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Survive the Holidays By Setting a Fitness Goal

November 8, 2010

The holiday season is upon us, which means we’ll all be caught up in the food, family and fun this time of year brings. I’d like to add another “F” to that list: Fitness.

Avoid the pitfalls of holiday weight gain by setting a fitness goal. Nothing long-term or impossible here. I’m not talking “look like a cover model”-type goals. Rather, set a goal for something achievable that will keep you focused, healthy and a little less stressed this holiday season.  

  • Take an exercise class. Whether it’s yoga, spinning or any other form of group fitness two or three times a week, setting aside a couple of hours for working out can help you meet the food challenges that lie ahead this season. Don’t blow the classes off because “something came up.” Even the busiest of us can set aside time to take care of ourselves. If you can’t get to a class, workout to a favorite DVD or Exercise TV.
  • Walk or run with a friend. If you schedule an appointment to walk or run with someone you know, chances are high you’re going to show up. You don’t want to let your friend down, right? So, walk in the neighborhood, on a greenway or at a park. Added bonus: you can check out your neighbors’ Christmas decorations.
  • Train to walk or run a New Year’s Day 5K. Communities across the country are helping every day folks get the year off to a good start by offering run/walk events. Plan to participate, and then create a plan to train for the event. Web sites like and offer online training schedules for people at a variety of fitness levels. Here in Knoxville the KTC Walking Program meets every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6 p.m. The week after Thanksgiving we’ll begin training for the New Year’s Day race. For more information, visit
  • Train for a marathon or half marathon scheduled in early 2011. Like the run/walk events, there are marathons all over the country and it’s not just elite athletes who participate. Ordinary people do them too. The Knoxville Track Club begins training for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon & Half Marathon on Saturday morning, November 20. The marathon itself is Sunday, April 3, 2011. Also, The Wellness Center at Dowell Springs will begin training on December 1 for folks participating in the Country Music Marathon  & Half Marathon on behalf of the American Cancer Society. That race is Saturday, April 30, 2011.


  1. Hi Michael,great advice tidbits! I started my weight loss journey in the dead of winter this year and had a few bouts with the “something came up” monster as the weather improved. I have a Pilates class lined up to start in a week, so that plus trainer time and regular cardio will take me through the holidays. I like your 5k idea as well and will check out some opportunities in my area. Barbara

    • Thanks for sharing, Barbara, and good for you for scheduling time for Pilates, your trainer, etc! I love that you’re making time for you–it’s truly like giving yourself a gift during the season of giving. Happy Holidays!

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