The average American only gains one pound during the holiday season. That same American likely suffers from lower levels of energy and higher levels of food guilt. Additionally, he is probably annoying the crap out of everyone by whining about how fat he became over the holidays. The Christmas season is over and so are the high calorie feasts and seemingly endless amounts of alcohol. It is now time to start the recovery from your fitness disaster. You undoubtedly made resolutions to live a healthier 2016 and perhaps you even participated in a “dry January.” Good for you. Most of us are probably committed to that diet that is always starting tomorrow. Fortunately, there are healthy amounts of fitness achievements that you should be scoring so that you can not only feel better about yourself but also feel better about being naughty--from a fitness perspective.

It’s all about that Data. In this day and age most of us who are serious about getting in/staying in shape have some sort of activity tracker like a FitBit, Jaw Bone, etc. If not, get one, and at a minimum download a tracking app like “My Fitness Pal.” Many of them are free and have an impressive array of features and large food databases. Use it. If you are already familiar with these technologies, now is the time to use them the most. Don’t turn a blind eye to the fact that you haven’t been to the gym in a week or stop logging what you eat because it’s too hard this time of year. Tracking your activity and what you eat will force accountability for your actions and give you a better picture of what you are actually consuming.

Set Realistic Goals
I love this one. “The new year is upon us! I must try to eat only 1500 calories a day or I’ll suddenly be fat!” Overeating is going to happen. End of story. The trick is to limit the amount of overeating you do. Allow yourself a cheat day. If you want pizza and beer on a Friday night then have the pizza and beer, but try to be good the rest of the week. If you count calories or macronutrients, try to stick to a normal 2000-calorie diet or a slightly calorie deficient diet based on how much you move. Attempting to put the screws to your food intake will only result in you giving up when you can not reach your goals and begin binge eating anyway. Instead, allow your calorie count to climb a little on the days you must be bad and balance the excess with a workout at the gym or light jog for a few miles.

Put the Bottle Down
Don’t binge drink. If you must partake in libations, pick a night that is most important to you like a bar crawl or a night in with relatives you haven’t seen in a while. The rest of the time avoid alcohol or stick to one drink at most. Attempting to drink your hometown out of booze this new year is not going to happen and you are effectively committing fitness suicide.

Make it Fun
Hit the gym or go for a run with a buddy you haven’t seen in a while. There are plenty winter running events you can participate in. Sign up, boost that metabolism and earn some ManScore points in the process. Fitness may also be unconventional. Organize a pick up football game if the weather allows or sign up for a Cyclocross event and get that bike dirty. Additionally, many gyms offer a variety of classes or hold indoor triathlons. Make staying in shape fun as the weather gets colder, and most importantly, make time for it.

We’re not trying to eliminate all your fun, but rather focus on maintaining the weight and fitness levels you worked hard to achieve in the warm months. By doing so, those New Year’s fitness goals seem much more attainable and are more likely to be met.

Achievements in this Article