How to stay in shape through the holidays + 24 minute workout

Holiday circuit workout

Anyone else feel like the Michelin Man through the holidays? Well, good news… that extra fluffiness isn’t necessarily weight gain – or PERMANENT weight gain.

According to a 2015 holiday weight study, the feared 5-10 pounds of holiday fluff is actually only around one pound. That’s right – the average American gains just around one pound during the holiday season. If you think about it, that statistic actually makes sense.

In order to gain one pound of fat you would have to eat an extra 3,500 calories per week or 500 extra calories per day. I’m sure that happens SOME days with all the holiday parties, drinks, and desserts – but definitely not EVERY day.

So what does this mean and why should you care? Um, because you don’t have to feel guilty for enjoying yourself. How awful is it counting calories during the holidays? I personally think micromanaging all of your decisions actually MAKES you want dessert and food even more.


Here’s the deal – you are going to read a LOT of advice articles telling you to count your calories, skip on treats, and avoid alcohol at all costs during the holidays. I am not going to tell you to do those things. You should enjoy yourself. Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah, and New Years are THREE events during the entire year. Usually these are times that we are with our family and friends. We should be invested in quality time and conversation instead of obsessing over our waist lines.


  1. Eat often – never be too hungry or too full!
    You know when overindulging happens? When we are starving!!! Have you ever gone out to lunch or dinner with friends and end up eating an entire bread basket while you wait for your main course? Yeah – I’ve been there, too. So, instead of going starving to a party or event, snack through the day on high quality protein sources to keep you full and fulfilled. For breakfast, make some eggs and oats. For a snack, have a low sugar greek yogurt. At lunch, try a grilled chicken breast over a bed of greens. By the time your event rolls around, you will have eaten enough through the day that you don’t overeat all night.
  2. Drink a lot of water!
    We always hear “drink more water” – but what benefit does it have to your fitness goals? Well, beyond many of the known benefits (skin hydration and normal bowel function), a German study concluded that drinking just one 500ml glass of water (about 2 cups) increases our metabolic rates by 30%. So, drink up!
  3. Structure your carbs before/after your workouts!
    Since parties are laden with alcohol, finger foods, and treats – you can count on getting the majority of your carbs for one day in a mere matter of hours. Instead of eating tons of carbs leading up to your event, try to structure them right before and after you workout that way you are fueling your muscles for an intense workout session and replenishing them directly after. The carbs will more than likely be used as fuel and muscle regrowth during those times.
  4. Engage in quick and efficient high calorie burning workouts!
    I am a huge fan of PHA (peripheral heart action) workouts because they are fast paced so you can build muscle AND burn fat. They are also a good tool if you are short on time. In order to do a PHA workout you just alternate an upper body movement with a lower body movement. This format makes your body have to work harder to pump blood = extra calories burned. Try the workout below and make sure to take little breaks: PHA workout

I’ve included a full video below that shows each of the movements. If you like the video and find it helpful, subscribe to my YouTube channel for similar videos!

That’s all for today! I hope you are able to enjoy yourself through this holiday season and use a few of these tips to set yourself up for healthy success!
Heather Stammen bodybuilding

Holiday Circuit workout