There’s a reason why new gym memberships skyrocket in January: Because people tend to let their healthy routines fall by the wayside in December. Despite your best intentions, it can be tricky to maneuver a seemingly endless stream of cookies, candy and rich food, not to mention squeeze in a workout when you’re traveling for four days straight or camping out on an air mattress in Grandma’s basement with six of your cousins.
Because we too succumb to those pitfalls during our holiday break, we turned to the experts for some advice to take on the road with us. Heather Bauer is a registered dietitian and founder of Bestowed.com and Nicole Winhoffer is a celebrity trainer who counts Rachel Weisz and Madonna among her clients. Both offered smart, easy-to-follow advice for even the weakest among us in the face of peppermint bark.
At the airport: It’s so easy to grab a burger while running to your gate. Resist, says Bauer — you just need to know where to look. “Oftentimes, rest stops and airport kiosks house their healthy options in unexpected places, near the magazine stands, at the back of the store and usually not where the rest of the food is,” she says. “Pair a piece of fruit with veggie sticks, or choose a chicken Caesar salad with oil and vinegar and nix the croutons. Add a hot tea to either choice for a filling meal.”
And Winhoffer offers some genius tips to get your blood pumping before a long flight. “Carry your bags with alternating arms so that you can tone your arms while you travel. Make it burn!” she says. “With a large rolling suitcase, pull the suitcase behind you, engaging your triceps. Alternate each arm — it’s perfect for back arm flab.” And if you check bags, that’s no excuse to sit. “When you’re waiting for your flight, walk the terminal at a fast pace with your iPod. Squeeze your abs while you walk — when you exhale, contract your abs in tight.”
When you’re home for the holidays: Don’t just zone out while your parents enjoy their annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. Winhoffer advises tricep dips on the couch, because “the instability of the cushions will help tone triceps,” she says. And even if your big brother makes fun, “don’t be afraid to hop off the couch and do some crunches or squats during commercial breaks.” It’s easy and you’re already in yoga pants anyway.
And because we can sometimes overindulge when we’re in a place with a stocked fridge, mind Bauer’s advice when it comes to splurge-y foods and alcohol. “It’s important to choose the right alcohol for you. If one glass of wine leads to five more, opt for gluten-free vodka with lots of lime squeezed in. If vodka is your trigger, choose the wine,” she says. “Holiday splurges are inevitable (and worth it!), but pick a single indulgence: Is it that amazing bread at the dinner table, or those frosted Santa cookies for dessert? Whatever excites your taste buds, choose wisely and follow it up with a protein-packed day.”
In your downtime: Don’t skip meals with the hope of saving calories for a big dinner later, Bauer warns. You’re better off sticking with fiber- and protein-packed snacks — she likes KIND bars, a favorite of Cameron Diaz (above left) and plenty of water before 3 p.m. to ensure you’re not ravenous when dinner is served.
To keep you moving, Winhoffer recommends a set of sit-ups, push-ups and squats (24 each) upon waking and before bed. “Your body remembers what you do right before you to go to bed and the first thought and action of the day,” she says. “That seals the fitness deal!”
What are your best tricks for staying healthy and fit on the road? Share them below!