Walking The Tight Rope of Holiday Season Fitness – Part I

For many, the Holiday Season can be viewed as a stressful but delicate balancing act. Measuring the right combination of family reunions and friends festive outings as to not leave any feelings hurt…finding an equilibrium between attending just enough work related cocktails and lunches to share the holiday joy with your colleagues while not abandoning your office responsibilities, then stretching your budget to its max, to pay for gifts and peak season travel arrangements, waiting in long lines at stores and airports, testing your patience, but resulting in the most amazingly gratifying response one can receive, the huge smiling faces on the receiving end.

It all adds up, and I haven’t even mentioned that balancing act that resides in the back of our minds from Thanksgiving Day through New Years Day. Which one is this, you may wonder? The ever stressful balancing act to indulge in the holiday goodies without literally tipping the scale.

This physical balancing act has always been a huge challenge for me, being of the “social butterfly” mentality, I’ve found it hard to turn down a party, resulting in a holiday season with a packed calendar and weighing my options between squeezing in the workout or adjusting my belt out another notch.

In favor of the former, I’m motivating myself to not loose sight on my fitness and wellness over the holiday season by vowing to do these 5 things:

1.  Tattoo in a morning or lunchtime workout to my schedule at least 4 days a week. Yes, I said tattoo, as penciling in makes it too easy to erase. Being the night owl of all night owls, this will be challenging, but I know myself and even more challenging will be saying no to a last minute invite for cocktails that evening.

2.  Take an evening stroll every night. What other season do we have the chance revel in the beautiful lights and outdoor décor adorning the our towns, not to mention the amazing smell of wood burning fireplaces? Whether it’s walking home from a party (Ok, that means I must bring a change of flats in my handbag) or going out for a post dinner stroll once home, it’s a lovely way to be festive for 20 minutes every night.

3.  One Water / One Wine (or your beverage of choice). This simple equation keeps you hydrated and prevents extreme tipsiness.

4.  Eliminate solo snacking. Knowing that I’m bound to run into some amazing wine / cheese / chocolate combos (yes, that’s my trifecta of kryptonite) in the evening time, I can not allow myself to stray in between my routine daily meals. *Note to self, Solo Snacking encompasses tiny bites of chocolate here and there, picking at any holiday baked goods prior to arrival at the party destination and the forever dooming late night eats.

5.  Limit the sugary beverages. I’ll never place a limit on how many beverages you should consume, but if you choose to consume alcoholic beverages or a festive punch, cider or flavored coffee drink, proceed with caution. Dry wine and vodka sodas are the best choices if you’re planning to fit into that leather mini dress for New Years…or at least let’s just say that’s my plan.

Ok, ok…Reality check…I’ll allow myself 1 late night pizza order just in case a holiday work party turns into an after hours karaoke session in the Lower East Side and my only savior for waking up the next morning for work is something to soak up all the liquid damage that I’ve been consuming for hours. Oh, right, and then again for New Years, because that night is just one big free pass as far as I’m concerned, did we really kiss at midnight? Who can remember anyways?

In all do respect to those wanting serious motivation apart from my silly antidotes (yes, maybe you’re better off coming to me for gift shopping advice), I’ve compiled 5 top fitness professionals from around the world to give you their scoop on how to maintain your fitness and wellness equilibrium during this festive time of year.

1. Laurent Amzallag, Founder & President – Yala Fitness – Washington, DC


For the past 15 years, Laurent Amzallag, has been Washington DC’s sought after fitness expert. He participated in Oprah’s “Live Your Best Life” tour and has been featured in ELLE Magazine, describing his fitness training style as “Sexercise”.

Laurent is the architect behind Yala fitness. The dynamic creator of this fitness craze is as sexy as he is funny, and uses his warm personality to make sure participants laugh and love their way to happier, fitter selves. His international background shines through in his eclectic play list selection that keeps you on your toes from minute one of his Yala class.

More than a fitness program, Yala® is a lifestyle; an approach. The Yala philosophy is about finding pleasure and excitement in the journey rather than focusing solely on the destination. This leads to life long results. I’ve experienced this absolute pleasure and excitement, along with the many devoted classmates in Laurent’s Yala classes at the Sports Club LA in DC, which are always packed! Of course the next day, waking up was a different type of pleasure, feeling my sore abs and butt and being pleasantly surprised at the results of this workout.

At its core, Yala is rooted in science and athleticism. Yala is an intense workout that works the body in the 3 planes, incorporating all elements of strength, cardio, core and plyometrics. A single Yala workout has been documented to burn between 800-1200 calories.

Being equal parts natural entertainer and seasoned fitness professional, here are Laurent’s entertaining Holiday Fitness Tips:

1. Friends don’t let friends exercise alone. The holidays are all about friends and family so have a friend or family member join you and you have greater chances of sticking with it.

2. Stop reading gossip magazines. Stop obsessing about how Jennifer Lopez keeps her butt in shape (although she’s got a great butt!). Remember, they are stars and can afford training all day. Instead, allocate 30 min a day, everyday. They don’t have to be in a row. 10 min in the morning, 10 min at lunch and 10 at night, and I promise you’ll look and feel so good, that JLO will come to you to ask you how you got your butt so tight.

3. You are what you eat. Holidays are here, so don’t go to parties hungry! Eat before going to an event. You will not be as hungry and will make better choices for the rest of your night. Try incorporating 4 little snacks a day to keep your metabolism working and allow yourself 2 small snacks at the party.

For more of Laurent’s infectuous positive energy and insight, follow him on Twitter at @YalawithLaurent.

2.  Adrian Li, Founding Partner, Head Trainer – Look Good Naked Fitness – Hong Kong


‘Adrian’s aim is to make people smile even while they’re out-of-breath and dripping with sweat!’

After giving up a career in investment banking, Adrian’s love for exercise led him to share his passion for health both on stage with Group-Ex Classes and off stage with Personal-Training, creating Look Good Naked Fitness.  We had the opportunity to meet at a mutual friend’s wedding in Hong Kong and discuss a bit of fitness for my hectic life on the go, as well as my love of his brand “Look Good Naked Fitness”, which has been my personal motto for fitness since my college years.

He grew up in Toronto, Canada where he started his athletic career as a competitive swimmer at the age of 13. But with his ever-changing appetite for bigger challenges, he later transitioned to become a triathlete, where he compete on the Canadian National circuit and placed on winners’ podiums beside future Olympians. Graduating with a Ba­­­chelor of Science degree in Kinesiology instilled a lifelong commitment to active lifestyles in him. To date, he still competes in triathlons to inspire others onto a healthier way of life.

TRX, one of Adrian’s specialties is a great tool to use for the holidays because it’s lightweight and easy to setup at home or in the hotel for a quick workout. Whether you’re jet-setting between cities or don’t have time to hit the gym cause you’re a social butterfly, the TRX is great for those high intensity, highly effective 20 min workouts. All you need is the TRX and the TRX Door Anchor, throw it over a solid room door and you’re set!

The key to an effective workout is INTENSITY! Make sure you push yourself hard when doing the exercises below and you’ll be sure to burn the maximum calories in the precious time you have sweating off the turkey!

Maintaining your fitness during the holidays is about mindset and preparation. Here are a few tips from Adrian that will get you there:

Drink water! No, not the way your mom told you! Drink more water 15 mins before you go to X’mas parties. It will fill you up and will make you consume less alcohol and eat less!
Keep it simple, this is not the time to sit and think of something new to do. Whatever you’ve been doing that works, stick with it and just get it done during the holidays.
*Schedule* workout time into your calandar. If you make it a priority then it will happen! You don’t need “a full hour” to workout. Do it at home ith the TRX, do some sprints in a public park, do it in your room when you wake up BUT DO SOMETHING! If you push yourself hard and focus on the intensity of the workout, even a 20 min session is extremely effective! Do these exercises back to back starting with an easy first round. Then rest 90s and do it again twice for a total of 3 rounds. Stretch to finish and you will be chauffeured off to your next party within 20 mins of you starting!
10x TRX Supported Lunge (each side)
20x TRX Chest Press
20x TRX Standing Rollout
20x TRX Back Row
10x Squat Jumps
That’s it!!! Staying fit during the holidays is that simple. If you’re passing by Hong Kong, drop in to Look Good Naked in Central for a great fat busting session and if you enjoyed these tips and want to get more results with less effort, sign up for LGN-Fitness’ newsletter by visiting http://www.LGN-Fitness.com.

Until next time, work harder AND smarter!

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