I have to confess that I find the Christmas season slightly stressful. My beloved "routine" is thrown to the winds for the entire month of December and I won’t find peace again until after the New Year. You have to survivethrough festive luncheons and holiday dinners. I have to plan out my family’s travel plans, moving everybody from north to south and back again. On odd years a transatlantic trip is involved. Any one of these things would upset anybody’s everyday life. I personally feel calmer and happy when my days are all planned. From the time the alarm rings in the morning, to meal planning, and of course my own training program. I like having a program to follow. It gives me peace of mind knowing that despite the holidays, something remains consistent. That is, if you keep it consistent. With Jingle Bells being playing on air several times a day it’s important to do two things to keep your sanity: keep your nutrition under control and move consistently.



Mealtimes

I know that during the holidays a lot of people like to let themselves loose during meals, which in my opinion can be a good thing to do every once in awhile. It only becomes a problem when one dinner becomes two or even three and then four. Everybody knows by now that weight put on at Christmas won’t be lost until April. The key here is to celebrate on Christmas and again New Year's Eve. On those six days in between you should be eating like the normal active athlete that you are. You don’t really need Christmas cake for breakfast the entire week. Trust me.



Movement

For the holidaysactivate the “bare minimum" program. From December 24th to January 1st run or walk at least forty minutes every day. Do it first thing in the morning, that way when the out of town relatives show up for a surprise visit you won’t go into a panic because your training program gets messed up. Forty minutes can be too little for some or too much for others, the important thing is to do it every day. Mix it up! One day run an easy road, the next day run (or walk) thirty minutes and finish up with a series of strides. Another day you can add jumps, squats or hills. If done consistently you come out at the other end of the holidays fitter than before!