With various parties to attend, travels and family getaways planned, plus last-minute shopping to get done, working out and hitting the gym during the holidays might be something far from your holiday list.
Although working out might seem tough to keep up with during this holiday season, staying active and keeping up with your workout routine could give you the peace of mind to contend with the business this time of year. Working out helps to keep you both physically and mentally fit and provides feel-good endorphins that help reduce stress and improve mental agility.
Best intentions won’t get you in the gym, so we’ve outlined a few things you can do to stay consistent and sane.
10 quick tips to staying motivated to work out during the holidays:
1. Plan ahead – Holidays are the busiest time of the year. However, as busy as you might be, plan your ‘me-time’ a.k.a “workout time” prior to getting into the holiday rush. Choose 2 to 3 days a week that you can commit to as a “for sure I’m going to the gym today”. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday may be easiest for you to commit to because those days are less likely to have family or holiday party commitments planned. Mark off your calendar for the date and time and then make the commitment to yourself to stick with it.
2. Get up and get busy early – Because family and work obligations ramp up during the holidays, getting up early and hitting the gym a little earlier than usual is a great way to stick to your workout plan. Rising an hour earlier to work out early in the day is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit, because it kicks your day off right by pumping good endorphins and a feeling of accomplishment into your system, which will help to keep you in a good mood through the stress that comes with the holiday buzz.
3. Mindset – Keep a good mental attitude about working out through the season. If you develop an attitude of looking forward to the gym, versus dreading it - then you’ll be excited when the time comes for you to get your pump on with a few weights, instead of wishing it wasn’t on your calendar. Mindset is everything. When you feel yourself thinking negatively about your workout, simply have a conversation with yourself and say - this is something that is going to make me feel better and I’m excited to stay consistent. I can’t wait to get my workout in!
4. Exercise on the Go – We all know the holidays can be overwhelming with all the extra activities to fit into the schedule that other routines may suffer - everyone is running around in a hurry, stressed out and not in a good mood. However, you could be walking around with a smile on your face, if you learn to work out on the go. Carrying resistance bands with you allows you to workout no matter where you are. They are perfect for a workout while traveling during the holidays. They are small and will fit into any bag; yet strong enough to provide the resistance needed to fit in a good workout on the go or in a small space. Your family will thank you when you are in a good mood while everyone else is feeling the pressure of the season.
5. Be mindful of over-eating – Sweets, baked goods, and loads of food make this season a time of cheer and one of over-eating. You don’t have to take it in all at once. To avoid feeling overstuffed like the turkey, moderate the portions you take in at each setting. Less can sometimes be more, by making small plates of food and eating a few of them rather than indulging with large portions you could avoid the feeling of UGH, I can’t move and instead stay nimble and clear for conversations. The more junk food you eat, the more guilty you’ll feel and the less motivated one becomes to get a workout in, however, if you feel full but not stuffed you’ll still feel like working out.
6. Find an accountability partner or group – Perhaps you’re not the only one who wants to stay motivated during the holidays. Find and join a group - in person or online - to connect with and share your plan with others. You can also reach out to an accountability partner - check in by texts and share the small victories with each other. The idea is, to have someone that will help you stay motivated to work out; when you feel connected and not alone, chances are you’ll stick to that promise to yourself better than if you’re left to go on your own.
7. Try a short HIIT work out – Whether you’re traveling during the holidays, stuck in a hotel, or camped in your grandmother’s basement; you can still stick to your fitness goals by doing a short HIIT workout that doesn’t require equipment. You can grab a minute warm up, 30 seconds burpee, 60 seconds plank, 30 seconds knee high, 60 seconds lunges, 30 seconds mountain climber, 30 seconds push-ups, 30 seconds squat jumps, 60 seconds wall sit, 30 seconds speed skater, 60 seconds triceps dips, repeat three times, and boom you’ve accomplished a workout with no gym needed. The increased blood flow from this short workout will leave you with a smile on your face and ready for turkey dinner.
8. Modify and have fun – The holidays can be stressful enough; don’t add more to it by feeling guilty. Don’t sweat the small stuff by not following your whole regimen, give yourself a break. You can easily modify your workout plan rather than having no work out at all and have fun while you’re at it. Keep a great attitude about working out, do exercises that you enjoy and don’t feel guilty if you didn’t get leg day in - modify and show gratitude for the time and exercises you are able to fit into your schedule.
9. Track your progress – Purchase a fitness band where you can monitor your activity and health. A fitness band is a great way to see how many steps you’ve taken; how active you’ve been in a given day - you’d be surprised how many steps you could be taking while shopping. ;) Tracking your progress will make you feel good about the exercise you are fitting in instead of feeling guilty about what you haven’t done. Tracking your progress will help you stay motivated to keep going versus giving up.
10. Fight excuses – Holidays may be full of plans, however, your workout program is a plan, too. Although, there is a lot to do this time of year, friends and family to see, and lots of festive foods to eat, fight the excuses to give in to the “I don’t want to go” mindset that often creeps in when gym time comes around. Even if you only dedicate 30-minutes instead of a full hour, it’s worth it to keep your regimen moving forward so the first of the year doesn’t seem so daunting to start all over again.