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What you need to know to stay healthy during the holidays

Amanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, model, spokeswoman, founder of

How to stay healthy during the holiday season

I’m the first to admit I love just about everything about the magical holiday season!

But, one thing I don’t love is how we overdo everything to excess — myself included — with the mindset of "that’s what the holidays are for.”

The holidays are for celebrating, indulging and relaxing, but that doesn’t mean we should equate that to a free pass to throw exercise sessions out the window and postpone healthy eating until the new year.

The question everyone wants to know is: How do you enjoy all the goodies and wonders of the season without reversing all your hard work and healthy habits in a matter of days?

I think it’s safe to say that we all know the obvious answers — and if you don’t, there are tons of lists and tips out there.

I have pulled a few of my favorite tips — but none of the tricks, tips or magic solutions are going to be very helpful without first knowing this one thing.

Watch my quick video where I share the most critical tip for staying healthy this holiday.

And once you get that down, here are a few actionable tips that will have a lot higher chance of success!

Schedule your workouts during your day or before your day

No matter how busy you are, you still have 24 hours in a day, and you choose how to spend them. If you find you get swept up in the busyness and your workout time gets lost in the hustle, take a look at your day's tasks a day before and plan your workout like you would any other appointment. In fact, it is likely the most important appointment you attend — you will be energized, have a clear mind, feel less stressed and be ready to tackle anything the season throws at you with a lifted spirit.

No fail plan: Get up just 30 minutes earlier and get it done before you start your day. Nothing can get in your way, and you can bask in your post-workout endorphins all day long.

Reassess and revamp your workout to optimize time

Who wants to spend all day in the gym when there is holiday shopping, dinner parties and visiting to do? Rather than skipping the workout altogether, carve out a 30-minute window where you maximize your workout with interval and strength training.

My favorite way to get results is to combine intervals with the right ratio of high-intensity cardio and strength training to get more out of less time.

Just add (bubbly) water

This tip comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me — sorry, wine connoisseurs — but one of my best tips for slimming down your drink, while also hydrating, is to add sparkling water or club soda to any of your drinks, from cocktails to wine. I love the taste bubbly water adds, and I love even more that I can splurge on double the amount of drinks — without downing extra sugar and calories. Even better, since you’re adding water, you are less likely to overdo it and wake up with a pounding headache!

Get festive with your fitness routine

There are lots of fun activities you can do that count as exercise and don’t require clocking time at the gym. Cross-country skiing and winter hiking are two of my favorite winter activities. You get the fresh air and the option to enjoy the outdoors, or bring a friend and catch up with someone — a much more slimming activity than sitting over a plate of cookies.

However, not all of us can strap on or access cross-country skiing or even a good place to hike. Due to life circumstances, many times we just need something simple and quick we can do right in our own living room — which is why I think it’s more fun to get into the spirit with holiday-themed workouts.

You'll still get a great workout, but with a nice change of theme. Here is a collection of my top 10 holiday workout videos — as well as healthy holiday tips and tricks.

Don’t get me wrong, these tips do not mean you should avoid any fun, rather they are to get more enjoyment out of everything by enjoying the things that matter — and doing so in moderation will result in a happier, healthier and more energized you throughout the whole season.

Cheers to eating, drinking, moving and being merry as well!

Amanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, model, spokeswoman, founder of Fit, Strong and Sexy and one of the industry's leading experts on fitness, wellness and change. Amanda hosts and executive produces the online fitness series: Fit, Strong and Sexy. To watch Amanda's show, visit her on YouTube.

Find more of Amanda on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest. Or, check out Amanda's fitness and diet plans at Fit, Strong and Sexy.

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