It’s easy to fall off your fitness routine, but don’t be hard on yourself, London trainer says
Looking for way to stay healthy this holiday season?
You’re not alone. Hitting the gym and adding vegetables to your plate seems to get harder when it’s freezing outside and there are lots of tasty treats ready to enjoy.
Minkee Kim, lead trainer and owner of One More Rep on Clarence Street in London, Ont., said it may be hard to resist overeating at holiday parties but, one way to stay on track is follow the 85/15 rule.
“You eat 85 per cent clean and the 15 percent can be kind of forgiving, that way you’re still enjoying food during your holidays while you’re not really sacrificing for your fitness,” Kim said.
He added that the majority of his clients find it difficult to follow the 85/15 rule around the holiday season, but he tells them to, at the very least, eat high-protein foods.
“At the end of the day, you want to eat enough protein,” Kim said, noting a lot of people he comes across aren’t eating enough.
Kim encourages people to not guilt-trip themselves if they break away from their usual healthy lifestyle for a short period of time.
“It’s not a big deal if you’re going to eat desserts, obviously it’s not going to be an everyday thing,” said Kim.
Going to the gym is an obstacle
Fatima Ba’abbad, a fitness manager at Hybrid Fitness in London, Ont., acknowledges that with the sun setting earlier during winter months, getting out of bed to go to the gym can be an obstacle. That’s why exercising during colder months is more important than ever, she said.
“We’re getting less sunlight exposure, that can disrupt our body’s internal clock and it could affect our serotonin and melatonin levels which can lead to symptoms – low energy levels, low moods, fatigue,” Ba’abbad said.
Mood swings and low serotonin levels are symptoms commonly known to be key indicators of seasonal affective disorder, in which people who are typically mentally fit the rest of the year, seem to struggle with depressive moods during the winter season.
“Getting sun exposure is really important during those days, that’s what’s going to help increase our serotonin levels, help regulate our mood,” Ba’abbad added.
The five-minute rule
But instead of forcing yourself to workout, Ba’abbad advises people to find fitness activities that they find enjoyable.
“Finding enjoyment can make it easier to commit,” said Ba’abbad, adding that swapping gym workouts with outside walks is still helpful as long as you’re moving.
Ba’abbad also swears by the five-minute rule – where you start a light physical activity for five minutes and if your body feels energized after those five minutes, you continue the exercise, and if not, it’s a clear sign to stop.
“Ninety per cent of the time, after those five minutes are done, once I’ve started moving my body for five minutes, I like to continue moving.”
Ba’abbad admits it’s easy to fall off your usual fitness routine during the holiday season but encourages people to enjoy the moment.
“It’s good to enjoy those meals and enjoy the family time – you don’t get that a lot throughout the year so don’t be too hard on yourself.”