Sometimes it can feel like the holidays are one continuous buffet that lasts from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, full of trays of canapés at cocktail parties, stacks of Christmas cookies in the break room, and daylong meals with friends and family.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not complaining. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all. But between shopping, snacking, and carving out time for loved ones, it can be easy to skip the gym for the entire month of December, promising ourselves that come January 2, we’ll get right back at it.
But Jennifer Cassetta, personal trainer and author of Hear Me Roar: How to Defend Your Mind, Body and Heart Against People Who Suck, warns that if you have taken an exercise hiatus, you shouldn’t try to do much too soon when you finally get back. “Start slow and steady and amp up as you move through January,” she says. “The hares will quit before January is up and then you, the tortoise, will continue your journey throughout the year if you are serious about it.”
Cassetta says that reason so many people find it difficult to truly commit to getting healthy after the holidays is because we don’t realize that our bodies need time to get back to their pre-holiday condition. “If you take too much time off your body becomes de-conditioned, making it physically harder to exercise than it was when you were on a roll,” she says.
The best way to avoid veering off track around the holidays is to try to maintain at least some level of physical activity, even if you can’t hit the gym. “Fit in squats while you are blow-drying your hair or in the shower,” says Cassetta. “Do front kicks around the house. Plank while you are reading the paper or watching TV.”
But shower squats won’t work forever. That’s why we’ve worked with some experts to compile a list of exercises to help you burn off those pesky holiday calories after all the wrapping paper has settled and you’re ready to hit the gym again.
Honey Glazed Ham
That generous serving of sweet, sweet ham has about 500 calories, according to Dr. Scott Weiss, board certified athletic trainer, exercise physiologist and co-founder of Bodhizone NYC, and will take you about 80 minutes of intense hiking to burn off.
3 Pigs in Blankets
Those pop-‘em-and-forget-about-it little appetizers have about 70 calories each, says Weiss, so you’ll need to jog for around 50 minutes to break even, calorie-wise.