Archives for December 2013

5 tips for making holiday fitness fun

With so many fun and exciting activities to participate in over the holidays, it’s no wonder that fitness often takes a back seat to concerts, parties, shopping and dinners out.

While I’m a firm believer in “less is more” at Christmas time, I also know that abandoning my fitness routine until the new year will definitely turn me into fitknitGRINCH.

Why not give those fun holiday activities a little friendly competition for your time? Make fitness fun!

5 tips for making holiday fitness fun

  • add a holiday theme to your regular workout. Once a year, I treat my step class to holiday-themed choreography. It’s always fun to see the looks on their faces when they finally figure out what I’m up to. If you’re a step aerobics instructor, feel free to borrow the pattern below. Make sure not to tell your participants what’s up and let me know how far into the pattern you got before the ‘lights came on’ in your class!


  • create a seasonal playlist. Music can make or break a workout. Sometimes a new playlist is exactly the motivation I need to get myself to the gym. How about a seasonal playlist? I love the songs on this one!
  • participate in a holiday-themed fitness event. Every year, on January the 1st, my community hosts a Penguin Plunge; a quick, or not so quick, dip into the waters of the inlet to celebrate the start of the new year. If you don’t live seaside, look for a Jingle Bell Jog or Reindeer Run in your community.
  • take friends and family to the gym. When family and friends come to visit, it’s often difficult to justify leaving them home alone while you head to the gym. Why not take them with you? It’s just as easy to get caught up on adjacent ellipticals as it is plunked on the couch in front of the fire. And personally, I find cardio time to go by much more quickly when I’m distracted by good conversation!
  • dress in festive fit gear. Most of you probably already know that dressing for fitness is always a good motivator. Treat yourself to a new workout top in red, green or sparkly silver (the perfect colour to go straight from the gym to a dress up event; don’t forget to slap on a little deodorant first…).

And if all else fails,

Wishing you and yours a healthy holiday and a fitness-filled new year!




Swap holiday food traditions for holiday fitness traditions

‘Tis the season when all good health, fitness and weight loss bloggers share their tips and tricks for “making holiday treats healthier”, “staying on track with your workouts” and “avoiding seasonal weight gain”.

There have already been so many fantastic posts written on the topic, that I honestly don’t feel the need to write yet another. (If you haven’t yet had your fill, I’ve included links to some of my favourites at the bottom of the page :)).

Instead, I’d like to share my thoughts about creating healthy holiday traditions.

holiday fitness traditions

I grew up in a family with many wonderful holiday traditions, many of which revolved around food.

My mom, aunt and grandmothers were enthusiastic bakers, creating dozens upon dozens of our favourite holiday treats; Nanaimo bars, Hello Dollies, shortbread, sugar cookies, peanut butter marshmallow treats, Bits and Bites, pecan pie, cranberry tarts, almond bark and plum pudding. I have fond memories of the three-tiered dessert plate that they’d happily fill and place on the table after each and every holiday get-together. Because we had a large social circle, there were many such celebrations!

On Christmas eve there was always an after-church meal of cheeses, cold meats, pickles, breads, pop, chips and wine.

And Christmas day? A decadent brunch of ham, bacon, fresh fruit, home-made muffins, quiche or scrambled eggs, croissants and toast with a few hours of recovery before the traditional turkey dinner was served. Always accompanied by at least three difference versions of bread stuffing (my mom’s, each of my grandmother’s and sometimes my aunt’s as well; my family loves its stuffing!).

New Years Eve and New Years Day were a repeat of Christmas. More food, more alcohol, an attempt to ‘finish up the holiday baking’ and a lot of pushing away from the table completely stuffed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the memories that I have of my family’s holiday traditions. I’m just choosing not to replicate them in their entirety with my own family.

We’re working on swapping holiday food traditions for holiday fitness traditions.Creating memories around activity rather than food.

When my children are adults, in addition to recalling their favourite Christmas treat, I want them to fondly remember the experiences we created for them at holiday time.

Of course we still enjoy holiday baking (in moderation, and the children participate fully in the process; I’m not the Grinch, you know…)

holiday fitness traditions

and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings (although only one of my three children eats stuffing so I only prepare one kind…).

But we also enjoy a broad range of  holiday fitness traditions including:

  • evening walks around the neighbourhood to see the lights (we started this tradition when the children were so small that the youngest could be carried in his Baby Bjornn and the middle child was still in a backpack; they would often fall asleep on these walks, mesmerized by the beauty of the lights)

holiday fitness traditions

  • the annual Santa Skate (instead of taking them to the mall and lining up for hours to sit on Santa’s lap, we all enjoy an afternoon of skating with friends, family and Santa at our local skating rink)

holiday fitness traditions

  • a Christmas Eve-day trip to the pool (indoors of course; there’s nothing better on a cold, blustery day than playing in the warm water. And since we’re unlikely to have snow over Christmas, the water slide substitutes for sledding around these parts)
  • a trip up a local mountain for a winter wonderland hike or snowshoe or toboggan or ski (the best thing about living in Vancouver? The ability to spend the day on a snowy mountain, then drive back down to sea level and head to the beach!)

holiday fitness traditions

  • and this year, we’ll even be able to kayak over the holidays (no not in Vancouver, silly, somewhere much farther south…)

Try creating some holiday fitness traditions with your family. I promise that if you combine them with the tips and tricks shared by the bloggers below, you’ll have a happy and healthy holiday!

  • Evil weight gain doesn’t stand a chance from the ever-energetic Gigi Eats Celebrities
  • Healthier holiday treats from my friend and fellow personal trainer Pamela at Thrive Personal Fitness (I love that she shoots straight from the hip and says “Say no to the crap”)
  • A thought-provoking post about our society’s difficulty with Eating In Moderation from  Heather, who blogs at Dietician on the Run (Enjoy the quotes from Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin!)
  • Some great suggestions for taking time and reducing holiday stress by Gifting Yourself from Carla at MizFitOnline (not writing a ‘how to avoid holiday weight gain’ post is my gift to me!)
  • No-Bake Gingerbread Pumpkin Snowballs – they’re grain free, that makes them healthier, right? Just one recipe in a series of Healthy Holiday Recipes that Fit Foodie Lee is sharing with her readers.
  • And a post I wrote 2 years ago about Finding Holiday Balance by Making Less More

Does your family have any holiday fitness traditions?

Share your best tip for staying healthy and fit over the holidays!