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TIP #4: Exercise with Friends -- "The holidays are meant to be fun times spent making memories with your friends and family, so that's exactly what you should be doing! An easy way to stay active is to invite your people to work out with you." - Alex White [Image: Shannon W. Williams Photography + Design]

6 Steps For A Healthy Holiday

You know how it works. The holiday season is filled with family, friends, and high-calorie foods.

Add in endless shopping lists, parking-spot chaos, and the occasional maxed-out credit card, and your holiday happiness is gradually replaced with the gifts of stress, exhaustion, and (you guessed it) weight-gain.

Welcome to the "holiday hustle." Ugh! Not the season's greetings you hoped for.

But, take heart, folks! Some smart eating and exercise can mean the difference between a season tinged with regret and one that's filled with joy and health.

We connected with InHealth Mutual (an Ohio-based, health insurance CO-OP) to get some pointers on that whole "smart eating and exercise" thing. If you're looking for a bit of "just-in-time-for-the-holidays" wisdom, check out these tips -- provided by fitness gurus Alex White and Amy Crandall -- and get to it.


TIP #1:
Don't Let Things Get Boring

Alex: I have found that there has to be a balance between fitness and fun. I like hybrid workouts that are hard and force me to do the things I'm not good at.

Amy: I incorporate a lot of balance work into my routines. I find training to be an art form, so getting creative is important to me.

TIP #2:
Overcome the Hurdles (time, motivation, etc.)

Amy: The biggest hurdle is staying consistent. Once you're way off track with exercise and food, it seems daunting to get back. My rule of thumb is to not go more than three days without exercise and clean eating.

TIP #3:
Stay Disciplined. ... But Cheat A Little

Alex: All things in balance. Stay clean Sunday (afternoon) through Friday (afternoon) and don't change anything! Turn down midweek parties because, let's be honest... nobody throws a killer party on a Tuesday night. Is it really worth throwing your schedule off to play scrabble and eat Domino's wearing a Santa hat?

TIP #4:
Exercise with Friends

Alex: The holidays are meant to be fun times spent making memories with your friends and family, so that's exactly what you should be doing! An easy way to stay active is to invite your people to work out with you. Hit the park for a run or start an annual turkey bowl.

TIP #5:
Stay Encouraged! Greatness Takes Time.

Amy: Keep your end goal in mind. Maybe you want to press a certain weight. Maybe you want to do the splits. Have patients and keep working at it - a little each day. And, if you feel totally lost with fitness, then reach out! We can't do everything on our own. If you're struggling, there's no shame in asking someone for help.

TIP #6:
Consider investing in YOU by investing in a coach

Alex: The relationship between fitness coach and client is a very unique experience. It requires a tremendous amount of trust. I like knowing that my athletes believe in me enough to know that everything I make them do is for their benefit... even if they hate every second of it.

Amy: My whole entire career is about connections, personally connecting with people, helping them connect back to themselves, connecting their mind to their body. Helping and watching clients reach their goals is an incredible feeling.

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InHealth Mutual partners with folks like Alex and Amy because this nonprofit health insurance company values wellness and prevention-focused care. They also partner with health insurance brokers because brokers make it easier to navigate through all of the policy-selecting decisions to find a plan that gives you peace of mind. Brokers also help you understand how to use health insurance to get and stay healthy.

To learn more, check out the organization's website or Facebook page.

About Alex & Amy:
Alex is co-owner of Peak Human Performance. Amy is a trainer at Peak Human Performance and owns her own online fitness service, Active Body. Creative Mind.