Tips for staying fit through the holidays

(ARA) – The holiday season is a time for fun, family, and – let’s not forget – food. Between work functions, family get-togethers and endless holiday soirees, the sheer amount of cheesy appetizers, buttery entrees and sugar-laden desserts can be overwhelming – especially when you’re trying to maintain or lose weight.

Don’t let the holidays weigh you down; here are a few tips for how to stay fit and energized throughout the harried holiday season.

Smart snacking

The first rule to staying fit throughout the holidays is never arrive at a party hungry. With the abundance of tempting, fattening treats available, choosing an appetizer or dessert that fills you up and not out, can be a challenge. Satisfy your hunger beforehand with a protein-rich snack, like Jack Link’s Teriyaki Beef or Jack Link’s Cholula Hot Sauce Beef Jerky, to help you curb your desire for calorie-filled treats at the party. Made with premium cuts of beef, pork, turkey or chicken, these snacks are naturally high in protein and low in fat, calories and carbs, making it a smarter snacking choice. And because jerky requires no refrigeration, you can easily toss a bag in your purse or gym bag for on-the-go noshing or a pre- or post-workout snack.

Jack Link’s Jerky is available in grocery stores, mass retailers, convenience and drug stores nationwide or at (Suggested retail price per 3.25-ounce bag: $5.99.)

Hit the gym

As any personal trainer or nutritionist would tell you, the key to seeing results with any diet is exercise. But, you don’t have to be a heavyweight champion or triathlete to stay fit. Fitness centers across the U.S. make fitness affordable and accessible to people of all abilities and fitness levels. Hit the treadmill for a long walk or run; strengthen your muscles through weight training; find your “zen” during yoga; or improve your cardio through conditioning while cycling. Whether you’re looking to tone up or slim down this holiday season, there is sure to be a fitness center near you that will meet all your exercise needs. Many fitness centers are open 24 hours a day, so you can slip in your 30-minute workout when it’s convenient for you. As always, check with your physician before starting a new exercise regimen.

Visit a fitness center near you for more information on how to become a member.

Drink up

Most holiday get-togethers offer a variety of beverages to satisfy every guest, such as wine, spirits, eggnog, soda or coffee. In moderation, these beverages can be a festive treat; however, they can also leave you dehydrated and consuming more calories than you intended. This year, pair your beverage of choice with a healthy glass of water. Recent research shows, drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while also cutting back on portions, can help you meet your weight loss goals. While each person’s hydration needs are different, the Institute of Medicine advises that men and women try to consume about 3.7 and 2.7 liters of water a day, including water that can be found in food and other beverages, such as fruit, vegetables or even coffee.

Tally it up

Wearing a heart rate monitor, fitness watch or pedometer is a great way to track your progress before, during and after your daily workout. In preparation for the holidays, choose a tool that allows you to track calories consumed and calories burned all day long. Personal calorie management devices are available at a variety of price points and offer a wide array of capabilities. For example, through the use of an armband and a compatible smartphone, many calorie management devices will allow you to log calories consumed, track calories counts and even track how many steps you take all day long. Tools like this are essential in maintaining your weight loss goals all the way through to the new year and beyond.

Visit a local or online sporting goods retailer for more information.

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