8 Tips for Staying Strong and Fit Over the Holidays From the Denver Nuggets Strength Coach

Denver Nuggets strength coach Steve Hess offers great advice to help keep you strong and healthy over the holidays.

Keeping your workouts and diet on point during the holidays can be a Herculean task. Traveling, delicious meals and desserts, and a busy schedule form a potent combo capable of totally derailing your normal routine.

How you manage the holiday season can determine whether you let months of work go to waste or come out unscathed. Steve Hess, Denver Nuggets director of player performance and MET-Rx ambassador, provides 8 essential tips to keep you strong and healthy over the holidays.

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Tip 1: Use this simple technique to avoid overeating

Salad and Water

Before you go to a party, have a small meal with high nutritional value and drink 12 ounces of water. That way, you'll come into the event already feeling full and thus less likely to gorge on garbage.

Tip 2: See the dessert tray for what it is


We are accountable for everything we do. If you're an athlete, your body is your machine. You have to take care of it. It's not like you have a Ferrari and for two weeks you put low-octane fuel in it.

Tip 3: Don't feel guilty if you do indulge


If you give in to your cravings, don't waste time feeling guilty. Guilt is the worst emotion. We want to keep you stress-free because your mind is the most important thing you have. If you eat something relatively unhealthy, just acknowledge that you did it, then move on. Drink some water, stay hydrated and make your next meal spot on.

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Tip 4: Work out in the morning


Get it done early because it never gets easier. You will feel much better down the line. You don't need to crush your body. There are certain things you can do just to get your blood flowing. During the holiday season I cannot overemphasize the importance of getting your blood flowing early. Once you're done, you're done for the day.

Tip 5: Do shorter workouts


Do I find value in altering your workouts? Absolutely. You can lower the intensity of your workouts. If you usually do 6 sets and decide to do only 3, that's OK. If you normally run for 40 minutes and you run for 20, that's OK too. Give your mind and body a break—just don't take the whole day off.

Tip 6: Go for a walk

Winter Walk

If you're traveling, go for a walk. Go for a 20-minute walk and try to get back in 15 minutes. I promise you that you will have to catch your breath.

Tip 7: Do more supersets


My biggest tip is supersetting. By grouping exercises, you can shorten the workout. It's really effective and can be a lot of fun. But make sure you group them correctly. Be really efficient from one exercise to another in how you superset your moves.

Tip 8: Set a workout time limit

Watch Timer

Finally, set a goal. Let's say you give yourself 17 minutes to lift. Do a push-pull action together, or do a compound exercise for whatever time you choose. Think it through, give yourself a goal and smash it.

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