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Tips for Working Off the Extra Holiday Calories
During the festive season, we tend to live by a different set of rules and our normal standards can fly out the window. And that’s okay — celebrating holidays with loved ones is one of the great joys of life. It’s okay if you had a few more glasses of prosecco or cookies off Santa’s plate than you’d planned. It’s also okay if a busy calendar of parties and events left you less active than you normally tend to be. It’s all a part of enjoying the holiday spirit — but now, your winter clothes aren’t fitting the way they did last year.
Don’t panic. Plenty of people gain a little weight over the holidays. However, if you’d like to drop those extra pounds, we’re here to help make that happen. Our team at Jack City Fitness is passionate about nutrition, exercise, and healthy living. We love working with partners to reach goals that make them feel great.
If you’re eating a nutritious diet and keeping physically active, you’re already off to a great start. Hoping for some tips to optimize your already-healthy habits? We’ve got you. Here are our top ten ways to burn some of those extra holiday calories during your daily life.
- Choose the Active Option
It’s said that the average human being makes a mind-blowing 35,000 decisions over the course of one day. Some feel bigger than others, but every choice you make plays a larger role in your life. Every time you swipe away on a dating app or order a smoothie, you’re making a decision. While these choices seem inconsequential, the truth is that they hold weight. After all, enough tiny drops of water will eventually become a flood.
It’s with this philosophy in mind that we bring you our first calorie-burning trick. Though it’s impossible to consider every daily decision you make, you can focus on a few choices to help improve your life.
In your daily life, you often need to decide how you’ll get from place to place. This can mean anything from your work commute to how you’ll get upstairs to your apartment. Our advice is to always choose the most active option that you are capable of doing. This can mean walking or biking home from work instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or using a yoga ball rather than a chair at your work desk.
- Go For a Ride
Okay, okay. We know. As we’re writing this, the current temperature in Boise is 30 degrees. But hear us out.
Riding a bike is a fantastic way to stay healthy both mentally and physically. It’s low-impact, so it’s an appropriate way for people of varying ages and skill levels to stay active. It’s fantastic for one’s cardiovascular system, stress levels, and overall bodily health. It’s also a way to lose weight (cardio is great that way) and remains a favorite of both our staff and partners.
During the snowless months, riding your bike to work, school, or on errands is a great way to get fresh air into your lungs and burn extra calories. However, there’s no reason that you can’t start with cycling right now. The cycling machines at your favorite fitness center are a great way to bike no matter what the weather — and you can even watch your favorite show while you do it.
- Find Your Soundtrack
How lucky are we that music exists? A good tune can change your mood, inspire you, and speak to you in a way that’s unlike anything else.
When it comes to getting fit and losing a few extra pounds, music can make a big difference. Whether you’re working away on the treadmill, walking to work, or even having a mini dance party while cleaning your house, your favorite song is likely to put some pep in your step.
Head over to your favorite music-streaming service and start putting some tracks together. Some apps, like Spotify, even have pre-made workout playlists so you can just click and go.
- Pay Attention to Portions
Over the holiday seasons, we don’t just stop paying attention to the ingredients in our meals. We also tend to have larger servings than we normally do. However, now that you’re dodging curbside Christmas trees and already seeing Easter cards at the supermarket, you know that the holiday season is officially finished for the year.
You love eating healthy, but you don’t want to abandon your favorite treats entirely. That’s completely okay — everybody deserves food that they love. The key is to manage your portion sizes: start small and remind yourself that you can always have a second helping if you’re starving when your plate is clear. We also recommend eating slowly, and using a smaller plate to make your portion look larger — the human brain is easier to trick than you’d think.
- Learn New Skills
How much do you cook? Whether you’re a budding restauranteur or have never even scrambled an egg, there’s plenty of cooking skills for you to learn.
Take this as an opportunity to pick up some new cooking skills. There are countless cookbooks, websites, and blogs that specialize in nourishing recipes. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll probably begin creating your own healthy dishes without even needing someone else’s recipes.
If you’re unsure where to start, we love British cookbook author and celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver — his entire mission revolves making delicious food both healthy and easy to prepare at home.
For some gorgeous (albeit less newbie-oriented) inspo, look for recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi. He has both a Guardian column as well as quite a few cookbooks. Believe us — this man takes vegetables to another level entirely.
- Don’t Miss Your Daily Doses
Speaking of vegetables: are you getting enough of them in your daily diet? How about fruit? Water?
Perhaps you’re familiar with the concept of “Five a Day.” This international campaign urges people to consume at five servings of fruit and vegetables every day — and that’s the minimum. Ideally, you should be consuming more — some experts even suggest 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day. Consuming this amount of produce daily isn’t only for weight loss, but it will certainly prove helpful. We recommend heaping your plate high with veggies and eating them before moving onto the other parts of your meal. You won’t be as tempted to instantly slam two pieces of lasagne if you’ve just eaten a huge salad.
While we’re on the subject of daily doses, let’s talk hydration. How much water do you drink per day? The general rule is 8 glasses, which comes out to about half a gallon, or 2 liters.
Staying properly hydrated will make you feel great, keep your energy levels high for exercise, and makes your skin look fantastic. It also fills you up, which is important because we often mistake thirst for hunger.
- Turn Your To-Do’s into Extra Workouts
Sometimes, it’s possible to sneak little workouts into your errands. For example, when we head to the grocery store, we’ve started ditching the shopping cart in favor of a basket. We recommend you give it a shot. By making the tiny choice of basket vs cart, you are actually giving yourself an impromptu lifting session right in the supermarket. You can even do a few curls with your basket! We also like this technique because it gives you a chance to truly consider every food purchase you make — after all, you don’t want to carry more than you need.
Of course, errands likely aren’t the only thing on your to-do list. Been putting off a call? Throw on a set of Airpods and walk while you talk. Need to get a haircut? Find one within walking distance. Have a dog? Bring her to the woods instead of around your block. There are always ways to sneak activity into your routine.
- Reject “Instant” Culture
It’s so tempting to order delivery or buy a frozen pizza instead of cook a nourishing dinner. It’s equally enticing to call an Uber instead of walking to that party, to have your shopping delivered rather than strolling around a store, or to make your dinner from “just add water” packets rather than whole ingredients. We get it. Your life is busy, and responsibilities often hit a fever pitch following the holiday season. Catching up on post-vacation work as well as social and family responsibilities are valid reasons for wanting to take advantage of technology and the ease it presents.
Though these convenient inventions are always a handy way to get things done, they aren’t very helpful when it comes to losing weight. If you’re looking to shed those extra holiday pounds, we recommend activity over app-tivity. Not only will it beget healthier eating habits, the extra movements will burn some calories.
- Swap Out Your Sugar
If you have a sugar addiction, you’re not alone: it’s one of the hardest habits to kick. It’s also one of the most dangerous vices we can think of: excessive sugar consumption can lead to all sorts of scary problems, from tooth decay to heart disease. It’s also a known contributor to obesity.
Cutting sugar out of your diet is a fantastic way to look after your health, but we know it’s not always easy. Finding more nourishing alternatives as sweet treats can feel daunting, but there are loads of options. Here are some of our favorites:
- Craving a frosty treat, like ice cream?
Blending a frozen banana with some unsweetened peanut butter and raw cacao powder will create a soft and creamy dessert that tastes exactly like a milkshake.
- Feeling the urge to bake brownies?
Try swapping your sugar and butter for some mashed sweet potato — it’ll give the same fudgy and decadent texture and flavor that you’re after.
- Want to drink some soda?
Instead of chugging loads of sugar, make your own version of a soft drink by infusing some plain seltzer water with your favorite fruit.
- Relive Your Childhood
When you were a kid, physical activity likely played a huge role in your daily life. As an adult, you may not have the time or inclination to spend hours jumping rope or chasing your friends around the neighborhood, but there’s still plenty for you to learn from your inner child. Whether you now have your own little ones to play with or not, these fun activities are a great way to get moving and have fun in a way you haven’t for years.
A few ideas:
- Have a snow day
Instead of using snowy days as a reason to throw on Netflix, try bundling up and heading outside. Channel your inner Frozen characters and build a snowman, or finally erect the grand fort that you never made as a little kid. Throw some snowballs at your house. It’ll get your blood pumping, and you’ll head back inside later with a smile on your face.
- Play ball
If you enjoyed a certain sport as a kid, it’s not too late to get back into the game. Joining an intramural team is a fantastic way to build friendships and stay active.
- Jump around
As a kid, jumping on a trampoline was akin to flying. As an adult, it’s tougher work — and it burns a ton of calories. If your kids (or your friends’ kids) have a trampoline, shake off your shoes, climb aboard, and have a jump. It’s fun and it’ll get your heart pounding.
Bonus Tip: You won’t need to shed any extra pounds next year if you go into the holidays with a new attitude towards your personal health and nutritional needs. Here at Jack City Fitness, our coaches are ready to help you build healthy eating and workout habits that will carry you through your life — including the tempting holiday season. Give us a call today, and we’ll invite you to come visit our Boise facility. You can peek into a class, chat with some of our coaches, and even undergo a free fitness consultation. From there, you’ll have 24/7 access to our fitness center, and loads of classes and special services to help you meet your goals. Let’s get started today!