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Sweaty Betty’s Christmas 2015 Survival Guide

posted on Wednesday, 25th November 2015 | find under Fitness, Travel

As founder and head trainer of the luxurious Santa Monica fitness studio Pilates Platinum in Los Angeles, Heather Dorak knows a thing or two about staying healthy and calm when your calendar gets crazy. Here she shares her top tips for steering clear of stress over the holidays…

Clear your head with fresh mountain air

Before the hustle and bustle of Christmas begins, I schedule in a trip to the mountains. Planning ahead means I don’t have to think about travel, tickets, hotel reservations or activities in the run-up to my break. This way, the holiday remains a holiday and there are no immediate stresses either side of going away. The mountains bring me a great deal of calm and clarity, but the same rule applies to any restorative getaway. If a lakeside spa retreat is your idea of festive zen, secure the reservation well in advance so you can look forward to those few days of quiet and stillness amidst the most fast-paced time of year.

Tune in to your breath

If there are moments where everything feels suddenly overwhelming, take your thoughts back to your breath. In times of anxiety, our breathing patterns can change significantly. You’ll recognise anxious breaths by a longer inhale and shorter exhale. You can take control of those feelings by levelling out your breath and making sure your exhale matches your inhale, bringing balance to both mind and body.

Sweaty Betty Heather Dorak Platinum Pilates

Heather commits to scheduled workouts


Boost your endorphins in 10 minutes

Even if you have to reduce your workout time to keep up your fitness during the holidays, forward planning can ensure you get the most from every session. My 10 minute holiday workout is designed for the maximum release of endorphins – those feel-good hormones will reinforce positive thinking so the Christmas tree remains a symbol of joy and not a constant reminder of your holiday shopping list.

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds. Follow with a 10 second rest then move straight to the next exercise.

Run in place
Forearm plank
Reverse crunches
Run in place
Jump squats
Jump lunges
Jumping jacks
Arm circles forward
Arms circle backward
Run in place

Dress for comfort

Christmas instantly makes me think of cosy layers. I live in workout leggings over the holidays; the right leggings (think Sweaty Betty’s super versatile high-shine 10K Running Tights or thermal tonal Intensify Merino Leggings) will work just as well for your Pilates class as they will for a night out with friends. I love to dress up a pair of leggings with an oversized sweater, tall boots and a long necklace.

Wake up well

You have the power to make every day a good day. One of the few things you can control in life is your attitude, so wake up and proactively think good thoughts of the day ahead. Then honour yourself and your attitude. Come back to those positive thoughts throughout the day, and spread your positivity to others with kind words, meaningful compliments and considerate actions. The holidays are a great season to spread your energy; make sure the energy you share is positive and you’re more likely to get positive energy back.

Heather Dorak Sweaty Betty

Heather makes time for mid-holiday me-time

All in all, remember that the holidays are about love and laughter. Sure, they come with stress and can seem overwhelmingly busy, but that’s only because you have lots of wonderful people in your life with whom you want to spend time. Remind yourself of that good fortune and appreciate this opportunity to make more beautiful memories.

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