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Finding time for fitness

Dec. 26, 2011 at 6:26 a.m.


While we still find ourselves in the midst of the busy holiday season, there are no excuses for not fitting in fitness.

There is still a week ahead that will likely be filled with parties, family gatherings, and all of that delicious food!

So, start this week with a plan to fit in fitness and be a bit more disciplined in your eating habits, which can help you start the New Year off on the right foot.

Many of us will pack on some pounds this holiday season, known to many as the seasonal seven - referring to the typical seven pounds that are packed on by the average American during the holidays.

Here are some tips to help you finish out 2011 the right way and go into the year 2012 with the right mindset.

Create a plan

Evaluate what activities you have going on each day and determine how much time you realistically have to devote to working out each day.

Then, create a plan and decide on a time of day that works best for you and assures your fitness plan will be carried out.

Schedule your workouts in just as you do with any other important event you have each day. Lay out your workout clothes the night before and set the alarm so you are ready to go.

Enlist a workout buddy, a friend or a family member that will workout with you and help motivate you out of that warm, cozy bed each morning.

Be flexible with your fitness plan

Just because you may not have the same amount of time as usual to devote to working out, that doesn't mean you should throw in the towel all together.

Accept you have limited time to work out and work with what you have.

If you find yourself with limited time due to the kids being around the house more over the holiday break, fit them into your workout routine.

My kids and I had fun over the break playing basketball, hitting baseballs and riding scooters and bikes. Family walks are also a great way to get some exercise in, while getting the chance to open up those communication lines with your children.

Up the intensity

Do you find yourself with only 30 minutes to workout instead of the usual hour?

No problem.

You can blast the calories and fat by increasing the intensity of the workout you may typically do.

On the treadmill, you can increase intensity by increasing your speed up to six or seven mph for a jog instead of walking. Alternate two to three minutes of walking with one to two minutes at an increased speed.

You can also increase intensity on the treadmill by ramping up the incline. Throw in one- to two-minute segments at an incline of six percent to get the heart rate up and to help burn more fat.

If cycling is your preferred sport of choice, you can also increase the intensity on the bike by throwing in one to two minute speed intervals or by throwing in some segments at heavier tension to simulate hill climbs. Increase your speed to a perceived exertion that is very hard and at a level where it would be somewhat difficult to talk.

Your hill segments should be done at a level that makes it feel like you are stuck in mud.

Always take five minutes to warm up at the beginning and five minutes to cool down at the end of the workout.

Finding the motivation

When you find yourself lying on the couch and completely lacking motivation, muster up enough self-discipline to push yourself out the door.

Tell yourself "Just ten minutes," and you will probably end up doing more and you will definitely feel better afterward.

Mixing up your usual routine and veering away from your normal fitness path is not a bad thing. The mental and physical break from your normal routine is a good thing.

By allowing yourself to call a walk around the neighborhood or a pick-up game of basketball your workout for the day, you are not only getting a break from the normal routine, but you are fitting in fitness.

Use some of the above tips to go into the New Year with a better attitude on food and fitness, and aim to make positive health gains in 2012.

Missy Janzow owns Fit4U, a personalized training and nutrition service. You can reach her by email at janzowml@yahoo.com or online at www.fit4uvictoria.com.

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