You've been working hard to stick to your regular diet and workout routine during the holidays. You even managed to squeeze in a few early morning workouts to free up your evenings for festive events. One day you walk into the office to find an incredible breakfast spread—gourmet pastries, muffins, bagels, fruit, and more cream cheese flavors than you ever knew existed. It's your boss's way of saying thanks for all the hard work you did this year. You already ate your standard bowl of steel cut oats with sliced almonds and berries, but you don't want to offend your superior so you grab a muffin and eat it as a mid-morning snack at your desk. It's not the best choice, but one muffin isn't going to ruin you. The real problem is what happens next… "Well, today is already ruined. I might as well grab a bagel and cream cheese for lunch. It's free, after all!"
The next day is your annual cookie exchange, which you've already written off as a "cheat day," but you'll get back on track after that. Oh wait. You have that cocktail party this Saturday and plans for Sunday brunch with your girl friends."It's the holidays! I'll enjoy it and just be really good after New Year's."
Sound familiar? Even if this specific scenario doesn't resonate with you, the general idea of an all-or-nothing approach to diet and fitness might, especially during the holidays. And that is truly the No. 1 mistake you can make. You can (and should) enjoy this time of year, but the secret that those eternally fit friends we all love (or love to hate) know is that it's much easier to get out of a diet ditch than a well. Eat your favorite holiday treat and don't feel guilty (the ditch)! But also, don't follow it up with an entire week of endless gorging (the well).
As for your workout, be realistic and keep it simple. A little exercise most days goes a long way in helping you feel and look great through the holidays and into the New Year. This 20-minute, calorie-blasting routine was designed exclusively for SHAPE by Kasper Allison, personal trainer and owner of Physical Focus in Montecito, Calif. I find it easiest to do in the morning before things get too hectic, but the best time for you is any time you can fit it in.