Fitness hacks to help your belly survive the holidays

It’s the season when without remorse. We hop from one party to the other, sampling the most sinful goodies; from  irresistible sweet treats to the Filipino Christmas staple, lechon (whole roasted pig). Our clothes fit a little snugger, and we loosen our belts by a notch or two.

By the end of the season, we manage to put on a handful of pounds. Yes, we grin happily from the feasting, but our waistlines—not to mentions our arteries and liver—take a beating.

The so-called ber months, most particularly December, are notorious for putting our fitness programs on hold. The decline will usually start in October when the weather starts to be a little bit colder. A comfortable bed makes it more difficult to get up in the morning and get the adrenaline pumping. And why indeed must we have to work out so hard, when the summer months are so far away—and so we tell ourselves.  Cooler weather equals sluggishness. Health clubs are noticeably less busy. The truly dedicated ones will be out there, grinding. These are the crazies who come summer, will be the first to show off the results of their sacrifice and hardwork.

The sheer amount of Christmas parties, plus gift edibles passed around make it difficult to say no. I am no advocate of denying our palate the right to a happy existence. The joys of eating are an undeniable part of a blissful life. That being said, here are some fitness hacks suitable for the holidays that will help us not hate looking at the scale too much, come January.

Don’t deprive your palate—Most everyone will be feasting, eating the best food the holidays have to offer. Totally avoiding that tasty morsel may only lead to cravings that, in the end, may work to our disadvantage. Taste what has to be tasted, but in small portions. By satisfying your palate with minute portions of quality food, you keep your cravings in check. You do not feel so deprived and reduce the possibility of binging later on. But hey, avoid that second and third serving.

Offset big meals with exercise—If you anticipate for instance that your mother-in-law’s special leche flan will be difficult to say no to, coupled with  crispy lechon skin, trays of pasta, barbecue and free-flowing beer, try to offset it with an intense gym or cardio session in the morning.  If you intend to consume copious amounts of calories, burn it off in advance. Plus, an early gym session will jump-start your metabolism to prepare you for the feasting that will take place later in the day. 

Time your eats—Immediately after exercise, our bodies may remain in a fat-burning state. Also, after we lift weights, we need to feed hungry muscles with protein for recovery. With this in mind, we must make a conscious effort to time our workouts before a heavy meal. That way, we will be consuming a postworkout recovery meal that is in support of muscle growth. Do those push ups or bicep curls in front of that juicy slab of roast beef oozing with gravy if you must.

Restrict the liquid calories—Iced tea, soda and alcoholic beverages go down the pipe without much effort. We may unconsciously be overloading on calories with what we are drinking. After all, most Christmas parties will have such drinks served alongside already rich food selections. Instead of going for these empty calories to accompany our meals and quench our thirst (which it will fail to do), let’s go for unlimited, free-flowing glasses of water. Calorie-free and thirst quenching.

Here’s hoping these simple fitness holiday tips will help us enjoy this wondrous season with a little less regret than usual.