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Look and Feel Great Before the New Year!

It is that time of the year where Thanksgiving, holiday parties, holiday shopping, and busy schedules detract us from achieving our health and fitness goals. The average person often gains between 7-10 pounds over this often grueling 6 week period. My plea to you is to commit to take the steps necessary to not be one of these statistics. The purpose of this article is to share some simple tips that you can do to make this stressful, busy time of the year a whole lot better. Start taking the steps today and get a jump start on the holiday health and fitness blues. Here are my top tips to look and feel great before the New Year:

  • Do something every day. It can be as little as 20 minutes of dedicated exercise a day but commit to the frequency of exercise over intensity. Getting to the gym or starting your workout is often the hardest part. Once you get going for the day, than you can rev up the intensity. Do something!!!
  • Workout on Thanksgiving morning. There is nothing better than getting in a nice “turkey trot” the morning before the feast gets started and the football games come on. Better yet, take the entire family out and enjoy some “sweat time” together.
  • Weigh in Thanksgiving AM. Post that weight on your mirror on a sticky note or index card and make sure that number doesn’t start creeping too far north.
  • Have a “Burn the Bird” workout on Black Friday AM. It’s time to work off the gluttony.
  • Eat “healthy” before going out to holiday parties. Holiday parties are often filled with lots of wine, alcohol, and food. There is no secret that weight gain comes from taking in more calories than you burn off. If you eat a “healthy” snack or meal before heading out, you will tend to eat a lot less of the rich food when out.
  • Get rid of the candy. It seems like there is more candy and junk food sitting around the house than ever. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it!
  • Cut back the alcohol. OK, I know it is a festive time of the year and the “spirits” are often flowing. But alcohol will not help you attain your fitness goals. Max. of 2 drinks per week (assuming you are of age) and get a designated driver. Not only will you feel better, you will actually be able to work out the next day and your energy will be so much better.
  • Keep a journal. Numbers don’t lie and keeping a journal of your food and your exercise often reveals some startling information. Check out for an example of how you can use a journal to help you attain success.
  • Do a reverse journal. Create a great week in your journal or on-line and let that serve as your shopping list and guideline for eating and exercise. This way you will be assured of proper preparation for success and set up a game plan geared for optimal results.
  • Hire a trainer! There is nothing like accountability and motivation over a difficult stretch of time. A qualified, committed trainer will help you not only stay on track, but to make progress during this time. Imagine actually losing weight and feeling like you are making progress in the months of November and December. As little as 2 sessions per week for 6 weeks can make a huge impact on your health and fitness.
  • Try some new fitness classes or new activities to diversify your routine. Yoga, Pilates, hiking, snow shoeing, snow skiing, etc. are just some examples of how you can get outside your current “box”. I took a yoga class the other day and felt so wonderfully balanced and relaxed the rest of the day. It was gentle, calming, and just what the doctor ordered. Try it!
  • Set weekly goals. The shorter the time span, the better during this time. Examples include: I will do strength training 2 times per week for at least 30 minutes and do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 times per week; I will not eat dessert more than 1 evening per week; I will keep a food and exercise journal every day this week.
  • Reward yourself for achieving your goals. Just don’t reward yourself with food. How about rewarding yourself with a new workout outfit, a great relaxation or sports massage, or some new clothes.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “NO”. Most of us put way too much on our plates (pardon the pun) during this time of the year. Remember the reason for the season and focus on living each day to the fullest. Don’t clutter your life with an impossible “To Do” list that will just frustrate you that you can’t get everything done. Set realistic expectations for yourself and do the best you can every day to stay present in the moment.

Realize that you can make progress during this time of the year. It is going to take effort, persistence, focus, and will power to achieve. But like anything worthwhile pursuing, these same characteristics will allow you to persevere and overcome. I wish you and yours a successful beginning to a wonderful time of the year.

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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