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Fit For Life: Making a List…Checking it Twice!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Matt Espeut

How about a puppy? Or, a kitten? I know…a Lexus wrapped up with a big red bow? Nah…give the most valuable gift of all - give the gift that pays you back…the gift of fitness and health. Lets face it, the holidays are a stressful time for most people. Why? Because most people are doing it all wrong. The holidays should be a time to relax, and enjoy family, friends, and some good food and drink, not a time you should be getting pulled in different directions, fighting for parking spots at the mall, wondering what to buy people, and doing damage to your body by excessively drinking and eating. But a lot of us do it, and a lot of us later regret it when we are 8-12 lbs heavier, and need to make some stupid resolution that we will probably never keep. Festive Food.

Lets not go there this year!!  Here are a few tips that will keep you sane, and fit through the holiday season.  First of all, stick to your healthy nutrition plan. Keep up the meal frequency, and you won’t be hungry. You should be on a plan that has you eating “small and nutritious” every three hours. We do this to keep our metabolism high, and to avoid extreme hunger. When you are hungry, you will more likely make a bad decision or overeat. Stay the course, and keep preparing your healthy holiday meals.

Party Time. If you are going to a party or holiday dinner, eat something good first. Have a protein drink, piece of chicken, or some raw nuts. This will also help you limit the amount of damage you do when you arrive at your destination. Drink and be merry.

Alternate alcohol with water. Have a drink, but make round two a water. “The solution for pollution is dilution”. Drink lots of water when you drink booze, and you will consume less, and feel better the next day. Hydrate those muscles that you worked so hard for. Presents.

When buying presents think health. Here are a few ideas that some of your friends/family might appreciate: - Gift cards from Whole Foods or other organic, natural retailers (do your research!) Nothing better than getting to the register, and not peeling off those bills, or swiping that credit card.

- Gift baskets – make it more personal, make up a gift basket with items such as olive oil, nice vinegar, and some unique spices. Better than giving someone a basket of cookies and chocolates. Or even liquor. You think you are being generous, but you are not really helping someone out with that type of gift. - Fitness gear - Another great gift for someone that already works out is fitness gear. The nicer stuff like LuLu Lemon is pretty expensive, so some people won’t spend that kind of money on themselves, and it makes a nice gift. Stores like REI are also a great spot to find great gifts for your fitness enthusiast friends and family.

- Memberships - If and only if someone wants to join a gym, should you give them a gift of a membership. Working out and getting in shape is something you need to want to do, and giving someone a gift for a gym membership is not only a waste, but could be insulting. This is something they need to mention before you take action. If someone has mentioned that they want to belong to a gym, then cash towards a membership, or a few personal training sessions is a great gift idea. So be a little creative, and give a gift that will do some good for someone. Nice food baskets, gym gear, and maybe memberships will bring long lasting joy to someone’s holiday, and keep them healthy all year. So take out the shopping list again, give it another look, make some healthy changes – be creative!

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of two fitness facilities on the east coast. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one!"its fullest.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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