Don’t Let the Holidays Wreak Havoc on Your Waistline!


It has been estimated that the average American male between the ages of 25 and 55 puts on nearly five to ten pounds every year during the holiday season. Sure, this is a wonderful time of the year and it is great to just let go and make merry with friends and family. But you do need to be aware of your potential to slide, and plan for those situations according. Use some common sense and maybe just a little restraint.


By all means, avoid the costly and even deadly mistake of being out in big groups and when you do socialize, remember to wash your hands, keep a sensible distance from your cronies, and wear a mask. Drinking and driving is never an option! Make healthy choices at the buffet table. Don’t let holiday stress or lack of time keep you from training. Here are some suggestions to help you stay in control during the holidays.


  1. Schedule your workouts before you fill your calendar with social commitments.  Worried that you won’t have time to squeeze in your workout? Consider shifting your training. Evenings and weekends are too busy with commitments?  Try weights and cardio first thing in the morning. You may have to get up earlier, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve jumpstarted your metabolism and burned off some serious calories.
  2. Consolidate your workouts.  Train two body parts with a continuous superset technique. For instance, you can train your tri’s and bi’s with alternating sets. Pair dumbbell curls with dumbbell triceps extensions for three to four sets. Work at one station with the same weight if you can, so as not to waste time changing weights. 
  3. Make your workouts more intense. You may not have a full hour to train because of errands and obligations, but you can have a kick-ass workout in 20-30 minutes. The key here is to use less weight and perform more reps and sets in rapid succession. Take less rest between sets.   
  4. Use the holidays to rest and regroup. – Take the holiday season off. Many body builders and professional athletes follow a tough five months-on, one month-off routine. One of the best ways to build muscles is to give them a chance to rest, recover and grow, but remember, stay active and eat wisely. It might be a good thing to avoid crowded gyms for a month or two and exercise-walk, run, cycle or swim-outdoors during these milder, invigorating days.


  1. Simplify your workouts – If you’re on the road and you can’t get to the gym, you can still do crunches, lunges and leg lifts for the abs and butt. Try using your own body weight to do push ups and chair dips for chest and tri’s. Front and lateral raises for shoulders can be done with objects found in your hotel room. Use the stairs when traveling or sightseeing. Whatever you do, just stay active and keep moving!


 Tom Bonanti is a certified fitness trainer and massage therapist (MA#40288) with his own one on one facility in Ft. Lauderdale. Contact with questions or to set up an appointment.