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Staying Fit Through the Most Wonderful Time of Year

Fitday Editor

It's here! The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, which translates to the busiest and most frustrating time for most of us. The combination of stress and bad seasonal habits (both nutritionally and in exercise) can and will wreak havoc on even the most dedicated gym freak. Don't get off track this've worked hard all year for your goals and results and you shouldn't let 12 weeks of cookie baking, turkey stuffing and gift wrapping derail your fitness train.

Don't Get Frustrated

When you have a great routine going in the gym you don't want to mess that rhythm up. But sometimes, and especially during the holidays, you're going to have to concede that you just won't get there as often. Don't let this upset you. Instead, use it to your advantage. Adopt a workout regimen that will allow you to be more flexible with your schedule but will increase the intensity of your workouts. Not only will this de-stress your schedule, but this shock to your regular routine will also cause muscle confusion which makes your muscles work harder for better results.

Chaos is Your Friend

No doubt the holiday season is the craziest, busiest time of year when it comes to your time...parties, work, shopping, and every other obligation on top of our normal lives can put a heavy strain on our bodies. In order to release this stress, remember that exercise is a great way of producing endorphins which help to relieve stress and make you happy. Within the chaos, find little ways to help you reach your goals. Go to the mall and walk around a few times instead of buying online. Try a new, healthier recipe for holiday cookies, preferably one with nuts or dried fruit.

Add Fitness to Your Dear Santa letter

This is the season for gift giving and gift receiving. One of the best and most rewarding gifts to both give and get is the gift of health and fitness. A great way to stay on track over the holidays is to ask for the gift of fitness. Been in the gym and results not going the way you want? Ask for a personal trainer this holiday. Most gyms and fitness professionals will run specials for the holiday/new year...this is one of the best times to get a personal training package for a small price and kick-start your workouts. If you aren't a member of a gym, the holiday season is one of the best times to join and by doing so, get a great deal on your membership. Many places will also run buy-one-get-one and other incentives for purchasing gym memberships or personal training.

These are just a few of the solutions you can employ to stay the course from turkey season through the new year's parties, and believe me, they will make your holidays less filling especially in your skinny jeans.

Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at

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