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5 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

by Dr. Paul Thompson
ways to stay healthy - hiking santa

You survived another summer and are heading into the holiday season. While this time can appear joyous it is a setup, designed to destroy many of the health goals you have worked so hard to achieve.

The dreaded holiday BONANZA, better known as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’, can derail any of your attempts at getting in shape or keeping those new healthy habits you formed during the warmer months.

ways to stay healthy - hiking santa

In an attempt to avoid any pitfalls, here are some ways to stay healthy during the holidays, while enabling you to retain your “Life of the Party” status.

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

1. Increase Your Exercise Intensity

Exercise must remain an important part of your health regimen, even during the busy holiday season. I didn’t say squeeze it in between functions…this is the time for you to kick up the intensity.

High-intensity intervals work best. I do 100% effort for one minute with a two-minute slowdown, repeated for 20 minutes. When done effectively this will be the longest one minute and the shortest two minutes you have ever experienced. You will continue to burn fat long after you are done if the intensity is at a high enough level.

Related: 7 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

What should you do? Anything that gets your heart pumping and your body moving. Running, biking and swimming are all great choices but choose an exercise that you enjoy doing so you’ll be motivated to stick with it during those one-minute sprints.

2. Exercise First Thing in the Morning

Get your workout started first thing in the morning. Cardio is done on an empty stomach has been shown to help burn fat more effectively than after eating.

So after you first wake up, empty your bladder, throwback a black coffee (or two) and it’s off to the races.

The best part? Getting your most important healthy activity done while most people are still in bed.

Related: 7 Steps to Fat Loss

3. Add Strength Training

Resistance training should be done in the morning as well. As the day progresses unforeseen commitments arise and your workouts become no more than a good intention. Remember the old financial advice “Pay yourself first”? Well, that works for exercise as well.

4. Do Something Different

The next step is to jump out of your routine. For strength training, you can switch to extremely high reps repeated for three sets.

A normal chest day could include three sets of thirty reps of bench press, dumbbell incline, cable flies, and maybe a chest machine. You can then follow that up with triceps in a similar fashion. Do that, and you’ll have completed 720 reps.

This routine should be done for 8-9 weeks max. It will blow the fat off you.

Related: Why Burst Training is Your Best Fat Burning Workout

5. Eat Right

The final ingredient in your healthy holiday formula is to stay away from high glycemic foods and drinks. I would suggest at the buffet table using a small plate, avoid grazing and limit your trips for seconds.

Alcohol often comes into play, so go with the low glycemic choices if you decide to partake. The best choices are dry red wines, light beer, and mixed drinks like vodka and soda.

Related: Healthy Eating 101 – The Benefits of Real Food

The Takeaway

The holidays are a time for family, fun, and often, extra pounds. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can not only have fun but with a little planning and discipline, you can excel during the joyous season.


dr thompsonDr. Paul Thompson is an age management practitioner. He is the President of Cenegenics Elite Health in Arlington Texas. He is also a co-founder and board member of USMD, a Medical Development Company. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons & the Chief of Surgery (20 years), Chief of Staff, and head of the Credential Committee at Southeast.

Featured image by kevin dooley

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