Turkey with homemade cornbread stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, red wine and, who can forget the requisite pecan pie! What’s a Fitness/Wellness guru to do?? I know, I know – ‘ follow you’re A, B, C’s’ well, I do most of the time, but not on my Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday of the year!!]. It’s taken me years to comfortably embrace that life is about balance. One day of indulgence will not derail my commitment & focus practiced throughout the year! The key is balance and mindfulness. So, with ten days to go ‘til Turkey Day, and the official start of the holiday party season, I thought I’d share some tips, tricks & recipes I’ve used to guiltlessly navigate this time of the year. • The best offense is a good defense! Whether it’s 30 minutes of extra cardio, one of my Express Workouts®, or a run/bike ride in Central Park, I try to bump up the intensity and consistency of my workouts every day. There’s nothing like the thought of an impending intense workout to help keep you from totally losing it at a holiday party. Put another way, tonight’s indulgence, will be tomorrow’s sweat & purge!! • I’ve got many years of holiday parties under my belt and I’ve learned that Tequila is the way to go when enjoying a cocktail or two. Here less is more, with less sugar and carbohydrates than vodka, and champagne, sipping a clean glass of tequila on the rocks with a wedge of lemon, ensures hours of fun, without excessive sugar, calories and the ‘morning after’ debilitating hangover. Holiday dinners – Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., I love enjoying my favorite Italian reds – Chianti, Brunello or Amarone. The following tips are ones that I’ve tested and can vouch for their effectiveness: 1. So, we know that hydration is key to help avoid hangovers, so make sure to alternate at least 1 -2 glasses of water for every glass of wine 2. Hit the dance floor! If you are dancing, you take a break from drinking and get your metabolism up. 3. I’ve also learned that after a night of a couple of cocktails, a glass of coconut water at bedtime ensures a more restful night of sleep. Drinking alcohol causes oxidative stress on your body and consumes antioxidants. Coconut water helps reduce that stress fortifying your body with 294 mg of potassium per glass, arginine to help improve blood circulation, and an adequate supply of electrolytes and antioxidants. • Travelling – travelling for the holidays can take us out of our regular exercise routine. I’ve learned and counseled clients, family and friends that a little bit of movement first thing in the morning goes a long way to keeping you on track. Here, one of my five – minute express circuits [Ultimate Family Wellness © David Kirsch 2015], is a No Excuses way to get your fitness in anytime, anywhere. One of my favorite circuits: 1. Plié Toe Squats 2. Reverse Crossover Lunges 3. Spiderman Pushups 4. Wheel barrel planks 5. Side plank oblique crunches • Working out with your family – those that are familiar with my training philosophy know that I am all about NO EXCUSES training. Neither work, nor family get in the way of getting a good workout in. (insert Instagram video of Francesca exercising) Whether it’s the holiday football or kickball game, doubles tennis, or the bicycle ride up Hudson River Park. Wherever you live, find time do get some movement in during your Thanksgiving celebration. I may try a dance off while appetizers are being served; or a pre-dessert plank challenge, or a wild game of charades. Get creative, be inclusive, getting as many of your guests out of their chairs, with their hands in the air, getting their bodies moving and grooving. Then, reward them with some delicious pumpkin pie!