For most people, the holidays are indeed the most magical time of the year. What could be better than family, friends, delicious food, gifts and time off work? There’s a reason it’s called “the Silly Season”, after all! For others, while they may look forward to all of that, the stress of fitting everything in and still getting to the workouts they need to stay fit can be headache-inducing.
So what’s the answer? For some people it’s the latest trend of “Fitcations” so that you actively increase your fitness while on holiday. This is great if it works for you, but if you plan to be home for the holidays there is still a lot you can do.
Start with a Plan
You’re going to be busier now than you are at other times of the year, you probably won’t get as much sleep, and there will be a lot more tempting treats around you than usual. A recipe for disaster, you might cry out! And you’d be right; it certainly can be.
But there is a lot of wisdom in the old adage that “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Take a good hard look at your workout schedule now, what you think time will be like during the festive season, and what your potential pitfalls are. Be honest with yourself and then start looking at how you can incorporate fitness into your holiday period.
Get Enough Sleep, But Schedule Training for the Morning
Making regular workouts part of your morning routine is a tip that practically every health coach gives. You get it out of the way before the day gets hectic and you are tempted to let it slide, and if you know you have something planned for the morning you’re less likely to overindulge the night before. Plus, sleep helps you handle everything this time of year can throw at you better, so you’re less likely to comfort eat.
Incorporate Exercise Into Everything
Organise a sledding or skating party rather than a cocktail soiree, or walk the neighbourhood with your kids looking at the lights or singing Christmas carols. Almost anything you get caught up in can also be used as a way to burn extra calories; park further from the store when you head to buy the last of your supplies, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk around the airport if your flight is delayed. Bonus points if you increase your load by trundling your luggage along with you!
Go for Shorter Workouts of Higher Intensity
Long sessions in the gym may just not be feasible at this time of year. Shorter, High Intensity Interval Training will help you get more bang for your buck. You should also try to exercise as many groups of muscles at a time as you can, with something like lunges that incorporate a bicep curl.
Try to Watch Your Treats
Enjoy all the delicious food around you, but do it in moderation. Don’t eat all the high-calorie snacks at a party; stick to a few nibbles of your favourites. Champagne and white wine spritzers are great for keeping alcoholic kilojoules down, and something as simple as choosing a smaller plate can help you to consume a lot less. Hydration, as always, is vitally important.
Remember That it’s Not All or Nothing
Even if you don’t get the exercise in that you usually do, having some kind of workout in place will make things easier for you when you start up your routine again in the new year. Added to this, it’s a great way to keep holiday stress and weight gain at bay.
So prioritise your health and fitness regime, but remember to stay flexible too. Don’t lose sight of the real point of this time of year – being with your loved ones, and recharging for what is to come. If you have one bad day, forgive yourself and start again. What you don’t want to do is find yourself sliding into bad weeks and giving everything up entirely.