It’s Holiday – But You Can Still Sneak in Some Fitness

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Shopping, baking, decorating, traveling, hosting, special events: is there any time in your busy holiday schedule for fitness?

Unfortunately, many people let it slide for the month until faced with extra pounds and deconditioning by January.

Austyn Affronti, is a certified personal trainer and owner of Affronti Fitness in Rochester.

Despite the hectic season, it is possible to sneak in fitness.

“An easy way to burn extra calories is 10-minute walks after every meal,” said Austyn Affronti, certified personal trainer and owner of Affronti Fitness in Rochester. “You can add 5,000 steps every day. As you eat food, the body gets more efficient in absorbing calories. Walking after meals keeps your metabolism going.”

Grab a family member to join you and you can use this time to catch up and look at the community’s decorations. Or call a friend while you walk.

The high-intensity interval training style workout crams a lot of movement into a short time period. As a variation of HIIT, Affronti said tabata workouts can offer a good calorie burn. A tabata timer can help keep the sessions moving, as these timers go off in brief cycles to monitor an intense workout session. After warming up and stretching, perform a four-minute session, alternate between two bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, jump squats and mountain climbers every 20 seconds with a 10-second rest between them. Do each movement to 100% capacity, as hard and fast as possible.

Kerri Howell, is a online personal trainer, nutrition coach and owner of Rochester-based fitprmomlife.com.

“It forces you to do quite a bit of work in four minutes,” Affronti said. “A lot of time under tension with little recovery time pushes the intensity.”

If your holiday plans include traveling, workouts can be more challenging to fit in. But it’s still possible. Kerri Howell, online personal trainer, nutrition coach and owner of Rochester-based fitprmomlife.com, encourages travelers to “sneak out early in the morning before everyone wakes up and get a morning walk in,” she said.

You may even recruit other early birds to join you.

If you stay at a hotel, try to find one with a gym so you can “take advantage of the equipment it has,” Howell said.

Although finding time for your normal spinning class or hour-long run may be hard, Howell tells clients that sticking with just 15 minutes of resistance training per day will help them maintain their gains.

To save time, “choose one lower body and one upper body compound lift,” she said. “For example, do a squat variation and pushups one day, a lunge and triceps dip another day. Do four sets of 10 for each. Do this five times a week for 15 minutes each. That’s it. You’d be surprised how much you can keep muscle doing this.”

Ironically, we tend to not only move less but eat more during the season — and many of those food choices are usually poor. That’s why Howell reminds clients to mind their diet if they are moving less. It starts with “a healthful, protein-rich breakfast and make good choices at the buffet party table,” Howell said.

While starving yourself before a party can lead to overeating, it can help to lower caloric intake earlier in the day.

“Eat a lighter breakfast smoothie or protein shake to leave room for indulgence,” Howell said.