Grace and Tamika share 5 tips to stay active in Birmingham during the holidays

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Grace Smitherman and Tamika Harris aren’t afraid to lift some weights. Photo via Taylor Babington for Bham Now

When I think about the holidays, the words “healthy” and “fit” don’t exactly come to mind. Birmingham is a social city and a foodie town. Staying on track with your health might require a little extra nudge this time of year. For inspiration, I reached out to two associates at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama—below are some insider tips they recommend.

1) Find an Exercise You Enjoy

Time to get moving! Photo via Taylor Babington for Bham Now 

Grace Smitherman and Tamika Harris of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama are both into fitness. In addition to making exercise a priority personally, they also teach fitness classes at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and local studios.

Each of their journeys with exercise started with finding workouts they were passionate about. Grace found Pure Barre, and Tamika found a love of group fitness, strength training and weight lifting.

Grace is a big fan of Pure Barre, which is just one of the MANY workout options we have here in Birmingham. Photo via Pure Barre Homewood on Facebook

“I decided to take [fitness] seriously because I was overweight,” said Tamika. “I was 235 pounds and wanted to lose weight the healthy way—no surgeries or fad diets.” 

And she did. Tamika lost 100 pounds! That’s certainly something to be proud of. 

Luckily for us, Birmingham has many unique fitness options, from boxing to Barre to yoga and beyond. There’s something for everyone.

2) Take Baby Steps

Why not take the family for a walk at Moss Rock over the holidays? Photo via Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Tamika said that getting fit starts with taking baby steps. While you don’t have to set big fitness goals during the holidays, you can still work toward being healthy.

“Being healthy around the holidays is a little harder. Try to incorporate something healthy—workout-wise or food-wise—into your day.”

Grace agreed. “Everything in moderation,” she said. “Don’t cheat yourself during the holidays, but plan accordingly.” She and her family like to get out to Moss Rock Preserve or walk in the neighborhood. Birmingham has walking options galore!

3) Find A Workout Buddy

Find a friend to help you stay active. Photo via Taylor Babington for Bham Now

Staying on track with fitness helps if you have someone holding you accountable. Grace and Tamika mentioned Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s wellness incentives as motivators for staying active. 

The company hosts different health initiatives throughout the year, including a “Time to Move” walking challenge and a nutrition program. They also have a fitness center onsite. Associates can claim rewards for participating in these programs. 

“It forces you to get healthy. You can’t leave those rewards sitting on the table!”

Grace Smitherman, management and professional development facilitator, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Even if your company doesn’t have resources like this, you can still find a friend or family member to give you support. And you can always treat yourself for getting active! A little extra motivation never hurts.

4) It’s Self-Care—Not Self-Punishment

Grace hits the treadmill at the office on her lunch break. Photo via Taylor Babington for Bham Now

Grace said exercise should be something you do to take care of yourself—not something you do as a way to punish yourself for eating the “wrong” thing.

“To me, exercise is a great way to relieve stress and take care of my body, not punish it. It’s a struggle as a full-time working mom, but it’s so worth it.”

5) Don’t Beat Yourself Up

We all have days when we get off track. No one needs to feel guilty about indulging in a holiday dessert. Criticizing ourselves about these things won’t help us get any healthier in the long run.

“Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. That one day is not going to sabotage your plans.”

Tamika Harris, scan ops indexing specialist, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Thanks for sharing these tips, Grace and Tamika!

Thanks, y’all! Photo via Taylor Babington for Bham Now

How do you stay active during the holidays? What did we miss? Let us know @BhamNow.

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