The holidays have always been an important time of year for me. Whether it's the opportunity to relax or the chance to spend more time with my family, there’s something special about a season dedicated to the people and values that are most important to you.
But the end of the year is also bittersweet. When you look beyond the holiday cheer and time away from work, December oftentimes equals doom for your health. Diets go crashing, activity disappears, and the hard work that people put in for an entire year goes on life support—waiting for resurrection in January.
Year after year, resolution after resolution, the same trend always repeats itself. Leading to one simple question: Does fitness have to die in December?
This year, I want to try something different. I want to bring fitness back to life in December and start preparing some pre-resolutions. Consider it a test for the real thing in January. I want you to increase your activity, focus on your diet, and still enjoy the holidays, all while finding time for your health. It’s time to raise the bar. After all, recent research shows that by the year 2020, it’s estimated that 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women will be either overweight or obese. Translation: We need to fight for our health and set a standard for others to follow.
Focusing on your fitness at the end the year has many benefits that will make your life even better in 2012. Think about it: When January rolls around, you won’t be trying to make up for the damage caused in November and December. Instead, you can ride your momentum and accomplish even more. To help the cause, I encourage you to reach out to me on Twitter (@BornFitness ), ask me your questions or share your motivation and tips, and include the hashtag #fitnesslives. Together, I want us to reverse the trend.
In addition to answering your questions, I’ll provide tips all month to keep you inspired, help you eat better, and make sure that #fitnesslives and 2011 ends on a good note. After all: It’s not always how you start, but where you finish.
To keep you on the right path, use these tips and words of motivation to push you towards the finish line.
INSTANT INSPIRATION: “It's never too late to reinvent yourself. Get up, and take the first step towards becoming the person you want to be.”
ENJOY, DON'T ABUSE: One "bad" day of eating will never ruin an entire diet. So if you choose to indulge, don't feel guilty. Enjoy. But then get back on track with your next meal or with a workout that day or the next. A healthy life is all about balance.
STAY FOCUSED: "When you're interested in something, you do it when it's convenient. When you're committed, you accept no excuses; only results.”
PLAN YOUR SUCCESS: Resolutions shouldn’t just exist during New Year’s. They should be a permanent part of your life. If you’re not trying to get better every week, every day, and every hour, you’re probably doing something wrong. Make weekly or monthly lists to help keep yourself on track, and reward yourself when you reach your goals. Do what it takes to keep yourself accountable.
BE CREATIVE: Cold weather isn’t an excuse to stop exercising. Go outside and play. Head to the gym. Do a workout in your home. If anything, the change in weather should force you to become MORE creative, which can make your typical workout more fun, challenging, and enjoyable.
FIRE-UP FAT LOSS: Don’t think you can do a workout at home? Try this one. It’s a metabolic program designed to burn calories fast—including the few extra pounds you might have put on during holiday eating. Best of all: No equipment is needed. Start on the lower end of the sets, and build up as you improve your stamina. Warning: This workout is harder than it looks.
Perform each of the exercise groups as a circuit. That is, do one exercise after another without any rest between movements. Once you finish all exercises in a group, that's one set. Then rest 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 3 to 6 times before moving on to the next group. Each exercise should be performed for 30 seconds.
Group 1: Lunges Mountain climbers Squat jumps
Group 2: Pushups Hip extenions Stationary running
Group 3: T-Pushup Side lunge Squat thrusts (burpees)
GO SMALL TO LOSE BIG: Trouble getting started with what you should be eating? Start logging your foods on MyPlate. It will give you a baseline of how many calories you’re actually consuming compared to how much you should be eating. This will be your guide. But don’t try to make massive changes. The good foods vs. bad foods debate can be frustrating. Instead, do addition by subtraction. Add foods that will keep you full and help you eat less. Begin each meal with vegetables, pack each meal full of protein (which will help you burn more calories compared to fats and carbohydrates), and substitute fruits for some starchy carbohydrates (like breads and pasta). The fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth, but with just a fraction of the calories.
FACE YOUR CHALLENGES: “In our lives, we have two or three opportunities to be a hero, but almost every day, we have the opportunity not to be a coward.”