Turkey, ham, roast beef, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls …
Jeremey Duvall, a personal training graduate assistant, said it is OK to eat these foods in moderation, but you should also stay active. Duvall offered tips for staying healthy and not gaining weight during the holidays.
“It’s much easier to stay active and minimize your losses than to take time off and try to lose the weight after you’ve gained it,” he said. “Being physically active will minimize weight gain.”
Duvall recognizes that the holidays are a time for family to be together, so he suggests incorporating your family time into your exercise routine.
“Get outside,” he said. “Do something active with family members like entering a 5K or playing a football game together.”
Participating in a 5K run or other race with family members or friends will help motivate you to train, and it’s something fun to do with other people, Duvall said.
“It’s easy to pick up a training program online,” he said. “In 10-12 weeks, you can go from no running to completing a 5K run.”
Duvall understands that the holiday season is very busy.
“It’s unrealistic to tell people to go to the gym every day for an hour,” he said. “That’s why I tell people to do something with their family.”
He recommends using the time out of the gym as recovery time from your normal routine. If you are still trying to squeeze in exercise on your own at home, stick to total body multi-joint movements, which are any exercises that work out multiple joints at one time, Duvall said. They can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
“They cause the body to work harder,” he said.
The TRX Bodyweight Training System is also a good program to use during the holidays, Duvall said. It hangs over a door, and you can exercise all different parts of your body with it. The system costs $150 and is small and easy to take on trips, he said.
Spend 15 minutes a day training with weights, said second-year Andrea Cockerham, a training center assistant at Southwest Recreation Center.
“So many girls misconstrue strength training,” she said. “Free weights and body weight exercises are not going to make you bulky, they are going to make you hot, so don’t be scared!”
The personal trainers at the Training Center of Southwest Recreation Center give out holiday handbooks to their clients with ways to exercise in their homes with no equipment or tools. A lot of students don’t take preventative measures, Duvall said. Many students wait until after the holidays to start exercising.
“After the holidays in January, students want to start working out,” Duvall said. “That increase stays until spring break. People come into lose weight for spring break.”
Preventative measures are the way to go, Cockerham said.
“You don’t realize how simple the prevention is,” she said. “Once you let yourself slip fully, it’s too easy to keep slipping and too hard to not.”
However, Symiela McClinton, a second-year biology major, is an exception. She doesn’t obsess about her weight during the holidays, but she still exercises.
“The holidays are supposed to be a reward, but I still exercise,” McClinton said. “Treat (a holiday) as a regular day.”
What you eat during the holidays is just as important as if you exercise, she said.
“Look at all the food, and then make your plate,” McClinton said. “Only eat one plate, so you can have dessert. If you have two plates, don’t have dessert.”
Duvall gives similar advice.
“Once you take your food (before you start eating) take the time to put the rest in the refrigerator,” he said. “You’ll be less likely to eat more.”
Cockerham adds that constantly staying hydrated with water as you eat is very important. Exercise helps our bodies function well in all different ways, Duvall said.
“Our bodies are like a chain of links,” he said on the RecSports website (http://recsports.ufl.edu/fitness/personal-training/trainer-bios/jeremey). “If one link isn’t as strong as the rest, our body can’t function as well as possible.”