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Local Trainers Offer Tips To Combat Holiday Weight Gain

Three trainers who own fitness studios in the area say there's no time like the present — start working out before you see the scale move.

The holidays are a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate, but, let's face it, the holidays are also a time when you're worried about packing on those extra pounds. With all the wine, turkey, and pie, it's a real concern for many, so East Hampton Patch asked three local fitness studio owners to weigh in; Jessica Bellofatto, of KamaDeva Yoga in East Hampton, Romaine Gordon, of B. East Real Ryder Fitness Studio in Amagansett, and Rich Decker, a personal trainer and owner of Studio 89 in Sag Harbor. Here are their tips to help you trim not only the tree this holiday season. 

Q: What's the best advice you have for people who want to make sure they don't pack on the pounds during the holidays? 

Romaine Gordon: Be vigilant with your current exercise routine or START EXERCISING NOW.  And, all those tips that your read DO WORK so follow them as best you can.  Two most important: Eat something healthy before the holiday party so you aren't ravenous when you get there. You will make better decisions when you see all those holiday treats if you aren't as hungry!  DRINK WATER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE to help stay feeling full (and to help lessen the effects of adult beverages you might partake in). 

Jessica Bellofatto: The best advice I have to make sure that one does not pack on the pounds during the holiday season is to meditate!  Honestly, sitting for just a few minutes a day and going inside, watching the breath, it is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.  Often, we overeat because we are disconnected.  We are feeding SOMETHING, but we don't know what we are feeding.  Ask yourself, in what other ways can you nourish and nurture yourself?  What do you truly need?  

Rich Decker: Moderation and exercise!  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the holidays but if you want to avoid gaining the extra weight, be satisfied with a bite or small piece, not the whole pie! Drink a lot of water to feel full faster.  Also, fit in some gym time with interval training between all of those holiday parties!

Q: What's the best class you offer at your studio to help in achieving this? 

Romaine Gordon: All forms of exercise are beneficial to getting and staying fit. The best stategy is to try and alternate between cardio and strength training.  One day spin class, the next day TRX, one day Sportzone, the next day Cardio Sculpt.  You need to mix it up in order to see and maintain the benefits you are working so hard to achieve.

Jessica Bellofatto: I would say the best class is one of the vinyasa type classes — any of the classes on the schedule that say CLASSIC DEVA.  The word 'deva' means divine, and the 'classic' classes are well-rounded, open level classes that incorporate breath, movement, some dharma (lesson), music, and perhaps a bit of chanting or meditation.  In these classes, you can expect to move, sweat, and get your heart rate up.  I would also recommend slower, more restorative classes as well though, because, like I say above, it is often in nurturing ourselves that we can really touch into our food issues and why we overeat.

Rich Decker: The TRX core is a great class for all levels of fitness.  We will also be launching F.I.T. (Functional Interval Training) the 1st of the year.  Interval training is extremely effective in burning that unwanted fat!

Q: Do you see an increase in people coming to your studio around the holidays because they know they'll be eating more? 

Romaine Gordon: Actually, due to parties, holiday shopping and traveling as well as other holiday-related distractions, people tend to neglect their exercise and fall out of their routines.  It is a double whammy, exercising less than they normally do and indulging more.

Jessica Bellofatto: Not really. December can be a bit slow because people are so busy.  January is the month where there is a bit of an increase —  New Year's Resolutions!! I teach a super fun New Year's Day class that is an amazing way to greet the new year.  We focus on intention setting, clearing space, and detoxifying poses! 

Rich Decker: Always the busiest time of year for the gym business is the new years resolution client. They all want to burn off what they ate. Our job is to set realistic goals with them so they can achieve and satisfy the mental need for improvement then the body will follow.

Q: What would you say to the person who says they are going to start an exercise regime as their New Year's resolution instead of right now? 

Romaine Gordon: That mindset is very counterproductive.  People tend to indulge even more than they would if they didn't make that promise to themselves!  Instead of saying that you will start the new exercise routine and healthier eating habits AFTER the holidays, give yourself a goal for New Years Day.  Tell yourself that even if you aren't going to start your exercise routine yet, even if you aren't going to make any drastic changes in your eating habits right now, at the very least, MAINTAIN until January 1. But if you can start working toward the changes that you want to make NOW, do everything you can to make that happen NOW.  Wouldn't your rather wake up on New Years Day knowing that you are already well on your way to a healthier you?  Why wait?

Jessica Bellofatto: I would say that that is OK.  I certainly don't like for people to beat themselves up or feel badly, but….there is no time like the present.  The present is HERE NOW.  All we have is this moment. Carpe Diem!!!

Rich Decker: Don’t put off what you can do today and “weight” for tomorrow. Hence the weight, start taking of today and enjoy your results tomorrow.

What do you do fight extra holiday weight gain? Tell us your tips or which area fitness classes you take? Leave a comment below.

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