Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature / People

Tips for staying in shape during holidays from one of America’s fittest men

Tim Hola has been teaching a 6 a.m. spin class every Friday at the University of Denver for five years. But that’s just for fun.

Hola also competes internationally in Iron Man competitions for Team Timex (his best race was in 2006 when he finished 43rd overall and fifth among Americans), and he was recently named one of the “Fittest (Real) Men in America” by Outside magazine.

Hola is “real” because he works full-time as a pharmaceutical sales representative, is married, and has twin 2-year-old boys.

Now, with the holidays approaching, Hola has a few tips on how to stay fit:

•    Set a routine.“The first thing is to get a routine down,” he says. He suggests writing down a weekly fitness plan and posting it on the fridge.

•    Get a workout partner. Setting up a schedule with somebody else means each holds the other accountable. Plus, it makes exercise more fun. Scheduling workouts in the morning makes it less tempting to skip it in the afternoon when other things come up.

•    Prepare. Lay out workout clothes the night before. Seeing them upon waking is a reminder to work out.

•    Manage party intake. “Food at parties is always tempting, and I’m definitely not excluded from that,” admits Hola. He suggests eating before parties so that fatty food isn’t as enticing. “Over several weeks of parties, this trick will significantly pull down the number of calories you eat.”

•    Eat apples. Hola says that apples are excellent for staving off hunger because they contain lots of water and fiber.

•    Shop smart. Keep unhealthy food out of the house as much as possible to avoid temptation.

•    Out of sight … Keep exercise equipment in plain view. For example, keep a fitness ball or hand weights in the family room where it’s more likely to be used while watching TV.

•    Set a goal. Sign up for a New Year’s Day 5K race and start training.

•    Develop superhuman willpower. Hola gives up desserts entirely for the month of December, which may be the reason he is a world-class Iron Man athlete and the other 99 percent of the population isn’t.

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