By Alex Zuniga As we enter the holiday season, many of us stress out about gaining excess weight. With all of the delicious meals and family gatherings filled with baked goods, how could one not be tempted? So why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year? Sure, you can always come up with an excuse not to exercise. But slacking off on your fitness program during the holidays will only leave you with more pounds -- and more stress -- come the New Year. However, there are many ways to beat the battle of the bulge and even improve your fitness level before the New Year rolls around. Fitness experts recognize that this time of year is difficult for many people trying to stick to an exercise program. I know you are probably thinking- “yeah, yeah, here we go…another fitness article, ‘how to stay in shape during holiday season’.” You're busy, you're stressed, and it’s cold out. Well, I guarantee you that if you follow at least half of the following simple tips, you won’t gain any weight during this coming holiday season, and more importantly, if you follow all of the tips, you will lose at least one pound a week. Drink Plenty Of Water: Many times we will overeat because we are dehydrated and thirsty. Therefore, make sure that your water intake is adequate. Besides, water also gives you a sense of fullness so if properly hydrated you will be consuming less food. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption: you are better off eating an extra cookie than consuming numerous cocktails. Excess alcohol just contributes too much to fat gain. Don't Keep "Danger" Foods Around: We all have some food that will trigger a binge, so try to keep these foods out of the house When Short On Time, Emphasize The Weights Training Portion Of Your Workouts: Muscle aids in burning fat, and will help to fight off the extras that you normally don't eat. If you are going to cut the workout short for the day, I would suggest hitting the weights first (always lift as heavy as you can), even at the expense of cardio. If this is the case, you can use supersets and giant sets to make your weight training workouts more aerobic in nature. Use kettlebells in your workouts: The results are amazing and it is quick calorie burn. A recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that the average kettlebell workout burns 20 calories a minute; that's 600 calories burned in 30 minutes. So, a half-hour kettlebell workout three times a week is going to produce really fantastic results! Eat A Balance Of Macronutrients: Do not cut out any food groups as you will most likely be hungry and eat foods that your body doesn't really need. If you are hungry, fill up on protein and veggies as protein increases your metabolism by up to 20% and veggies take more calories to digest than what they contain. Use Moderation When Cheating On Your Diet: Allow yourself to indulge a little here and there, but limit your portions. Far too many of us think "Oh, it's a holiday so I should eat as many treats as I can because once the holiday season is over, I can't have treats anymore!" This is a huge misconception! Why not have a small taste of what you want, and enjoy the time with your family rather than a huge plate of food and a belly-ache. Cookies and pies are around 365 days a year, and with planned cheat meals you can enjoy them every week. So don't make the holiday season a reason to ruin your hard earned results. Brush Your Teeth Following A Meal: Sounds silly but who wants to eat after they have that minty fresh breath? Decide today that you want to make the best out of this holiday season. Don't wait until January 1st to set your New Year's Resolution; set it today! You will start 2014 feeling great and you will be able to focus on different goals than 90 percent of the population. You only live once, so enjoy what you love in moderation. Make the holiday season about being with your loved ones rather than feeling guilty about having had too much to eat. Stay active, even if it is not your normal routine, and you will maintain or progress even during this time of year. Set your goals and enjoy the season! ABOUT ALEX: Alex Zuniga is the founder/owner of Elite Spartans and began his life-long commitment to a lifestyle of fitness when he was six years old playing soccer in Mexico City. From that time on, fitness became an integral part of Alex’s development as an individual and proponent of the fitness industry. To learn more about Elite Spartans go to www.elitespartans.net Photos courtesy of Elite Spartans.
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