The time between Halloween to New Years can be a non-stop stretch of parties filled with traveling, family time, drinking, sweets, third (or even fourth) helpings and no exercise. Maintaining fitness during the holiday season can be difficult, but with these five tips it doesn’t have to be.
1. Indulge on select days, not the entire season.
Limiting overeating and drinking before the actual holiday can be tricky. Especially with the extra holiday parties and special dinners that tend to pop-up. Make an extra effort to try to keep the over-indulging to the individual holidays rather than every day throughout the season.
Overeating or drinking a little too much on a few days will not ruin your health. However, if you treat the entire season as a time to treat yourself, you could end up developing less than ideal eating habits that’ll stretch well past the New Year.
2. Keep what you eat in mind.
When attending large dinners/parties, eat sensibly and mindfully. Eat slowly and stop when you get full (no need to be greedy!). Think ahead and bring healthy dishes of your own to share at dinners. If you do decide to overindulge, try to fill up on foods like healthy proteins and veggies rather than bread and sugary treats. Portion out small servings of dessert for yourself or spread the holiday cheer and share them with friends.
As always, ensure that you drink plenty of water, especially during the larger meals. Water will keep you feeling full in addition to providing hydration. Also, remember that liquor and wines contain extra calories that won’t fill you up, so definitely try to drink in moderation.
3. Be innovative. Have a plan.
You aren’t always going to be able to workout consistently over the holiday (especially if you’ll be traveling), and unfortunately the reduced sunlight/dropping temperature can discourage you even more from going outdoors. If you’re trying to stay fit, it’s incredibly important to plan out holiday fitness goals to sneak exercise into your holiday plans.
There are a plethora of exercises that require little to no equipment for working out on the spot: Take a jog around the neighborhood when you have some time before or after work, do some push-ups or sit-ups before dinner, or go out and play a quick game of basketball after work.
Some people will set a fitness goal such as signing up for a marathon/race, running a half of a mile everyday, working out four times a week or doing a 20/40/60 pushups each day to keep them motivated. Every moment you stay active and out of the kitchen you’re burning calories and avoiding the temptation of holiday snacks.
4. Use the season to take advantage of new exercise opportunities.
Use the weather in your area to your advantage. Cold weather creates a unique opportunity to burn some extra calories and be productive outside in ways that the Texas heat wont allow. For example, raking leaves and doing yard work is a simple way to get some work done while also raising your heart rate and working out major muscle groups. If attending a party, dance till you drop! If you’re taking the time to visit a new place, do your exploration on foot to get a few extra steps in. Holiday shopping can be a great opportunity to power walk around the mall.
5. Find a workout program and stay consistent
Working out is easier when you find a program that supports your scheudle and keeps you accountable. Working out multiple times a week may be difficult during the holidays so don’t beat yourself up (no pun intended) if you need to scale back. We always hear students say that they feel like they’ve lost everything they learned by being absent from class for for a week or two. This is NONSENSE! Studies show that it takes much more than a few weeks to lose cardiovascular strength and muscle memory.
Plus, we offer over over 15 weekly classes that a beginner student can attend! Don’t let your busy scheudle hold you back from jumpstarting your fitness goals.
It’s crucial to be both realistic and self-compassionate during the holidays. More likely than not, you’ll be exercising less and ingesting more than you typically would the rest of the year, but it’s no reason to give up holiday fitness altogether. Anytime little bit of time you can make to exercise or by making small choices to conscious when eating will keep you on track with your goals. Rather than giving up, challenge yourself to do what you can – small steps turn into big strides!
You might surprise yourself with how well you maintain your fitness during this hectic and fun time of year just by having a flexible and determined mindset. Once the holidays end, you can always go back to a more regular routine that works with your daily schedule to keep you fit all year long.