WASHINGTON — As we round the corner into 2019, there are plenty of hurdles ahead for those of us looking to maintain our health and fitness. An endless procession of holiday and New Year’s parties awaits. Some people will be traveling far away from the D.C. area and will miss their regular workouts.
WTOP spoke with a number of fitness experts for some suggestions on how to finish 2018 strong and set yourself up for a good start to 2019 over the next two weeks, even in the face of strong drinks and decadent desserts.
Debra Perlson-Mishalove owns Flow Yoga Center in D.C. She said some people may be feeling extra stressed heading into this time of the year, because they don’t look or feel as good as they hoped they would.
She said “They might be feeling like: ‘I started my year with all this ambition and motivation and resolution and where am I now?’ It’s setting ourselves up now and taking these next two weeks so when we do start on [Jan. 1], we have that feeling of possibility and freshness.”
Perlson-Mishalove said it might be a good idea for people to eliminate all the “outside influences” they hear telling them how they should look, how often they should go to the gym, and what they need to wear, in favor of “how can I create the space to bring meaning into the next few weeks?” She said that can be done with some simple meditation, and all you need are a few minutes of quiet. (Thinkstock)
Reset your sleep schedule
“This could be a really nice time for getting better sleep,” Perlson-Mishalove said. “One in three Americans have trouble sleeping, and that’s because we’re trying to squeeze everything in. So instead of saying ‘I’m not going to be able to workout for the next three weeks,’ look at this as an opportunity to reset your sleep schedule.”
Get out of your routine
Isiah Munoz of SweatBox in D.C. said sometimes it takes getting out of town to give your body a chance to do something different. “Sometimes I go into the gym and people watch,” Munoz, said. “And I see people doing the same thing over and over. When you’re traveling, it allows for you to do something different. Maybe you’ll go outside for a jog two or three days. If you go for a long walk, it allows you to connect with people outside of the gym. There are some benefits.”
(Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Write down what makes you anxious
Shafer Minnick, the founder of PULSE House of Fitness (1401 New York Avenue NW), said it’s easy to get caught up in how your body looks at the end of the year. “But so much of the journey of health and wellness is the mental component, too. Something I’ve found as I’ve gotten more into this is taking time to do a brain dump, and that helps to relieve the anxiety and take a step back,” he said. “If you’ve made awesome strides in your fitness in 2018, take a step back and say ‘I’ve done an amazing job, I’m closing out the year better than I started it.’ Focus on that rather than ‘how many crunches did I do today?'”
Have a plan, but don’t deprive yourself
Sean Garner is the general manager of Anatomy, a boutique gym in Miami. He said it’s a good idea to make sure you have a general eating plan during the holidays. Be sure to eat well as often as possible, and when you are presented with the chance to have a cocktail or a big dinner, don’t let it compound and turn into five to seven extra pounds before Jan. 1. At the same time, don’t deprive yourself of something you’ve been waiting for all year. “I’m going to eat as many of my mom’s cinnamon rolls as I feel like eating,” he said. (Courtesy Graphiq)
Do something intense every day…
Even if it’s just a 10-minute sequence of push-ups and lunges, Garner said, you can find time to do some intense exercise.
…Like a ‘5-by-5’ routine
Isiah Munoz, shown here with a client at SweatBox, makes sure he can do a “5-by-5” routine, which means a sequence of five exercises, five reps each and five rounds. “If you’re doing that at tempo, it can help get your heart rate up. It’s even better if you can do a 10-minute warm-up or use an exercise bike inside.” (Courtesy SweatBox)
Use a tracker or heart rate monitor
If you don’t have much time to do a workout, Munoz advised, consider investing in something like a heart rate monitor or a wearable fitness tracker. That way, you should be able to monitor the intensity of your exertion. For example, a hard, fast, 20-30 minute workout that gets your heart rate elevated is much better than a longer workout where you don’t push yourself enough. (Getty Images/Rimma_Bondarenko)
Pack healthy travel meals
“If you’re flying, pack healthy snacks, like bars, nuts, trail mix and more to eat in the airport. That way you don’t have to stop and buy a burger or a sandwich,” advised Munoz. “It’s even better when you’re driving. You can pack real meals. That way you don’t have to eat rest-stop food.”
(AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
(AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
Find some time for restoration
Perlson-Mishalove asks, “How are you finding ways in your life to chill out?”
She suggests that you take a few minutes to stretch at a rest stop if you’re doing a long road trip, or if you have an airport layover. Even once you arrive at your destination, remember that there’s nothing wrong with relaxing for a few days.
“When you’re constantly moving and building the body, you’re creating stress. It’s fine to do that, but you also need to rest. You need to take your meditation,” she said. “The more times you’re always on, you’re creating adrenal stress, which makes you hold on to weight sometimes. People who are struggling with weight are finding that restorative yoga can help them let go of weight because their body’s not in that fight or flight system all the time.”
(Courtesy Flow Yoga Center)
(Courtesy Flow Yoga Center)
The fitness experts agree that something is better than nothing. If you can get in 25 squats while holding a few heavy books (or a small family member) you’ll be doing something good for yourself ahead of a holiday feast. (Courtesy SweatBox)
(Courtesy SweatBox) something
Give yourself a break
“Even professional athletes go through a de-load week,” Garner said. “If they’re that regimented with their fitness, going at 10 all the time, taking some time off is probably good.”
Remember, Garner advised, “You didn’t get fit from one run, you won’t get fat from missing one run or having one [decadent] meal.”
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Debra Perlson-Mishalove of Flow Yoga Center said it’s important to use the next two weeks as a way to move into January with “that feeling of possibility and freshness.”
And don’t be too anxious of that trip outside of the D.C. area. “Let’s say we love spinning, but we won’t be able to take our spinning class for a couple weeks,” Perlson-Mishalove said. “It’s nice for our body to have a little bit of a different experience in how we move and keep our fitness going. Look at this time as healthy for you.”
And if you’re going to be at a relative’s home without the fitness gear you’d like?
“There’s tons of body weight movements that can be done,” said Shafer Minnick, the founder of
PULSE House of Fitness. “Doing things that will get your heart rate up are fantastic. If you have access to a trainer, ask him or her to send you some body weight routines. You can get an amazing workout using nothing but your body as the machine.”