Yes, you can enjoy all of the holiday parties and stay on track! Here’s how…

by Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

The holiday season is upon us with holiday parties around almost every turn.  This time of year can be challenge, not only to our stress levels, but to our waistlines as well.  Even the best intentions can take a downward spiral with decadent food, tempting desserts, and flowing beverages.  Follow these simple pre-party tips and tricks and keep your dietary habits on track.

 One of the easiest ways to keep your diet on track is to plan ahead and “save” your calories for the party foods.  One or two days before your party, start cleaning up your eating and “bank” your calories for the party.  Try to shave 50 – 100 calories per meal such as omitting creamer in your coffee, omit cheese on your sandwich, avoid dessert, and stay away from alcoholic beverages.  Another option is to avoid carbohydrates a few days before the party because you will most likely be tempted with simple carbs at the holiday party.  Have a large veggie loaded salad for dinner or only fill your plate with lean protein and vegetables at lunch and dinner.

Another pre-party solution to keep your diet on track is to eat something healthy before you go to the party.  Eat a small salad, serving of vegetables, or a few ounces of lean protein one hour before leaving.  The fiber and protein will keep you fuller and hopefully make you less likely to binge eat.  Also drink plenty of water the day of your party because dehydration can often resemble hunger.  Drink a glass of water and, wait 20 minutes, and see if you are still hungry.  If you are not hungry after 20 minutes, you were most likely dehydrated. 

My final few tips include pre-party exercise and what you wear to the party.  When it comes to burning calories, every little bit counts!  Take every flight of stairs you come across, go for a quick walk at lunch, or do a few sets of squat or lunges at home before you leave for the party.  Exercise will increase your daily caloric deficit making those extra party calories less disastrous to your waistline.  As silly as this seems, I recommend wearing a form fitting outfit to the party.  Loose clothing tends to make us feel less guilty about binge eating; don’t we all wear sweatpants on thanksgiving?  A tighter outfit may inspire you to eat a little less and stick to your healthy habits a little more. 

Let’s face it, even the most dedicated can’t resist all those yummy holiday goodies.  Plan ahead with all of these simple strategies and you’ll be thankful you did.      

Sweat-Fest Ride

A cycling workout that promises to leave you in a puddle beside your bike!  (It’s been road-tested by some of my favorite class participants and they loved it!) If you don’t have access to an indoor cycling bike you can use a regular stationary bike, but you may have to skip the standing positions.  The music offers something for everyone.  So, download the tunes, get a towel, fill your water bottle and get going!

Warm Up: “Colorful” – Rocco Deluca & The Burden 3:06

“Soak Up the Sun”  – Sheryl Crow 4:53

1 minute seated flat

30 second standing climb

1 min. seated flat – add a gear

30 second standing climb

1 minute standing climb – add a gear

30 second seated climb

“Play Ball” – AC/DC 2:47

30 Second seated climb

20 Second break away sprint

30 Second seated climb – add a gear

30 Second standing climb – add two gears

20 Second break away sprint

30 Second standing climb – add a third gear

“Pump It” – Black Eyed Peas – 3:33

15 Seconds seated sprint, 15 seconds off

30 Seconds seated sprint, 15 seconds off

45 Seconds seated sprint, 15 seconds off

60 Seconds seated sprint, 15 seconds off

45 Seconds seated sprint 15 seconds off

30 Seconds seated sprint 15 seconds off

“Livin’ in the Future” – Bruce Springsteen 3:57

Tabata Drills 8 X 20 secs. heavy climb 10 secs. off


“Postcards from the Past” – Billy Idol 4:21

30 Second seated climb

30 Second standing climb – add a gear

30 Second standing climb-add cadence&attack hill

30 Second seated sprint


“Shake it off” – Taylor Swift 3:39

8 counts seated – add a gear every 30 seconds

8 counts standing

X 3 mins.

“Drop It Low” – Kat DeLuna 3:46

Big Climb – 1/2 gear up every 30 seconds.; cadence to tempo

1:45 mins. Seated

1:45 mins. Standing

“Bringing back the Sunshine” – Blake Shelton 4:01

Chase Downs – 10 sec. headstart/20 sec. peleton chase down

Repeat 6 to 8 times

Cool Down & Stretching:

“Touch the Sky” – Julian Lennon 4:25

Hit the shower…you are done!



Spooky Song List

If you are looking for a little motivation just in time for Halloween, check out this song list that will keep you smiling and get your heart pounding…BOO! Scared ya didn’t I?

Warm Up: Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers

Psycho Killer – Talking Heads

Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon

Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.

Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley

Witch Doctor – Sha Na Na

Thriller – Michael Jackson

And, for your creepy cool down: “I Put A Spell On You,” Annie Lennox

Sometimes, It’s not WHAT, but WHO you know that matters

I just signed up to complete a 5k race with a friend of mine,  It was her birthday wish so how could I refuse, right? It’s a fantastic way to spend time with a dear friend, have some fun and contribute to a great cause all while being active! But, it is so much more…

Signing up for this race, got me thinking about how fortunate I am to have friends that lead an active, fit lifestyle. In addition to teaching Yoga and Cycling, I am part of a group of women who, most weeks, meet to run together. We joke and call ourselves a social group that has a running problem, but what a great way to combine fitness with friendship.

Some of my friends are professionals engaged in the business of fitness and wellness, like me, but others are people who are whole-heartedly committed to living a healthy life. Many of my best, most supportive friendships, have evolved through some type of fitness activity or class. It is a bond forged in sweat!

Through this network of fitness friends, I have attempted new and challenging activities (Surf Yoga, Ocean Kayaking, triathlons). All things I probably would have never attempted on my own. I have also received support while injured and encouragement when I was not motivated.

One of the most powerful benefits to maintaining my fitness friendships has been accountability. My friends will not let me fall into a sustained, sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy eating habits. They are reliable resources for nutritional news, the latest fitness trends and apparel loves and loathes. When we are out for drinks or dinner my friends set good examples by ordering a healthy meal, asking for something to be prepared in a more healthy way or sharing a totally decadent dessert, limiting my (temporary) calorie backslide.

So, the moral of this post is, surround yourself with active friends! You will gain more than you can imagine and not a single pound.  The old adage is true, sometimes it’s not what, but who you know that matters most.

Everyone in the water!

With Labor Day weekend coming up and the last of the summer cookouts, are you thinking about heading to the pool or the lake?  Here is a quick swim workout to kick off the fun BEFORE you have that burger.  It will help you shred some calories and get your heart pounding! (Hint: this workout also works with timed intervals of 30 seconds to 1 minute instead of meters.)


Warm Up: 5 to 10 minutes

2X50m freestyle

2X50m backstroke

2X50m breaststroke

2X50m freestyle


4x50m kick (kickboard OR on back hands together above head)

4X50m freestyle with fingertip touch

4X50m kick (kickboard OR on back hands together above head)

4X50m Pull (use Pull Buoy)


(15 seconds rest between each sprint)

4X50m freestyle

4X50m backstroke

4X50m breaststroke

Cool Down:

2X50m freestyle

2X50m backstroke

 Now go enjoy that burger, hot off the grill!

Do my thighs look big on this bike?

As a Personal Trainer and Indoor Cycling instructor, I get this question a lot.  Clients often ask if cycling will make their thighs bigger.  The short answer is no, but I found a great article on the Women’s Health website recently that does explain why cycling might make your thighs FEEL bulky…read on!

Thirsty? Thinking of trying some coconut water?

I like to try new things, but I am always skeptical of new products with flashy claims of superiority.  I have been tempted to try coconut water recently, but have been hesitant because I didn’t know much about it.  Take a look at this blog post from Ellie Krieger, host of the Food Networks, “Healthy Appetite” and a well-known, registered dietician.  She sheds some light on the coconut water claims of super-hydration…

Activity Trackers, which one is for you?

If you have been considering purchasing an activity tracker, but have no idea which one is right for you, check out this article from PC magazine.  It lists the features of each tracker, cost and where to purchase it for the lowest price.  It also indicates which ones have heart rate monitors, sleep trackers and which systems each device is compatible with.,2817,2404445,00.asp