10 Things Your Personal Trainer Doesn’t Want To Hear Over The Holidays

Here is my latest Culturemap article:

“10 Things Your Personal Trainer Doesn’t Want to  Hear Over The Holidays”


Ahh, the holidays. Most trainers, including myself, dread this time of year because it’s a time when all of our clients go bizerk and forget everything they’ve learned and worked so hard for the rest of the year. But, it’s not too late – you can take classes, hit the gym or enlist the help of a trainer. Just avoid saying the following if you really want to commit to staying fit over the holidays.

My office is making me fat! Be strong people! There is such a thing as self-control and willpower; you may just have to dig down deep to find it. If your office kitchen is filled with “goodies” that will make you fat – then just don’t go in there! I’m sure you won’t lose your job because of what you do or don’t eat. Instead, pack your desk full of healthy treats so that you won’t be tempted to have a cookie, brownie or whatever else is lurking around the office. Going out for holiday lunches? Just stick with salads and grilled options. Clients sending you sugary gifts? Reward the ones that send fruit or non-food items and tell the cookie senders that the fruit baskets were the hit of the office and maybe they’ll get the hint.


OMG, Yay – the eggnog lattes are back! What? Yeah, and your 10lbs will soon be back. Did you know this drink at Starbucks has 460 calories and 21 grams of fat? And that’s for the grande/medium with no whipped cream! Avoid any creamy drinks or ones that taste like dessert, because they have just as many calories as a dessert or more. If you are going to indulge in a holiday drink, try a low-cal cider, sugar-free hot chocolate, peppermint tea or the skinny cinnamon dolce latte at Starbucks (180 calories/6g fat) as an alternative.

Oh, don’t worry. I don’t like sweets. Yeah right. After a few cocktails you’ll be throwing back the eggnog as you stand in line at the dessert table. Stay away from the sweets! If you must have something sweet at a party, go for gingerbread (or gingersnaps), a “mini” dessert  (like a cookie or bar) or even a candy cane. Think “small portions”. If you have to make a dessert yourself for an event, try using Truvia, Stevia or Splenda as alternatives to sugar or just make something that is “cleaner” like fruit dipped in dark chocolate. It’s still a crowd pleaser and your friends won’t blame you for their weight gain.

I’m spending 2 weeks with the family out uncle Jimmy Dean’s ranch, but I’ll “try” to be healthy. Just because you are surrounded with bad food, doesn’t mean you have to eat it! You can still stay fit and healthy even if you don’t have control over the kitchen. The first thing I would recommend is to bring food with you. Try fruits, nuts and other items that don’t have to be refrigerated, so that they are easy to transport and don’t have to be cooked. Or, you can offer to make your “famous” salad each night and bring all the ingredients. Also, be sure to eat something healthy every 3-4 hours and you’ll be less likely to overeat at mealtimes with the family. Worried you’ll still hurt Grandma’s feelings by not eating the Turducken? Just take a half portion and fill up on salad, veggies and water! If all else fails tell her you have high cholesterol and were ordered by your doctor and trainer to not eat foods processed or deemed “unnatural” (Turducken included).

I’ve been eating fruitcake every day to get in my recommended daily allowance of fruit! Just because it has the word “fruit” in it, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. With about 150-200 calories per (small) slice, it’s not the worst of the holiday deserts, but not the best either and it usually has tons of sugar and preservatives. Plus, the “fruit” is usually gelled fruit candies. Instead, try “real” fruit or the other options I mention above.

I’ll work it off in January! Really? Do you know how much harder you will have to workout to burn all the extra calories you consume in December? One pound is equal to 3,500 calories, so you do the math. Unless you are planning to run a marathon each week come January – that’s not the wisest strategy. Now is the time to actually work out more – so that you can offset any extra calories you are consuming and look your best. So, fit in at least 3-4 workouts every week and start eating a healthy, clean diet now and then come January you won’t be as stressed.

I know I missed 3 sessions, but I’ve been working out a TON! I’ve been shopping every day at the mall and doing lots of walking! Um, that’s not a workout. Walking is a good workout –but “shopping” doesn’t count. Sure, you are burning some calories, well at least more than if you were at your desk all day, but it doesn’t count as a workout unless you were breaking a sweat (not from wearing a fur coat either) and getting your heart rate up.

It’s too cold to workout! I hear this excuse all the time, even in Texas! Unless it’s below freezing, don’t complain. Even then, you can still get in a good workout if you are prepared. Dress in layers and protect your head and hands. I even use small disposable hand warmers in my gloves when I run outside.  You’ll notice that it doesn’t take long for your body to warmup and before you know it, you will be complaining that you are hot. But, please do be aware of the signs of hyperthermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries, just in case. If it really is too cold or unbearable, just take your workouts inside. No gym membership? Try a workout dvd or just do a basic circuit using your own body weight (ie, squats, pushups, lunges, crunches).  Just do something!

I can’t workout! I have so many parties and there is just no time for the gym. You can make time. You just have to make it a priority. Not sure what to do on your own? Ask your trainer to email you a sample workout you can do. Also, try to get your workout in first thing in the morning when there are less distractions and functions to get in the way. Plus, if you workout the day of the party you will offset any bad food decisions you make and your muscles will look tighter and more toned.

I’ve been “saving” up my calories so I can eat whatever I want! This is a bad strategy. This goes hand in had with using food as a “reward”. Food should not be a prize for anything, especially for being “good” by not eating. Also, if you are starving yourself while you wait for your big day, you are just slowing down your metabolism. Instead of planning to binge, eat healthy now and then just tell yourself you can have a little of all your favorites, in moderation! You’ll look and feel much better and your trainer will be very proud!




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