During the holidays, your fitness routine is going to be tested. Your TV will be filled with images of roasts, ham, mashed potatoes, and pies at every commercial break. At work, your colleagues may show up with platters of holiday pastries and homemade sweets they want you to try.

That doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your commitment to fitness, although you may have to make a few adjustments. Try these six tips to help stay fit during the holidays.

1. Move, Move, Move

Staying active and moving around is going to be key because it burns calories. And while exercises that get your heart rate up are great, less strenuous activity also is good. Do the little things to stay active. Take the stairs, park farther away, walk around the mall and go shopping. You can even set a reminder on your phone to move around for 10 minutes after every hour you sit.

2. Keep a (Nearly) Normal Routine

This might be the only time you get to spend with many of your family and friends, so relish it. It may be hard to stick to your routine but stay as close to it as you can. If you normally work out five days a week, work out three. If you are staying in a hotel, check to see if they have a fitness center. The best time to work out is in the afternoon. This is when your body temperature, protein synthesis and reaction time peaks. So enjoy the holidays, sleep in a little and then get moving.

3. Be Realistic

Understand that it’s the holidays and you should enjoy them. This is a time for family and friends. Don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to eating. The more you restrict your food cravings, the more you want to eat. Recognize it’s only one night and enjoy yourself but be smart. Eat plenty of the healthy items being served and enjoy smaller portions of the not-so-healthy treats.

4. Drink Plenty of Water

Not only does water lubricate and cushion your joints, but it keeps your stomach full.

5. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep plays a big role in fitness, and a lot of people don’t get enough of it. For a restful night’s sleep, make sure your bed is comfortable, shut off all electronics 1.5 to 2 hours before bed, keep your room dark and limit your water intake at least 45 minutes to an hour before you go to bed. Play relaxing music if you are having trouble falling asleep and aim for eight to nine hours a night.

6. Limit TV Time and Partner Up

Now is the time to spend with family and friends and catch up. Try to get out of the house or hotel and away from the TV so you can explore.

If, despite your best efforts, you weigh yourself in early January and you’ve gained a few pounds, don’t get down on yourself. Simply get back into your exercise routine, cut back to a normal diet and keep a positive attitude. And remember how much fun you had during the holiday season!

Healthy Apple Crisp

  • Makes: 9 servings
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes


For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or regular flour or gluten free oat flour or almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, gluten free if desired
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (can also sub coconut sugar but brown sugar is best)
  • 1/2 cup raw chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter or vegan buttery stick, cut into very small cubes (can also use coconut oil)

For the crisp:

  • 5-6 medium Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (or pure vanilla extract)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pecans in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. (Alternatively, you can cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or place all the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just blended. My favorite method is to use my hands, as I believe you get the best crumbly topping that way.)
  3. Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
  4. To make the filling: Place apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bourbon (or vanilla) in a large bowl and toss to combine. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Take 1/3 cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Place the apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping.
  6. Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 45-55 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream. Makes 9 servings. 

Recipe Notes

To make gluten free: in the topping, use certified gluten free oats and almond flour or an all purpose gluten free flour or gluten free oat flour.

To make vegan: sub a buttery vegan stick for the butter or use coconut oil.


  • Calories: 204kcal
  • Fat: 7.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.7g
  • Fiber: 4.2g
  • Sugar: 23.2g
  • Protein: 1.5g

Share this article