It’s Time to Prep for a Healthier Holiday Season with HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) for your holiday fix!

It’s Time to Prep for a Healthier Holiday Season with HIIT

The holidays are a tempting time! It’s easy to stray from your normal diet – no matter how healthy or unhealthy your diet typically is, it’s bound to go downhill during these extremely social days.

Thankfully, we have a few recommendations on how to deal with those dinner dates. Now is the perfect time to start prepping your diet for the Thanksgiving season. Whether you’re hosting dinner for the family or simply attending, you can put your own healthy twist on the Thanksgiving classics without feeling like you need to unbutton your pants after the big meal.


It’s tempting to want to stick with the sides you’ve grown up with, but there are plenty of healthy substitutes that can give you the same flavors you know and love. There’s no denying that we’re all big fans of mashed potatoes, yams, rolls, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to keep us from these, either.

Instead of candied yams, you can serve glazed sweet potatoes. Instead of mashed potatoes, serve mashed butternut casserole. Stuffing can easily be made at home instead of the sodium-packed stuff straight from the box. Why not serve a whole grain flaxseed roll instead of white dinner rolls? Rustic cranberry sauce can easily and tastily replace canned cranberry sauce. If you are given the task of bringing a dessert, maybe introduce your family to something sweet without all of the calories associated with pie and whipped cream. There are so many great vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipes out there that are a healthy alternative to pecan or pumpkin pie.

Not only do these substitutes taste good, but they are good for you too! Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins A (improves vision), B6 (reduces the risk of heart attack), C (boosts your immune system), and D (for strong, healthy bones).

Cranberries have been used for years to prevent UTIs, but those little red berries are packing even more power than that! Cranberries are a superfood with high nutrients and antioxidants. They pack in more antioxidants ounce-for-ounce than other superfoods like spinach, blueberries, or even green tea!

For your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds are your go-to! These fatty acids clear your skin, lower your cholesterol, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones, fight cancer and promote weight loss! These are just a few of the healthier substitutes to get you through “Turkey Day.”


Accomplishing your goals on your own can be difficult. Most people are much more likely to achieve their goals if they have a support system in place. Whether it’s a friend, co-worker, partner, or family member, you want someone close to you that can be there when you need that extra boost.

This advice goes for both when you’re in and out of the gym. Maintaining any diet is easiest when your friends and family are on your side. Thankfully, Thanksgiving is the perfect time for this because you’re surrounded by loved ones and old friends coming into town! Encourage your Thanksgiving crew to make it a healthy one by suggesting the healthy alternatives mentioned above.

In 2013, the American College of Cardiology conducted a randomized trial of Social Network Lifestyle Intervention for obesity in rural Kentucky. The study showed that, when surrounded by fellow participants, people lost 6.5 pounds more and trimmed an extra quarter-inch from their waists compared to participants losing weight on their own.

Sometimes during the holiday, it’s easy to slip into your old routine because you’re seeing old friends and family. Conversations can be more of the same and the room might have an air of familiarity. A new meal and a new healthier atmosphere might be just what your event needs for it to feel fresh with friends and family.


Running around the days before Thanksgiving going to the grocery store and prepping food provides you a little bit of cardio to balance out those on-the-go snacks. However, there is still a ton of downtime while cooking that can be better utilized. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts may be the newest trend, but we don’t see their popularity fading anytime soon. These workouts are popular because they can be done almost anywhere with hardly any equipment – which means you can get your heart-rate up in the comfort of your own living room or kitchen. That means you can throw the turkey in the oven and burn a few calories (just don’t also burn the turkey).

Some of our favorite HIIT moves are burpees, air squats, reverse lunges, jump rope, mountain climbers and tuck jumps. You can do a full set of these moves in as little as 30 seconds, have a short rest of 10-20 seconds and repeat a combination of these moves for a total of 5-20 minutes for a complete HIIT workout. We are so into this because it’s the perfect length to squeeze a few reps in before your dish is ready to come out of the oven.

There are many benefits of HIIT that go beyond the fact that you can get in a few workouts between stirring the potatoes and baking the rolls. HIIT is known for increasing metabolism, efficiency, being equipment-free, burning fat (which means losing weight instead of muscle) and the fact that it can be done ANYWHERE! The best part about them is that just because you don’t *need* equipment, you can easily add weight for increased intensity for a set or two. Throwing in a dumbbell or resistance band might be just what you need for the extra bit of burn.


It doesn’t take much to get your body on the track toward a new, healthier you! These initial steps can easily be combined with one of our fitness program options. Our group personal training program provides Nutrition Coaching and Meal Plans designed to deliver you real results. In the end, you’ll have a body you’ll be thankful this holiday season!

About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.