Fight the holiday weight gain

With just a little bit of effort, you can enjoy the tastes of the season, stay healthy and be ready for the new year.

December 8, 2013 

  • Shorten your workouts if you are feeling the holiday time crunch.

    Remember that some is always better than none.

    If you don’t have time to work out for an hour, shorten your workout to 20 to 30 minutes. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

    Doing circuit training with weights or running intervals on the treadmill are fast and effective ways to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

    Combine strength and cardio into one workout: This goes hand-in-hand with Tip No. 1. Alternating a strength exercise with a cardio exercise is a way to get the best of both worlds. Perform three sets of the circuit in this sample format for a minute each, with little to no rest between exercises:

    1. Pushups

    2. Jump rope

    3. Cable rows

    4. Jumping jacks

    5. Body weight lunges

    6. Rowing machine

    Find a workout partner: Using the buddy system works wonders for staying consistent. It creates a sense of accountability by both parties.

    Plus, there is always the tendency to push a little harder when you have a partner involved. Just make sure you find a partner who is reliable.

    Fill up on healthy food before the party: There will always be guilty pleasures at all times around the holiday season. I know you've heard it before, but filling up on healthy food and some water prior to a party really will lead to less calorie consumption during social engagements. Plus, you’ll be able to savor the treats you do indulge in.

    Eat to mild fullness: We’ve all experienced it — eating our holiday feast to the point we feel like we’re the stuffed turkey. This year, try eating smaller portions instead of piling as much food as possible on your plate. There will always be plenty of leftovers to go back for later. On a scale of 10, shoot for a 5 to 6 in fullness. Your waistline — and digestive system — will thank you for it.

Editor’s note: This column originally ran Nov. 30, 2009

After more than 15 years in the fitness industry, I am still amazed how often people put off starting a workout program until “next year.”

Before you consider shutting it down over the holidays, consider the following fact: Americans gain an average of five to 10 pounds during the holiday season and never lose the weight!

To put it into a larger perspective, over a course of five years, the holiday indulgence alone could result in 25 to 50 pounds of weight gain.

Now, before you chime in with, “But Jason, the holidays are so busy with work parties and family engagements, not to mention all of the temptations ...” I completely understand. You should be able to indulge, but within reason.

Plus, the holidays are an even better reason to start or continue your workout program. Worst-case scenario: You gain no weight this season and create positive momentum going into the new year. Best-case scenario: You actually lose weight, finish the year strong and become even more motivated come January.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 15 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at or

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