Chances are if you're reading this post, you're:

  • Fit: "I live it. I breathe it. I'm just reading for maintenance."
  • Resolution Fit: "As soon as Jan 1st gets here, the sweat will instantaneously drip off me...but not a moment sooner."
  • Intellectually Fit: "I like the idea of being fit, and could actually see myself working out. I just need to do it."

Yep, in a few days it will be 2011. Regardless of which category of fitness you throw yourself into, a few tips to build or fortify your workouts and overall health won't hurt. To make sure the only extra bulk hanging around your midsection over the next few months is in the form of a thick wooly sweater, you need to be prepared!

Rule 1: Consistency is Key
If you managed to head out for a jog everyday before or after work, don't stop. It's hard on everyone to get up early in the morning during the winter, especially when the sun is still an hour from rising. And it's just as hard to get your workout in the evening when the sun is already down! You don't have to do the same type of exercise day-in and day-out, but working out at the same time will keep your motivation up.  As soon as you break your routine, falling off the wagon, it's a lot harder to get back on and build up momentum!

Rule 2: Give Your Body Variety
The same-old, same-old can get really boring month after month. What's more, it's not necessarily a good thing to do the exact same workout without variation. After your body adapts to a particular type of exercise, it's not as responsive as it once was. Pretty soon, you plateau off. The kick you felt after a run is gone and the buzz after lifting weights is non-existent. Whether you're a cardio queen who loves her elliptical machine or a weights maniac who enjoys pumping iron, your body needs variety. Winter is the perfect time to give your body the break from the norm that it needs. If your exercise regime has typically been intense cardio or heavy weights, throw in one or two "soft fitness" classes, such as Pilates or yoga. On the other hand, if you've followed a Zen-like path and rarely take time for cardio classes, such as kickboxing, Body Pump or spinning, your body will welcome the change.

Rule 3: Indulge Snobishly
When it comes to nutrition, we all tend to let our guard down a little bit more during the winter months. We can try to blame Starbuck's and their whipped cream-topped Egg Nog Lattes, or maybe we point the finger at Aunt Beatrice and her cheesy mashed potatoes, but what it all comes down to is managing our self control over this festive, but fare-heavy season. In fact, many of us throw in the towel right around Thanksgiving, only to pick it back up again well into the New Year. Each and every one of us face a barrage of sugar-filled temptations that can be hard to turn down. Unless you're a complete Scrooge, you're more than likely going to indulge a little bit in your most-wonderful-time-of-the-year favorites.

  • Knowing where to draw the line between "a little bit" and "a lot." If you're going to pamper yourself, go for the good stuff.
  • Forgo cheap knock offs, like year-round store-bought candy wrapped in festive paper for a little bit of specialty candy from Vosges (a personal favorite). After you've decided how you want to pamper yourself, set your limits. One or two small treats every week probably won't sabotage your waistline, but turning occasional treats into an everyday occurrence could add inches everywhere.

Falling out of your regular routine over the holidays is bound to happen. Everyone deserves a little bit of a break and a chance to celebrate. If you haven't been too much of a slacker, your body can handle a few days off of working out...or even an extra piece of pie. But too much time off or one too many pieces of pie can slow all the momentum you've built up. Eat healthy, indulge a little and move around a lot well into the winter months.