bed and after a meal aside, this small trick has a psychological payback as well. The feeling of fresh breath and clean mouth discourages some people from grabbing a quick snack. “It definitely works for my wife,” Williams says. “So it will probably work on others, too.”