It’s no coincidence fitness studios and gyms are packed after New Year’s. The holidays are typically a time during which we fall short on fitness and slack off from our typical routines leading to muscle loss, weight gain, and a strong desire to get back on track once January rolls around. And with family obligations, traveling, and delicious meals, it’s no surprise that motivation to work out tends to wane.
The good news: You aren’t destined to lose progress or gain the holiday pounds. In fact, with the right program in place and proper planning, you can maintain your fitness levels while still enjoying time with the family. Follow these steps to stay on track throughout the holiday season, and avoid backtracking with your health and fitness.
1. Plan your workouts
You should always plan out your workouts at least a week in advance. This is even more important during the holiday season when get togethers, vacations, and family trips are especially frequent. Schedule out workouts surrounding travel plans or other events. If you know you’ll be out of the studio for a few days, plan on using those days as a recovery and amp up your workouts surrounding the trip. Rather than leaving your schedule up to chance, be proactive and set aside dedicated time to hit the studio.
2. Get up and go early
While work commitments die down over the holidays, friends & family commitments ramp up. Change up your schedule to hit the studio earlier to get a workout in before anyone gets out of bed. This way you get your workout in and have plenty of time for getting all the busy holiday stuff done during the day.
3. Recruit a workout partner
While it’s hard to motivate yourself to get going some mornings, it’s easier if you aren’t doing it alone. Find a workout partner during the holiday season to stay motivated. Make a pact to hold each other accountable. You’ll be less likely to skip with the guilt of leaving your friend hanging.
4. Move every day
Even if you can’t go to the studio some days, you can still get in a workout. The important thing is to stay active. Take a jog or brisk walk and do some bodyweight exercises at home. Bodyweight workouts can be done anywhere using little to no equipment, and usually take 20 minutes or less. For example, set a timer for 20 minutes and see how many times you can go through the following circuit: >10 Burpees > 20 Mountain Climbers > 30 Jumping Jacks > 40 reps jumping rope > 30 Jump Squats > 20 Pushups > 10 Reverse Lunges
5. Accumulate volume
Although you may not be able to get into the studio or a gym while traveling, you can use small, shorter workouts throughout the day to get a workout in. For instance, every hour starting at 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., perform 20 pushups and 20 bodyweight squats in as few sets as possible. By the end of the day, you’ll have done 260 reps of each.
6. Keep evaluating yourself
You should continually evaluate your progress to determine if your program is taking you closer or further away from your goals. During the holiday season, this is especially crucial. You’ll be more likely to stick to your routine if you see and feel results. Take time to check in with how you look and feel. It can be easy to miss small steps in progress amidst the busyness of everyday life during the holidays.
7. Get more people involved
The holiday season should be time shared with your loved ones. Involve everyone by playing games outside that involve activity or by signing everyone up for a local 5K. This way, you’ll still be able to bond and connect while staying active. A daily walk can be another great way to get everyone moving while still sharing moments together
8. Indulge, and resist
With all of the tasty treats on the holiday table, it’s hard not to give in and eat a week’s worth of calories in one sitting. There’s no sense in depriving yourself from enjoying your favorite foods. Pick the ones you want to indulge in, but limit yourself to one serving. Once you’re done, put the rest in a container and slide it in the fridge. You’ll be less likely to dig in for seconds when the food is already put away.