During this time of year, many people think, “I’ll splurge over the holidays and make up for it next year.” But don’t bet on it. Statistically, while 45 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent of us achieve them. LivingHealthy turned to two top trainers—David Kirsch, whose client list includes Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and Kate Upton; and Jennifer Yates, Sofía Vergara’s go-to Pilates pro—to offer LivingHealthy readers their best tips on how to stay healthy and fit despite the abundance of food, drinks and family.
1. Make family fitness a tradition: Instead of only eating, drinking and merrymaking, join forces with your loved ones and establish a fitness-fueled annual activity. “Each year when I was young, my family ran the local Turkey Trot,” explains Yates, who trains clients at her Pasadena-based Studio Metamorphosis. “My mother is a competitive runner, so she ran the longer 10K race while my father and siblings and I jogged the 5K Fun Run,” she recalls. “We snuggled up in warm workout gear and started and finished the race together. My mom would meet us at the finish line with warm apple cider to congratulate us!” As an adult, Yates continues the tradition with family and friends by coordinating a Thanksgiving hike or boot camp class and signing up friends for the local Jingle Bell Run on Christmas. “This year, a bunch of my friends and I are training and running a New Year’s half marathon together!”
2. Prepare both mind and body for holiday shindigs: It can be easy to go wild at those festive fetes, but Kirsch (whose most recent book, Ultimate Family Wellness, hit bookshelves December 1) has a few simple suggestions on how to keep your health under control. Shortly before you go to the party, complete an intense workout or exercise class. Also, make sure you fuel up and fortify before you head out by noshing on a good-for-you snack at home. When you’re at the event, pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth (while staying hydrated) and avoid standing by the bar, which makes you more likely to scarf down bowls of snacks. And dancing isn’t just for fun! “Grab a partner and do-si-do,” Kirsch advises. “The more you dance, the less time you will have to chow and guzzle.” Last but not least, wear something sexy and revealing. “This will definitely act as a deterrent when thinking about whether to reach for the fried dumpling or not.”
3. Walk it off: Get an extra workout in by choosing to walk when you can. “I live close to a Whole Foods and it’s easy for me to drive there on the way home from work to pick up groceries. But lately, I have parked the car at home and then walked to the store to get the groceries,” says Yates. She maintains this habit helps her stay active by getting her body moving and by preventing her from carrying too many groceries home, which forces her to buy only what is necessary and avoid overindulging on junk food.
4. Don’t choose this…choose that: You may really want to indulge in fatty, sugar-filled or carbalicious foods, but Kirsch suggests opting for a healthier alternative. Instead of the apple crumb cake, he advises trying a baked apple or an apple tart, which provides the pleasure and sweetness without the extra sugar. Reach for dark chocolate instead of holiday cookies, as you will reap the antioxidant benefits of chocolate and will be less likely to consume as much. And while mashed potatoes are a divine comfort food, substituting them with roasted rosemary sweet potatoes will lessen the guilt.
5. Plan, plan, plan: “The best way to stay fit during the holidays—when our schedules get jam-packed—is to plan ahead,” says Yates, who suggests signing up for fitness classes ahead of time—even if you’re out of town. “When you commit and have a schedule, you will be more likely to stay motivated. Group classes are fun and help you remain active by keeping you accountable to go.”
6. If you do overindulge, detoxify: After a slightly indulgent holiday, reset the next day with a green juice or smoothie. Kirsch’s go-to is a juice consisting of kale, cucumber, celery, parsley, dill and ginger. “It definitely helps me alleviate the full and bloated feeling, leaving me refreshed and energized.”