10 Commandments for a Healthy Holiday Season

Philly’s fitness pros spill their secrets for surviving the holidays with abs unscathed.

Illustration by Michele Melcher

1. Commit to moving every day.
Since college, Jen Crompton, owner of Ardmore’s Fuel Cycle Fitness, has dubbed December her “month to move”: “Every day, without fail, I make myself do some sort of workout.”

2. Become a morning-workout devotee.
No one hosts a holiday bash at 5 a.m., Unite Fitness owner Gavin McKay points out. The Wall Cycling Studio owner Juliet Sabella suggests swapping evening workouts for early ones.

3. Bail-proof your gym plans.
Sign up for classes that charge you to cancel. As Hally Bayer, owner of Rittenhouse’s Thrive Pilates, says, these classes “can be über-motivating.”

4. Sneak fitness into your family traditions.
“My family eats a late Thanksgiving lunch because we can’t wait to get to our favorite part of the day — hiking the Wissahickon with the dogs,” says Katie Gould, owner of East Passyunk’s KG Strong.

5. Schedule social outings that do double duty.
As Crompton points out, the season isn’t all parties and pie: Philly’s fall fitness calendar is rife with events and classes that can double as celebratory social events, from Turkey Trot runs to New Year’s Eve yoga classes.

6. Never show up hungry.
“If you know you’re heading into a party abounding with unhealthy temptations, don’t head into it on any empty stomach,” Bayer says.

7. Don’t snub the veggie platter.
Every party has one, and it typically goes untouched. But Katie Costalas, co-owner of Rittenhouse’s RippedPHL, fills her plate strategically, loading up at the crudités and raw bar before adding a decadent appetizer or two.

8. Stick to a signature drink.
Sabella steers clear of cocktail calorie-bombs by sticking with a simple standby: vodka, grapefruit juice — fresh-squeezed if she’s making it herself — and club soda.

9. Be smart with your splurges.
“If you know you’re a pie destroyer, save your pie dollars for the really delicious ones,” says Gould. “Don’t waste your time with the corner-store personal pumpkin pie … unless that’s your favorite.”

10. If you fail to adhere to commandments one through nine, cut yourself a break.
“Don’t make yourself crazy,” Bayer says. If you really want to eat the cheesecake, just eat the cheesecake.

Published as “10 Commandments for a Healthy Holiday Season” in the November 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.