By Paul Peroy

We are heading for the holiday season, with many get-togethers, Christmas parties, dinners and lunches. Then there’s the meal of the year, where we eat everything we ever wanted and tackle the leftovers on Boxing Day.

This raises the question -” how do I get through the Christmas period without looking as stuffed as the turkey?

You will have more time on your hands over this period, with some extra days off work. Since the general formula for losing body fat is eat less and move more, take advantage of this time to make more trips to the gym or engage in some extra walks, swims or other exercise.

It’s also a time where you can increase the intensity or duration of your work-outs, pushing yourself to the limit, as you have more time off to recover.

You may decide to try something new, so if you are a regular walker, try some weights or a class that will take you outside your comfort zone and bring you closer to your dream body.

After including those extra work-outs, you can add a scenic walk, a dance class or a bike ride.
As you have more time, why not make an appointment with a fitness consultant (your personal trainer) and have them review what you are doing regularly. They will assess where you are at, see if you are striving towards your goal and give you some ideas to spice up your work-out.

A group fitness class is always a goer. It is the perfect mix of social and physical activity. With the music pumping and the instructor motivating you, nothing beats the rush. Gone are the days of Jane Fonda and her Jazzercise. Classes include weightlifting, cardio blasts with or without routines, cardio fighting with and without contact, mind and body, dance and many more.

You could spend the extra time trying out the classes available at your local club or community hall. If you thought classes where for your lipstick girl friends, you are mistaken -” the group fitness room is now filled with everyone from the community.

Now, how do you get through all those parties, dinners and the Christmas Day meal? The rule of thumb is always everything in moderation. Keep your portion size to a regular small size, though you can eat a little of everything. If you find yourself over-indulging, then think you must expend that extra amount in extra exercise. Sound fair?

So if you’re going to have extra ham, then you have to take those extra steps in your walk. It’s a great time to slowly get your friends and family into the exercise regime. Don’t tell them. Invite them for a walk -” let’s go check out the Christmas lights around the neighbourhood, always works for me.

If you have a huge lunch, try a lighter dinner or vice versa. Another tip -” if you are having everyone over for the biggest meal of the year, give them take-home packs, so you aren’t inundated with leftovers.

Now get out there and take advantage of your spare time. Don’t sit staring at the TV or computer -” go out and enjoy the view, take a friend and enjoy everything around you. The greatest benefit is you will feel refreshed and invigorated after your walk, as it gives you time to clear your mind.

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