The holiday season is about to hit. Recently, the NY Times ran an article entitled: “This is Probably the Least you Will Weigh Season. Sorry.”

Don’t be the majority and gain between 5 – 10 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. You don’t have to be! It’s not worth the toll it takes on your body, your mental state, your wardrobe and ultimately–your health. It takes longer to lose these pounds than any other time of the year. That’s no way to start off 2017.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s quite easy to neglect our health and fitness regimens. Whether its hectic holiday shopping, endless family/work parties, or simply just getting the home ready for visiting family members, the excuses quickly start to pile up. However, there’s no better time to get a leg up on your personal health than at the end of the year. It may sound crazy, but think about it: with the stress that often accompanies the holidays, this is when it makes the most sense to take care of yourself. Plus, you will already have a head start on your health goals when the new year rolls around! To keep with the spirit of this festive holiday year, we have devised The 12 Days of Fitness, a fun mini-challenge series that will jump-start your fitness and health.

Day 1: Drink only water today. One cup of BLACK coffee or unsweetened tea is okay, but only one. You’re going to be ingesting a lot of holiday beverages these next few weeks, some not so great for you. Water not only assists with the regular function of your vital organs, but a hydrated body helps decrease stress levels.

Day 2: Take a walk! Plan a fun sightseeing walk around the neighborhood with your family and marvel at the beautiful light displays (and monstrous electricity bills.) Bring a jacket!

Day 3: Go grocery shopping for nutritious food. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to indulge in the rich, calorically-dense foods of the holidays at the various celebrations you’ll be attending, so you might as well stock up on plenty of vegetables, fruits, and lean meats to consume while you’re at home.

Day 4: Forego red meat for the day. Instead, prepare any type of poultry, fish, or soy-based products that you desire! Red meat, while loaded with vitamins and protein, is also linked to various ailments. It’s best to limit your consumption to about once a week, and enjoy the wide variety of other protein sources for the rest of the week!

Day 5: Skip “white” carbs today. This means no white bread, white rice, pastries, or anything else that says “refined” or “enriched” on the label. Instead, opt for unrefined, complex carbs. They are far more nutritious and your body digests them slower. Some tasty options include brown rice, whole wheat bread, and quinoa.

Day 6: Jumping jacks for breakfast! When you wake up this morning, get right out of bed and do jumping jacks to your favorite holiday song (everyone’s got one). You might want to do this in a different room or even outside as to not upset any sleepy significant others who might still be in bed.

Day 7: Watch “Elf” with Will Farrell. Every time he says “Santa”, do 5 pushups. Every time he says “candy”, do 5 burpees. You can also devise your own fun exercise game with whichever holiday movie of your choice!

Day 8: Buy a gift…for you! Treat yourself to one fitness-related item to get yourself motivated to work out. Whether it’s a new pair of running shoes or a fancy new pair of exercise pants, you deserve to treat yourself! While you’re at it, grab something for a loved one as well so that you can both get motivated to exercise.

Day 9: Did you know we partnered up HB Yoga Collective? It’s a brand new yoga studio that just opened up right down the street from the Main Street Training Spot location. Try it out! Again, the holiday season can be riddled with stressful days and sleepless nights. Try a local yoga class or find a video of one on the internet to follow along to. Yoga helps alleviate stress, promote flexibility, and stabilize breathing. Learn more here.

Day 10: Take the family ice-skating! There’s nothing more fun than going to the local ice rink, which is probably decorated beautifully for the holidays, and getting your heart rate up for a few laps around the rink. Beware however; keeping your balance on the ice is harder than it looks!

Day 11: Sleep. Yes, you heard me: Sleep. Chances are, there’s going to be several late nights and early morning in the next few weeks. Make it a point to take a nap today. Even 20 minutes is enough time to recharge your body and refresh your mind.

Day 12: Wrap it up! See what I did there? Take your top three favorite challenges listed above and implement them every day until the end of December. When it comes to your health, no step is too small.

Bonus Round: Want to continue your progress and start the new year full force? Sign up for the next Kick Start, our nationally renowned nutrition program. You can sign up here!

Enjoy yourself, stay healthy, and remember that your health is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to your loved ones. Want to avoid the huge crowds of New Year’s resolutioners at commercial gyms? Fill out the form below and we can get you started down the right path.

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