It is easy get caught in the trap of skipping training time holiday errands, events, etc.

The problem is by not taking time to get your workouts, you risk losing the lean muscle mass and strength that you have worked so hard to build and maintain. If you have been paying attention, you have heard me talk about it before: Losing lean muscle mass will lower your resting metabolic rate, which accounts for the vast majority (about 60-75%) of your total daily calorie burning.

This means that everyday you will be burning less and less calories which will put you at a much greater risk of packing on body fat during the holidays and being mistaken for St. Nick. Plus, losing strength will mean that the next time you start to work out your performance will suffer. Nobody wants to be sucking wind like a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck while working out.

Fear not! I will now show you some clever ways to maintain or increase the number of calories you burn per day, both from exercise and from your normal daily activities, to stay on track this holiday season. Use the strategies below to maintain and/or increase your current amount of lean muscle mass and maximize your daily calorie burn to best protect yourself against the deadly holiday bloat!

1. Perform at least one intense strength training session per week. If you have been reading anything I write then you know this is the sorest dead horse in town: Studies show that only a single strength training workout per week during times when you cannot train as frequently as you normally do is an effective way to maintain your current levels of strength and lean muscle mass. So, to best maintain your strength and lean muscle mass, shoot for at least one good strength training workout per week. Even better: shoot for THREE total body strength workouts per week. To maximize fat burning, perform three total body strength workouts per week and also perform three cardio interval workouts per week either immediately after or non strength-training days.

2. Get the Numbers. Your body is apathetic. It doesn’t really care if you do 100 kettlebell swings in 10 minutes or in a day. When you honestly cannot find a five to 20-minute time slot to complete an effective total body workoutfind those hidden chunks of time during the day to get in a certain number of daily repetitions for a certain number of exercises that work your entire body. Got a free moment from now until you need to take the turkey out of the oven? Then, bang out 10 push-ups, 10 rows, and 20 kettlebell swings. Using this method throughout the day will lead to big numbers by the end of the day that will burn a lot of calories in addition to keeping you strong.

It is important to note that this “Get the Numbers” routine is a BACK-UP option, a “PLAN B” for the ideal workouts like we do in Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp. Short rest periods between exercises will create an optimal hormonal environment for rapid fat loss and lean muscle gain. Longer rest periods (full recovery) work well for strength, but not as much for burning fat. However, it comes down to effective (“Get the Numbers”) versus optimal (50-10 Total Body Circuit Interval Training Workouts), so be sure to at least be effective this holiday season!

Choose multi-joint, compound movements that hit as much of your body’s muscle groups in the shortest amount of time possible (e.g. Get-ups, swings, lunges, push-ups, rows, etc.). Use the plan below as guide to build your own “Get the Numbers” workout. Adjust the repetition ranges as necessary based on your current strength levels. All you will need is your body weight and a kettlebell. Perform this plan up to three times per week, resting a day between workouts.

Alternate between Plan A and Plan B for more variety. You can either hit your total by doing one exercise first (e.g. perform push-ups rest-pausing as needed until you get 100 total), or by simply employ circuit style training (e.g. 20 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 rows, repeat 10x throughout the day to hit your totals).

The Get the Numbers Workout For The Holidays

Workout A- Body weight Squats: 100 total

Push-ups: 100 total

Kettlebell Rows: 50 total per arm

Workout B- Turkish get-up: 10 per arm

Kettlebell swing: 200 total

Clean and press: 50 total per arm

3. Plan the Junk- From Halloween until New Years Day we are bombarded with an ever-increasing volume of junk food. From the little “fun size” candy bars ( I never got that…whats fun about haveing to unwrap ever single bite of candy?) to the mashed potatoes and gravy to the stockings full of chocolate Santas to the New Years Eve party buffet. It’s everywhere, all the time.

Here is how to enjoy the “goodies” and still keep the jelly off your belly: Plan ahead of time the days/meal/events that you want to indulge. Example: The office party, Christmas day with your family and the New Years Eve party. On those three pre-determined occasions, let loose and shovel it down. Gorge yourself. Then get back to your regular plan.

I have written before about Dr. John Berardi’s 90/10 rule: If you are compliant 90% of the time, then 10% of non-compliance has little effect.

4. Keep moving- Do not fear the cold, get outside and move around. Play with the kids, walk the dog, have some fun!

Once again, all these calories here and there truly do add up and could make a difference between you fitting in your pants or ripping your pants by the time the clock strikes midnight this New Year!