That is what independent personal trainer, Annamae Mullen, advises to anyone who is thinking about working out. While some people wait until Jan. 1. to hit the treadmill, Mullen said the best time to start going to the gym is now, in order to work off that holiday weight gain.
“Everyone hits the gym New Year’s Day and gung-ho about getting in shape and losing the weight they gained over the holidays,” said Mullen. “The gym usually empties out by March. Everyone has given up. The weather is nicer and people don’t want to be in the gym. They haven’t seen any results. It takes about 12 weeks to see results. Or they start to see results and are satisfied for the moment.”
The key to staying fit over the holiday season is to make goals about how much you will work out during the week and being conscience of what you eat and how much of it you put into your body.
“Consistency is key for trying to lose weight,” said George Anderus a personal trainer at Sparks’ Planet Fitness. “Stick with a schedule and keep on coming back to the gym. Then you’ll see results quicker than you think.”
“Don’t stop working out,” said Mullen. “You are never too busy to go to the gym, even if you have family in town. Stock up guest passes for visiting family. If you don’t have a gym membership, you can take walks after lunch.”
Kids can suffer from the holiday bulge, as well. Get your children moving by bringing them to a park to run around. In snowy conditions, kids can get in some exercise with sledding or ice skating.
“Anything physical will do,” said Mullen. “It gets you out in the fresh air, helps keep your blood pumping and your muscles from being too stagnant.”
People do not have to limit themselves to sitting around the table during the holidays.
“Spend about 80 percent of your diet eating the right food — dark leafy greens; lean protein like chicken and some heathy fat like almonds and avocados,” said Mullen. “Use that other 20 percent for cookies and candy. It’s okay to indulge but just do it in moderation.”
Eat a healthy meal before heading out to a party in order not to be tempted to fill up with snacks and sweets. Have a small salad with a side of protein. Cocktail drinks are often times filled with sugar. Drink water before enjoying a beverage. Alternate water between each cocktail you drink.
When cooking, use spices to flavor food instead of caloric-heavy sauces, dressings and marinades.
The holiday season can be an expensive one. For those watching their wallets, as well as the scale, they can start working out out at home.
“Start going on walks. You can do push-ups and squats in your living room; triceps dips on a chair or the edge of your bathtub,” said Mullen. “There are plenty of resources online for home workouts without equipment.”
“Thirty minutes of some kind of exercise every day, even walking, can be beneficial,” he said. “Why limit yourself to sitting around all day? Small changes lead to bigger changes down the road.”
But no place beats the gym.
“Gyms have everything you need,” said Anderus. “Find a gym where you’re comfortable with good training from like-minded individuals.”
“The gym seems like a lot of money but gyms usually have a ton of deals this time of year,” said Mullen. “You should invest in your future. Working out now leads to fewer health problems in the future.”