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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why the Holidays are the Best Time to Begin a New Workout Program

A doctor friend of mine shared this holiday tradition with me: every year, just after Thanksgiving, she and her husband begin a four week detoxification program that they deliberately extend to five weeks.  When she first told me about this, I thought she was (insert joke about insanity), or just trying to prove a point, to role model great health and nutrition for her patients at a time when most people go far beyond what would be considered an acceptable level of indulging.

While I am very careful about just how much I indulge during the holidays, I do indulge-(life, after all, is meant to be enjoyed.)  But
being on a detox during the holidays is like signing up for self-imposed jail time.

”Why now?” I asked her.  I certainly understood the importance of liver detoxification twice a year but I didn’t understand the timing. I anxiously awaited her response, expecting a complicated physiological discussion of nutrient timing, leptin manipulation, insulin sensitivity, and strategic dieting. “Simple,” she said, we just don’t want to overeat during the holidays.”  A little deflated, I walked away feeling cheated. Here I thought I was about to learn the secret to lifelong leanness but instead, I just had an “is that all there is?” moment.

The point is (if it were any more obvious it would’ve bit me), the additional challenge of staying disciplined during the holidays motivated them more to stick to their program and made their success just that much sweeter.  To me, they’re rock stars, soldiers, or whatever you ascribe your highest honor to.  They proved that by following the, “if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere…” method or, if they can stick to it during the holidays, they can stick to it…any time.

I certainly admire that!  The toughest people always find a way to get the job done. And I’m not advocating extremism.  One should enjoy life and indulge every now and then.  Balance is so important.  The problem is, for most people, now and then does NOT translate into 20% indulgence, 80% adherence (AKA the 80/20 rule.)  It’s likely to be more like 60/40, 50/50, or worse. I firmly believe that you cannot out train a bad diet but, if we truly “cheated” only 20% of the time, our workout program would pick up the slack (assuming you worked out appropriately.) Then here come the holidays…and there goes everything.  

But not for you!

The holidays are indeed the best time to begin a new workout program.  Committing to a new program right now attracts only the toughest of the tough-your confidence will soar as a result of this achievement. I say new program because most of my readers are people who have always worked out, they just get stuck from time to time and need to learn new ways to take their fitness to the next level. I know that the workout itself isn’t likely the “problem,” it’s the diet. Every successful diet or training program depends on consistency and self-regulation. You have to show up for your workouts. You have to manage your diet in spite of all the logistical issues, practical problems, and the holidays, rather than letting your circumstances manage it for you. That’s what being committed is all about.  The holidays are a way to take that commitment to a whole new level.

If you start now, you’re going to have to cut out sugar (in all its forms), excess carbs, and unhealthy fats, right in the middle of the holiday season. So?

In case you’re thinking of putting off starting that promising new program you discovered until January 1st, I suggest you reconsider. By starting now, you prove to yourself what you’re made of.  As author M. Scott Peck said, “Until you value yourself, you will not value your time.  Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."  

This “mission” is certainly not for the faint of heart. It requires some serious dedication-but it can be done! This mission, should you choose not to accept it,  doesn’t mean you’re weak.  It just means that you chose not to use this particular method of challenging yourself at this particular time.  There will be other challenges-there always is.  But this year, what if instead of the average 10 pound holiday weight gain, you lost 10 pounds?  What would you think then?  That anything is possible?

Here’s some holiday drama for you: do the math on how much time you really have, if you are age 37, for example, and with the average life expectancy being 78 years, you only have 14,965 days left. Get the body you’ve always wanted now, don't waste another day.

There are a million quotes about procrastination that I could recite like:  “How soon 'not now' becomes 'never'.” ...A month and a half from now, you’ll wish you started today.
© 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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Fitness expert and Athletic Development Specialist Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at

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