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How To Handle The Holidays Like A Fitness Pro.

With the holidays around the corner, celebrating, shopping and gift giving add to the excitement of the season. But for many, all these festivities can create more stress than joy. Whether it’s the pressure of the perfect gift or the possibility of derailing your fitness goals, this time of year can get crazy. And let’s be honest, we could all use a little less of that.

So we asked 4 fitness and nutrition gurus from all over the U.S for help navigating through some of these ups & downs. First, how do you balance it all so you can be present and enjoy yourself without worrying about too much of this or too little of that? Julia Navarro of Liv Barre in CO advises to just do it. ”Spend the time with friends and family, enjoy the extra dessert and a glass of wine; set aside time another day to fit in a workout and healthier meal options.” One time or even a few times isn’t going to make or break your progress. You may not be able to make every celebration, but don’t deprive yourself of an evening of fun - allow yourself some grace and some gooey goodness, especially if it involves peanut butter.

For some, a full social calendar is part of the job so planning ahead can definitely help. Anita Slaughter, owner and coach of A Train Fitness Coaching in Nashville suggests “keeping portions small and only indulge in those delicacies you really enjoy.” Because if you’re on the party circuit and full of holiday spirit, the dinners and parties are more often than not. And she says “the tendency to eat simply because the food is in front of us (ummm, guilty) is common which can lead to unnecessary calorie overload." So if you know in advance, “you may find it helpful to eat nutrient dense low calorie foods (lean proteins and lots of green) before going out, so you’ll be less likely to overindulge.” But if you happen to eat or drink more than planned, enjoy it and start over the next day. Let’s just say we're thankful for fresh starts around here.

Giving is a common focus during the holidays but we often feel the pressure to get it just right. Nadia Murdock of Nadia Murdock Fit in NJ has some simple advice as it relates to gift giving. Instead of stressing over the perfect present, give the gift of time. “Gifts are nice but I almost feel like people give gifts because they think they have to, not because they want to.” And there’s nothing more unique and personalized than time spent with family and friends. Nadia says having family all together brings her more joy than any gift. So if you have a special gift in mind for someone, go for it. But if you’re feeling more frustration than joy about the process, consider giving a little of you and your time. You can’t get much more custom than that!

If time is of the essence and a gift is what you’ll be giving, wish lists can help alleviate some of the guesswork. But even when short on time, Missy Baker of Barre3 Columbus reminds us that it’s important to prioritize movement every day. “Whether or not I wake up early to bundle up and walk in the fresh morning air, or schedule a class into my day, this uninterrupted time is energizing.” Missy is a ball of positive energy and a fashionista in & out of the studio. And by the way, she bundles up indoors too. Can you take a guess what’s "always" on her wish lists? Leg warmers and pom pom hats - love her and her style and will leave you with this picture (below) for some wishlist inspo.

Missy Baker of Barre3 Columbus.

Special thanks to Julia Navarro, Nadia Murdock, Anita Slaughter and Missy Baker for contributing. Cheers to a happy, healthy and low stress holiday season! You've got this!

Melissa Tuttle

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