Ahh the holidays! Full of giving and cheer. Abundant with gratitude. Alive with friends and family. Along with all the joy and wonder of the season comes some inevitable chaos. A good strategy is and important step to minimize your stress level and amplify joy.

First things first – do no procrastinate. Get the harder work done first! Not having enough time to prepare, shop, cook, bake, clean, and take care of yourself is a recipe for a stress. Allot the time you will spend on important and imperative tasks and get them done ahead of time.

This time of year is busy, but it’s is no excuse to neglect your health. Movement is a big part of maintaining your sanity during the holidays. An early morning exercise routine is a great way to begin the day, while giving yourself the gift of better health. On those days you just can’t fit in a workout, a post meal walk, hike or an afternoon bike ride are time well spent with family and friends.

Shopping for gifts can be like a black hole where 4 hours suddenly disappear. If you cant find what you really need in 60-90 minutes, you might be procrastinating. Set a timer to limit overspending time and money. Plan your holiday shopping list and stick to it. Avoid frivolous and unnecessary spending as it will add to your underlying stress level. Often times we end up buying things for ourselves when we don’t need them. Before you spend, ask yourself if you really need that thingamajig, or are you just buying it because its on sale? Shopping and a good part of most errands can be facilitated online to save time, stress and money.

Lets be honest here. A large portion of the holidays is about enjoying good food, so choose wisely. You don’t have to have a full plate to have a fulfilling evening. Hold the butter on vegetable dishes, and choose a salad dressing that is light to counter the heaviness of gravy and stuffing. Choose either stuffing or a piece of bread, especially if you plan on having a slice of that pecan pie.

Know when to say when. Stop eating when you are 80% full. It takes your brain 20 minutes to catch up with your belly. Stopping at 80% will prevent that over stuffed feeling.

Even when you have planned well and are prepared, things can go wrong. Take a breath before you exacerbate a situation with an emotional comment. Words are powerful, so give your mind some time to respond before you say something you wish you hadn’t. Spread peace rather than stress and you will never regret it!

For those of us who have lost loved ones, honor them with a memorial photo or a sharing of memories. The sudden loss of my mother in 2011 made real the true value of the holidays. Basque in the company of family and friends. Tell them you love them, give hugs freely. That is what the holidays are really about.

Finally, let some things go. Not everything has to get done for you to enjoy the holidays. So you didn’t get your holiday cards out in time. You can always send Happy New Year card. If your family gathering isn’t perfect, welcome to the club! Enjoy the moment for all the gifts it offers, whether you like them or not. Try to gently lower your expectations during holiday gatherings. Some of the most magnificent family memories are lost in a need to fulfill some unattainable goal. Let go. Laugh, enjoy these moments because they will not last forever. Wishing you all a healthy, happy holiday and a most joyous New Year! Love, Coach Michelle


         A sunrise run in South Lake Tahoe. No better way to start the day! 


Gumsaba Fitness Class schedule Monday 11/24/14
5:30AM Womens only Sunrise class – Coach Jentry – Chipper Plus
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Mens only class – Coach Karen – Chipper Plus
6AM Sunup Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – Chipper Plus
8:15AM Sunrise Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – Chipper Plus
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens only class – Coach Jentry – Chipper Plus
11:00 AM Cytosport Boot camp Lite Benicia – Coach Briana (private class) HIIT MONDAY
12:00PM Cytosport Boot camp Benicia – Coach Briana (private class) HIIT MONDAY
4PM Cytosport Vinyasa Flow Yoga – Coach Michelle D. (private class)

Gumsaba Outdoor Fitness Class schedule Tuesday 11/25/14:

5:30AM Sunrise Danville Combined Class at Los Cerros – Coach Karen – Interval Training Plus

6AM Sunup Lafayette Co-Ed class – Coach Jentry – Interval Training Plus

9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens class – Coach Jentry – Interval Training Plus

11:00AM Cytosport Strength Training & Power – Coach Briana (private class) Chipper Plus

12:00PM Cytosport Power Yoga – Coach Jentry (private class)