Everyday excellent exercise: Stair walking – for fitness, fat loss and fun

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Take the stairs. It is excellent exercise. It is fun; it is an experience, you see the World (buildings) from different angles. Your legs and heart get stronger and stair walking burns lots of calories. Use the stairs in the everyday and when travelling.

A 80 kg (~160 lb) person burns approx. 9 kcal (calories) during 1 minute of stair walking.

A 80 kg (~160 lb) person burns approx. 1 kcal in 1 minute waiting for/using elevator.

Walking down stairs burns approx. 175-275 kcal per hour; 3-4,5 kcal per minute.

Walking up stairs burns approx. 530-835 kcal per hour; 8-14 kcal per minute.

Walking up and down stairs burns approx. 355-555 kcal per hour; 6-9 kcal per minute.

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Unfortunately the stairs are not always visible. You may have to look for them. True story:

Portier 1: Can I help you?
Marina: Yes, I would like to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Portier 1: Not a good idea. They are not easily accessible and rather narrow, not safe.
Marina: (Facial expression: ?????????????????) But, I prefer taking the stairs.
Portier 1: (Facial expression: ?????). Well, then I will have someone taking you up.
Portier 2: (Leading the way. Points to stairs. Walks away).
Marina: (Walk the stairs. Breathe loudly. Count. 4:40) ... 537, 538, 539, 540!

Hamborg_Hotel_building_Marina_Aagaard_blog

Happy health. Fun Fitness: Peak Performance.

Holiday fitness: Get Fit, Keep Fit or Boost Your Fitness

By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Holiday fitness? A hot topic right now. So here are five fab methods for fitness and exercise on your holiday; for the super exerciser, the recreational exerciser or the (almost) physically inactive …

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Get fit on holiday

Not fit or healthy at all? Then this is for you:
You have to start somewhere / sometime and your holiday is as good as time as ever.
If you are used to doing nothing exercise-wise, then start with just a little bit every day:

1. Move a bit more; than you do during every day living, walk and stand more, take the stairs, not the elevator.

2. Add extra activity; use every excuse to move a bit further than normally (e.g. go to the ice cream store at the far end of the beach).

3. Go for walks: Take a lovely morning or evening walk and get some extra free sight-seeing at a time, when it is nice and quiet.

4. Try out exercise or sports activities: Use your holiday to try some brand new activities, not only for exercise, but for new experiences; e.g. aqua aerobics, hiking, badminton, zumbafitness, (water)bikes, canoeing, etc.

5. Eat healthier snacks. Holiday is holiday, but leave out or replace the most severe calorie-loaded temptations by other alternatives, so it is possible to keep your present weight on your holiday. Also it pays off to “neutralize” the side-effects of steaks, drinks and ice cream with exercise …

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Keep fit on your holiday

Are you used to being fairly healthy and doing some exercise, e.g. 3-4 times a week? Lucky you; you have many options for keeping your fitness level, while on holiday.

1. Maintain fitness with a single bout of high-intensity training: Have an all-out holiday – also from exercise – but with one workout in the middle of your holiday week, a workout with high intensity (heavy/fast) or maybe moderate intensity and long duration.

2. Train short and sweet (hard), time-efficient, with circuit training: Do 2-3 workouts on your holiday, with intense circuit training.

3. Train as usual, but with variation: Train as you are used to, 3-4 times, but with novel exercise variations in your usual program.

4. Train more, but in different ways: Be extra active all through your holiday, but with complete different activities; horseback (or camel) riding, water polo, beach volley, kayaking, hula hooping, rope jumping or lap swimming.

5. Eat strategically. Holiday is holiday, but should you choose to accept … a fattening snack, then combine with an intense workout on the same day (before or after) and be a little more healthy the next day.

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Boost you fitness on your holiday

You are used to working out, either very often og very intensely, and you want to improve your fitness? When away on holiday, locally or abroad, there are sometimes special opportunities, which you can take advantage of.

1. Increase difficulty (and/or intensity). If you are used to running, then run the same distances, but under more difficult conditions, in the sand on the beach or in rugged terrain (watch out for obstacles)

2. Increase intensity (or duration). If you are used to cycling, then cycle the same distance under more difficult conditions; harder terrain, e.g. in hills or mountains or go for extra long rides in new surroundings.

3. Train with other equipment, in different ways. If you are used to resistance training, then work out as hard as you can facilities allowing at your holiday hotel/resort; gyms with other equipment than you are used to, or old, worn facilities with only basic equipment, benches, bars and dumbbells etc. or outdoors with racks, bodyweight, logs or stones (e.g. try throwing exercises).

4. Give your body diverse challenges. Replace 1-2 regular workouts with parkour or obstacle course racing (on proper courses or at playgrounds): Overcome obstacles, do balancing and lift, push and pull yourself up and forward in different ways.

5. Give your body and your mind some variation. Push yourself with different activities involving other muscles than usual; open water swimming, sailing, SUP, inline skating, climbing, rappelling, table tennis, formal dance, soccer.

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Bonus tip
Exercise should be followed by quality sleep and adequate recovery; speed up recovery by having a massage, hammam, thermal bath, jacuzzi, sauna or other wellness activities.
Try it on your holiday; your body will love it (check out: Global Wellness Travel Guide).

Happy holiday!

5 Tips for Smarter Workouts: Avoid Injuries Due To New Years Resolutions!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

On the 1st of January you are full of good intentions and New Years resolutions, which often revolve around getting into better shape … however a 0-100 mph start after a relaxed Christmas (season) often results in physical and mental overload and injury come February. There are smarter ways to do it.

It is a classic mistake to do too much, when you start exercising. No matter if it is running, spinning, strength training or other forms, and whether you are a trained exerciser getting back after a holiday break og injury or you are a total beginner, who wants to get into shape right NOW e.g. because of New Years Resolutions.

Here is a handful of free personal training tips for 1) avoiding overdoing it and injuring yourself and 2) getting better and faster results.

Training_tips_for_a_better_safer_and_faster_workout

5 Tips for Better Workouts This Year

1. Start and increase effort gradually. Increase volume (weight, distance) by max. 2,5-10 % per week. Not a lot, but you have to give your body a chance to adapt.

2. Train regularly and stick to it – no matter what. If possible Work out 3-4 times (up to 6 times) per week. However, less is o.k. when starting out and 1-2 times a week is a lot better than nothing and fine for maintaining fitness, if you are pressed for time.
The most important thing is stick with your healthy and rewarding new habit.

3. Enjoy variety, mix and match cardio, strength, neuromotor and mobility exercises in your programme. It is more fun and an all-round good shape improves performance in all sports and function in everyday life.

4. Train smart; e.g. get help to design a time-efficient functional training program.
Far too many people Waste precious time with poor programs and exercises; avoid that and get better results faster.

5. Listen to your body; during the workout and afterwards. It is o.k. if it feels hard and challenging, but pain or irritation is a warning signal. Go for a feeling of ‘smiling’ and ‘ease of movements’, it is a better and more fun way of working out.

In the days after you should feel more energetic. If you feel tired and moody, it may be a sign of over-training and the training program should be re-designed.

Note: DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, which is often felt in your muscles 2-4 days after hard, different or eccentric training, is normal and only natural (a good sign of you body recovering after beneficial training).

Enjoy your workout – at home, at the gym or on the travel.

Slimming sensation: 100 % guaranteed weight loss with the 7:0 diet!

Af Marina Aagaard, MFT

Another one? Yes, I know, what I am thinking, but what do you think??? First there was the 5:2 diet and a multitude of 5:2-ripoffs, then cleverly came the 6:1 diet and just now the 4:3 diet. Oh no, what is left …. oh yes, my brand new 7:0 diet!

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What is the 7:0 diet? A brilliant new ‘diet’; no aids required; no books, no bathroom scales, no kitchen scales, no measuring cups, no calorie tables and it works:

0 days a week do you follow diets, that stress, worry and harm you.

7 days a week do you listen to your body and use your head to make the right choices and generally eat healthy with room for less-healthy choices as needed (think strategic, eat slow and with maximal enjoyment)..
Combine with easy physical activity during the every day and internally motivated exercise (fun (and games) with friends) which gets the heart rate up 2-3 times a week.

Then you will get real results; lower body fat percentage, flatter abs and especially a much, much better mood (and life) – without side effects such as increased body weight, frustation and lots of disheartening diet failures!

Have your cake apple and eat it!

Your exercise and health: MED – exactly what it takes!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Long ago one of my mentors, Yvonne Lin, World Champion of Wushu karate and a tai chi and sports aerobic expert, opened my semi-shot fitness eyes; in dedicated sports training it is all about getting optimal results with minimal time investment in order to have more time for fun; more sports, more party, more travelling …

Since then I have worked to promote time-efficient workouts. And recently I read a text with a thought, which PR-wise nails it … anyway in my head, which is produced by to pharmacists:

Program and train according to the MED principle.

“MED of exercise is the crucial skill set that you need to develop (…)”.
Dr. Phil Cobb, in ‘7 Costly mistakes trainers make and how to avoid them’).

Marina dips oppe USMED, Minimal Effective Dose, is an expression from pharmacology and it is used by doctors and pharmacists about the amount necessary for the medicine to work:

Too little: Does not work.

Right: Works well and you will get better.

Too much: Harmful; you may get ill (injured), sick or die.

Think about exercise as medicine, a medication. Your exercise should – like medicine – be administered in the right dosage, otherwise you will not receive all the expected benefits. On the contrary …

Think about establishing MED, the minimal dose, needed for your workout to be exactly right and work in the intended way.

At present most exercisers are ‘over-medicated’ and work out too much and too hard with too little to show for it. There is room for improvement: Train smarter, not harder …
(harder here meaning the wrong, long, enduring, grinding way).

Fitness training is of course so wonderful, that many of us want to train a lot! However, you could say, that if you train faster (for a shorter time period) and more efficiently, you will have time for extra and maybe more exciting, diverse exercise.

Happy workout!

Read more:

Phil Cobb: 7 Costly Mistakes Trainers Make and How to Avoid Them.

How to Get Fit? Take Your Pick: Top 20 Fitness Trends 2014

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Every year newspapers, magazines and blogs forecast the fitness trends for the coming year. Almost all quote ACSM, American College of Sports Medicine, who conduct an international survey and publish a Fitness Trend Top 20.
On the basis of their survey ACSM determines, what is trending right now, and also what are real trends – what has come to stay – og and what are fads and on their way out. This year Zumba went out and HIIT made it straight to number one!

Fitness trends top 20 list and photo of kettlebells Photo Henrik Elstrup

Here is the ACSM list. I have added the rank of last year and below are my comments along with select ACSM comments.

TOP 20 Fitness Trends 2014

  1. High-Intensity Interval Training (new on the list)
  2. Body Weight Training (3.)
  3. Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals (1.)
  4. Strength Training (2.)
  5. Training and Weight Loss (5.)
  6. Personal training (7.)
  7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults (6.)
  8. Functional Fitness (8.)
  9. Group Personal Training (10.)
  10. Yoga (14.)
  11. Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity (4.)
  12. Worksite Health Promotion (11.)
  13. Core Training (9.)
  14. Outdoor Activities (13.)
  15. Circuit Training (18.)
  16. Outcome Measurements (17.)
  17. Wellness Coaching (20.)
  18. Sports-Specific Training (back on list, 17. in 2012)
  19. Worker Incentive Programs (15.)
  20. Boot Camp (16.)

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Intensive training with short bursts of high-intensity work periods followed by a short period of rest, typically with a total training time of less than 30 minutes. Not a new trend, on the contrary, HIIT has been part of classic sports training for many years and lately also part of many CrossFit workouts. HIIT has been suggested as a trend earlier on, but has only just entered the Top 20 list this year. Until now, though, it has most certainly been part of many boot camp programs, which have been on the list for some years.

According to ACSM HIIT is very popular, despite warnings from some fitness professionals: ”“Very, very popular. However, high injury rates. We need more highly trained professionals working this area.”

2. Body Weight Training (3.)

Working out with body weight entered the list last year as number 3 and is now number 2. Has body weight training not been popular previously? Yes, almost since the dawn of time and it has been one of the most popular group exercise formats since fitness started in the 70′s with Jane Fonda’s Workout a.o. This indicates, that is not the training as such, but the way it is named and marketed, that puts it on the hit list.

3. Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals (1.)

This trend has occupied the number one spot for six years consecutively and for the first time it has been overtaken.
This does not mean, that it is not still a top priority. Rather the growing popularity of high-intensity training and (complex) body weight training means, that educated instructors are needed even more than before.

4. Strength Training (2.)

Strength training is no new phenomena. It has been popular since antiquity. What is new, is that today many do strength training for its own sake and not just as a means to an end, e.g. improving sports performance.

Strength training is also growing in popularity in all sectors, not just in the fitness sector, but also in the health sector and for all target groups including children, seniors and people with lifestyle diseases.

5. Training and Weight Loss (5.)

Training for weight loss has become more and more popular since these surveys started, maybe as a result of the growing need for this kind of workouts and as a result of still more research showing, that the combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight maintenance and can improve compliance with diet and weight loss programs.

6. Personal training (7.)

Personal training, one-on-one training with various fitness modalities, especially strength training, is ever increasing in popularity. Partly because of exercisers wanting better results faster, and partly because more and more personal trainers are being certified.
Also more marketing means, that more people are becoming aware of this option.

7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults (6.)

Training for older adults has been on the Top 20 list since its appearance in 2006. Only natural as the number of people over 60 has tripled for the past 50 years. And this number is estimated to triple in the next decades, so by 2050 close to 2 billion people will be over 60 (www.un.org)!

This trend is supported by a multitude of research on seniors and exercise with overwhelming evidence, that exercise for seniors is not only beneficial, but essential for function, health and wellness late in life. ACSM recommends, that fitness centers offers more programs for seniors, e.g. during the daytime.

8. Functional Fitness (8.)

Functional Fitness, which has been on the list since 2007, is defined by ACSM as ‘using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to improve someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living’.
It is mentioned, that functional fitness programs replicate actual activities you might do as a function of daily living, hence they are recommend for older adults.

Note, that the term functional fitness is often used to describe other types of fitness programs and modalities with a specific function or purpose related to either every day living or sports.

9. Group Personal Training (10.)

Personal training for small groups, on the list since 2007, continues to be a popular trend. The training is for 2-3 exercisers at the same time (up to 5) and is not only reasonably ‘personal’ and goal-oriented, but also economically sensible for both the trainer and clients.

10. Yoga (14.)

Yoga entered the Top 20 list in 2008, fell out in 2009, but made back and has been on the list since 2010. However, yoga has been popular for thousands of years and will continue to be so, whether on the Top 20 list or not. Not strange, since there are many types of yoga for different target groups and from easy to advanced level. Also there is a huge number of yoga teachers, books and films making yoga accessible to everyone. 

11. Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity (4.)

Children and obesity, as this trend was named, when it entered the list in 2007, has dropped a few spots, but is still increasingly important, as obesity among children and juniors is a major problem internationally. There is a continued need for both national and local initiatives and specific fitness exercise targeted at stopping and reversing this.

12. Worksite Health Promotion (13.)

An obvious place to implement fitness and health initiatives is on the worksite and luckily this is a trend, that continues to grow, both within companies and corporations or in collaboration with independent commercial or community-based programs.

13. Core Training (9.)

Core training are exercises, which focus on strength and stability for the core muscles, inner and outer unit muscles from the pelvic floor to the diaphragm: “Strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, thorax, and back. It typically includes exercises of the hips, lower back, and abdomen, all of which provide support for the spine and thorax” (ACSM).

Core training is no new trend. This kind of training has been used by gymnasts for ages. What is new, is that it is a fairly new trend within fitness and in fitness settings you often use equipment such as exercise balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards, foam rollers, etc.

Even though core training has lost ground and has dropped from a steady top 5 position from 2007-2010, it is still popular. In the future maybe more so as an integral part of other programs such as Functional Fitness.

14. Outdoor Activities (13.)

Outdoor activities not only include running, walking and cycling, but according to the ACSM survey also hiking, canoeing, kayaking, games, sports – and even overnight camping trips.
Even if the weather in certain countries makes this a ‘seasonal’ activity, outdoor training in many forms is becoming increasingly popular, partly because more countries, states, and cities are starting to offer designated fitness facilities, e.g. outdoor training pavilions.
Fresh air and better overall health is a superior bonus of this fitness trend.

15. Circuit training) (18.)

Circuit training appeared on the list for the first time in 2013 and has increased in popularity since then. According to ACSM survey circuit training is “a group of 6 to 10 exercises that are completed one after another and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise”.

Circuit training, though, has been fairly popular since the 60′s and the classic definition is a series of 9-12 consecutive exercises with no rest-pause or only a short rest-pause between exercises.
As part of the increasing popularity of short duration high-intensity workouts, circuit training has been marketed and implemented vigorously and is now super popular, e.g. in HICT termed ‘the 7-minute workout (partly wrong) by many fitness blogs and magazines’.

16. Outcome Measurements (17.)

ACSM defines this, outcome measurements, as “a trend that addresses accountability, the efforts to define and track outcomes to prove a selected program actually works. (…).
New technology has aided in data collection to support these efforts”.
Tracking outcomes not only has to do with compliance, but can also include fitness testing, the physical results (leading to succesful change of negative lifestyle habits).
Outcome measurements was on the list previously, fell out, but returned last year.

17. Wellness Coaching (20.)

Wellness coaching, which came on the list in 2010, is similar to coaching, but integrates behavioural science into health promotion, disease prevention and rehabilitation programs.
According to ACSM “Wellness Coaching often uses a one-on-one approach, similar to a personal trainer, with the coach providing support, guidance, and encouragement. The wellness coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision, and goals”.
This is really what a competent personal trainer does, but perhaps with an increased focus on total lifestyle; diet, sleep and activities of daily living.

18. Sports-Specific Training (back on the list)

Sports-specific training was on the list from 2010, fell out in 2013, but is now back again. According to ACSM this trend includes sports-specific training for sports like baseball and tennis and is designed especially for young athletes.
With this definition it is no wonder, that the trend is not higher on the list. If the definition included sports-specific training for all age groups and all sports, e.g. skiing, golf, soccer, basketball, etc. and even running and cycling, which are sports, too, sports-specific training probably would be higher on the list and permanently, too.

19. Worker Incentive Programs (15.)

This trend came on the list in 2011 and has been on it since then. This trend is about incentive programs “to stimulate positive healthy behavior change as part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits”.
“Worker Incentive Programs are associated with the trend to provide worksite health promotion programs in an attempt to reduce health care costs”
 (ACSM).
As worksite health promotions affect a huge number of the population, they are essential to public health.

20. Boot Camp (16.)

Boot camp training appeared on the list in 2010, after having been just outside the Top 20 for the previous two years. ACSM defines Boot Camp, as a ‘high-intensity structured activity patterned after military-style training. Boot Camp includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills and usually involves both indoor and outdoor exercises typically led by an enthusiastic instructor. Boot Camps also can combine sports-type drills and calisthenics’.

The name Boot Camp is also used to market various 8-10 week fitness programs in which the workouts often match the above description, they can, however, also come in other formats of lower intensity.

The Top 20 Fitness Trends Survey
The Top 20 list covers the results of a Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends based on a list of 38 possible trends. 25 from the previous year as well as 13 new trends proposed by the staff of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. Survey participants must give a score of 1 to 10 and are invited to comment.

The survey was sent to 28.924 fitness professionals, 3.815 responded, a return rate of 13 %, which is an excellent return rate.

On this years list, Top 20 2014, Zumba is out, and Pilates, Spinning, Balance training and stability (exercise) ball training are out for the second time, which by ACSM standards indicate, that they are just fads. ACSM recognize though, that these activities still exist in the fitness industry.

It is not strange, that certain activities disappear from the list. This is bound to happen, not necessarily because they become unpopular, but to make room for new fitness modalities, either trends or fads.

As seen previously, also in ACSM surveys, certain fitness activities fall out and then enter again or enter again under a new name or as part of another trend.

This is the ACSM Top 20. Is something missing from the list? Some would say CrossFit a.o., however, this and some other popular fitness modalities are related to some of the above mentioned trends for instance HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training, strength training or functional fitness and hence are covered for now.

The Top 20 list gives an exciting overview of the fitness trends of 2014. At the same time, take a peek at Google’s list of the most popular workout search terms, keywords:

Google Top 10 Most-Googled Workouts 2013

  1. Insanity Workout (US concept, intense cardio/strength workout)
  2. CrossFit Workout (international concept with high-intensity workouts)
  3. Ab Workouts (abdominal exercise in all forms is always a hit)
  4. Bicep Workouts (workouts for the arms are a male thing)
  5. 7-Minute Workout (a media name for circuit workouts with a 7 minute base)
  6. Kettlebell Workout (maybe this will be on the list soon)
  7. Shoulder Workouts (ever popular, ever overworked …)
  8. Back Workouts (back and lower back area; numerous exercises)
  9. Plank Exercises (planks, a core exercise stable, are still popular)
  10. TRX Workout (suspension training, e.g. TRX’s, is increasing in popularity)

You can read more about the different fitness modalities in books, at fitness sites and blogs, including this one. Furthermore there are millions of exercise videos and a growing number of apps for most of the above workouts.

Happy workout!

References

ACSM: Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends 2014 

ACSM: Worldwide survey reveals fitness trends for 2013.

High-Intensity Training, CrossFit Top Google’s List of Most Searched Exercises

Have A Merry Christmas: Christmas Food and Fitness Strategies

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Christmas is not just Peace, Joy and Happy hearts … it is also nice food and sweets. Accept this as a good thing. Abandon all worries about overeating and gaining weight. Instead: Be smart, prepare and stay in shape.

Christmas decoration on the fireplace photo Marina Aagaard

A green Christmas Heart on the fireplace.

Per Braendgaard Myth calendar 20/24 (quote): Myth: It is not what you eat between Christmas and New Years Eve, that makes you gain weight. It is what you eat, between New Years Eve and Christmas! So you might as well eat like crazy in December and then diet in January. Fact: What you eat between Christmas and New Years Eve can also make you gain weight, so you might as well be on (the right healthy) diet in December, not just January.

Marina Aagaard Mythbuster: Yes! I have completed thorough investigations! It is what you eat from New Years Eve to Christmas and what you eat between Christmas and New Years Eve, that makes you gain weight! That’s life … 1) make your choice, 2) enjoy it, 3) wipe your eyes, when the damage is done … or:

1. Initiate your Christmas meal with a drink of water (or just before the meal); Water is healthy and you won’t feel as hungry.

2. Continue to drink water (limit alcohol consumption, XXX calories!)

3. Eat slowly, so the great taste lasts much longer, mmmmmhhhhhhhh.

4. Have small portions – you can have two servings if needed (avoid wasting food).

5. Start with vegetables (and avoid white bread, which makes you hungry); high fiber foods makes you feel full and healthy – and you won’t overeat the less healthy stuff.

6. Enjoy your Christmas dinner(s), every bite of it, it’s only Christmas once a year. But ensure that your food is of good quality and savour it; mindful eating.

7. Make the right choices. If you are surrounded by candy, then choose wisely: Go for 2 home-made pralines with dark chocolate and marzipan, it is filling and satisfying, rather than 20 mass-produced pieces of sweets … think strategically.

8. Move more (as much as possible); walk the dog, the family or the trash. Even small amounts of movement count, e.g. after your meal, it is good for you and your digestion.

9. Be physically active during Christmas, this is a good time; you have time for it. Take a trip to the countryside or the seaside and go for a walk; it is wellness with a touch of fat burning … a  little is a lot better than nothing.
And: Work out, there are plenty of ways of working out properly between Christmas and New Years Eve. Do you own outdoor (or home) fitness program or go the fitness center, which offers exciting group exercise classes. It is also a brilliant time to kick off a new exercise habit (instead of January, when everyone else has the same idea).

Proper exercise is an effective means of weight maintenance during Christmas.

10. Think wisely. Apart from positive thinking in general it is a smart move to tell yourself: “I will never go on a diet and most certainly not in January” (a diet is an almost foolproof method of gaining weight over time). When you pass on that option, you will take better care of yourself during Christmas and the rest of the year.

A moment of truth: Any risk of uncontrolled over-eating; the big irresistable Christmas dinner (or buffet)? Then an option could be to neutralize the effect by having a day or two of fasting, e.g. the day before and/or after – or the intermediate solution of 12 hours of fasting (in the fast (5:2) diet; 1 small meal is allowed). Not just to save calories; but you get to know your body and appetite better, which is great.
Note: Do not skip eating two days in a row, as it results in muscle protein breakdown, and you do not want to lose muscle mass: The muscles are more metabolically active than fat!
In the fast diet you eat like you normally do for 5 days and fast (partially) for 2 days (not consecutive). In IF, Intermittent Fasting, you eat one day and go one day without eating. Note, there are different IF strategies.
In these types of diets you
retain lean mass, ie muscle, which is not seen with standard calorie restricted diets.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!