Ever find yourself in this situation? You vow not to go overboard during a holiday meal, black out and then realize you ate 5,000 calories worth of food — and then proceed to feel guilty for the next week. Have a plan in place in case you find yourself in a similar scenario.
“Although I preach that every day is just as important as the next, the holidays put a cramp in most people’s fitness routines. But they don’t have to,” says Anja Garcia, fitness trainer with DailyBurn.com and former elite-level gymnast who specializes in sports drills and high-intensity interval training. “Moderation is king, and my personal motto is ‘Burn to Earn.’”
Rev up your metabolism with some high-intensity exercise before you dig in for a guilt-free morning-after. The MayoClinic defines metabolism as the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. The more you move, the more calories you will burn. And the harder you work, the more calories you will burn during and after exercise.
Garcia recommends intense interval training. According to WebMD, high-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer increase in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts. (Learn more about high intensity interval training here.)
Another problem with watching what you eat and exercising during the holidays, Garcia explains, is accessibility. People are traveling, family is around and people get out of their routine.
“I’ve heard the excuse so many times: ‘I’m too busy to make it to the gym,’” Garcia says. “Holidays don’t have to derail all your success. If you make something a priority, you will get it done.”
Here are some easy metabolism-boosting tips from Garcia you can do wherever you wind up this holiday season.
Get your high-intensity workout in the morning, before the festivities begin. Try Dailyburn’s Kettlebell Series or Cardio Sculpt Series. Both of these programs will provide you with a calorie-scorching workout with interval and weight training so that you can increase your after burn right into your holiday meal. Prepping for Thanksgiving? Turkey is a great source of protein, so you will be able to refuel well.
[Editor's Note: Nathan Mellalieu, celebrity trainer and owner/trainer at Studeo55, in Vancouver offered the following interval training exercises in a past HellaWella article: Use elliptical for one minute at level 15, one minute at level eight and repeat 10 times. Run 400 meters, and rest for the same amount of time it took you to run it. Repeat four times and attempt to keep your pace steady in rounds two through five; using a spin bike, cycle seated at 90% resistance for three minutes, spin with 40% resistance for one minute and repeat 10 times.]
Don’t starve yourself the day of the big meal. Eat a good breakfast and light lunch, then dinner. When you starve yourself, you are more likely to binge and consume more calories than necessary, and your body also goes into hoarding mode! Just eat a little bit lighter throughout the day.
Don’t just let that turkey sit there — go for a walk after dinner. This will help with digestion and will continue to fire the metabolism so you burn throughout the rest of the night. Go with the family, catch up, talk, laugh and burn together!