Winter Fitness: The Ultimate Guide To Work Off Your Holiday Feast

Get outside and stay active during the holidays.

By: Courtney Carr

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The holidays are here! The season of get-togethers is upon us and before you let time (and your waistline) get away from you, implement these five little tweaks into your busy holiday schedule to work off that holiday feast!

5 Reasons Why You Should Hit The Trail Before Sunrise | Photo: Sarah Seads

1. Wake up and move

Late nights and one too many cups of eggnog may make this sound unappealing, but I promise a single sweat session in the morning can A) cure that morning hang-over and B) help keep you on track. During the holidays, the day can easily become so packed with work, friends, family visiting, and holiday shopping that before you know it, there’s no time left for that workout you’ve been “meaning to get to”. When you wake up and exercise first thing in the morning, you’ve got the whole rest of the day to join the holiday festivities! Knock it off your list and you won’t have to try to figure out when you can squeeze in a workout that you’re not really into.

2. Get social

Plan those holiday “catch-up” sessions around some form of exercise. Instead of catching up over another late night dinner or night of drinks, I love getting together with those friends who are in town over an afternoon hike. It’s easier to hear how your friends’ husband got along with her family at the latest Thanksgiving over the crunch of gravel than the beat of the latest J-Beibs song at the local watering hole. Make your fitness social and you’ll find you spend more quality time with your friends and more time moving!

Cross Country Skiing to Rendezvous Huts, Washington | Photo: Jason Zabriskie

3. Head outside

Use any tracking device or app to design a quick 1/2 mile to 1 mile walk around your neighborhood. Use this in the in-between moments of beginning dinner or after dinner to get outdoors and grab those visiting relatives. Instead of vegging by the t.v. snacking on appetizers prior to eating or lounging after you’ve stuffed yourself full of pumpkin pie, take a walk. Cut your lunch by ten minutes and grab your co-worker for a brisk paced walk around the cafeteria before heading back to work. According to the Journal of General Medicine, walking right after a meal can help control blood sugar levels and aid in actual weight loss when done for 20-30 minutes right after eating.

4. Avoid the “saving room for later” trap

That pecan pie has been calling your name for the last week and tonight good ole’ Aunt Karen brought her famous pie. So you decide to skip breakfast and only eat a few bites of lunch to “save room” for that pecan pie. By the time the pie is served, your ravenous. Instead of eating one slice and enjoying it, you find you’re so hungry that you inhale the first piece and finish one and a half more pieces! Don’t fall into this trap this year. By eating a normal breakfast and snacking on small healthier appetizers throughout the day, you won’t be ravenous when the dessert shows up. You’ll savor each and every bite of the one piece, feel satisfied, and find you eat far less. Plus, your body will thank you for not sending it into overdrive with an intense spike in blood sugar or subsequent drop.

Hike Little Stony Man in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia | Photo: Christin Healey

5. Take 15

Add these quick-sweat sessions into your day to get your body moving. Each one takes me less than 15 minutes to complete and leaves me breathless (& gives me more energy and focus throughout the day). You don’t need to hit the gym for these (but you do need a set of dumbbells). These can be added in before getting ready for that dinner with the parents or the get-together across the street:

Upper Body Pyramid: 10 push-ups, 20 bicep curls, 30 tricep dips, 40 shoulder presses, 50 second plank hold. Then head back down the pyramid (40 presses, 30 tricep dips, 20 curls and 10 push-ups). Ten minutes and your upper body will be thanking you.

Lower Body Pyramid: 10 squats, 20 lunges (each leg), 30 toe touches (straight-legged deadlifts) 40 skaters (side-to-side jumps) and 50 second wall squat. Again, repeat in reverse order, heading down the pyramid (40 skaters, 30 toe touches, 20 lunges, and 10 squats).

These five little things have become my “cling-to” plan to maintain (& even lose a few lbs) during the holiday. By consciously planning to do most of these on a daily basis, the holiday feasting won’t get the best of you this year!

Hike Tank Hill, San Francisco | Photo: Josiah Roe

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