4 ways to stick to your workout routine during the holidays

It happens every year, whether you’re ready for it or not. It’s the turbo-charge of the holidays, when the days fly by faster than you can eat a plate of turkey and mashed potatoes. Those last six weeks of the year are always a blur, with lots of holiday obligations on top of our regular lives. Keeping up with your fitness routine during those weeks can be a huge challenge, especially when time is precious and to-do lists are long.

So, how can you make sure that you’re still finding time to take care of yourself–from exercise to nutrition–while still getting everything you need to do done? It may take a little more planning and flexibility than during the rest of the year, but if it’s definitely possible! If you’re feeling stressed about how you can keep your workouts going during the holidays and not go overboard around all the delicious desserts at your fingertips, use these tips to keep it all in check.

Tip 1: Think ahead

If you find yourself hitting the road for the any part of the holiday season, you’ll want to plan ahead to make sure you can stay on top of your fitness routine while traveling. Being away from home doesn’t have to mean you skip workouts. There are still plenty of ways to get a workout in. In fact, you might need it for stress release or welcome the alone time.

Before you leave home, think about the type of workout you want to do while you’re away. If you’re most comfortable working out in a gym setting and you’re planning a hotel stay, make sure the hotel you choose has a fitness center. If you’re staying with family, friends, or at a vacation rental, take time to do a little research on local gyms that have day passes you can take advantage of.

If your holiday workout routine doesn’t require you to be in a fitness center setting, look up whether there are outdoor trails or parks nearby that you can use. Planning cardio workouts and strength training with body weight will give you the workout you’re after and if it’s different from what you typically do at home, you might find that you really enjoy switching things up.

There also plenty of pieces of fitness equipment you can easily pack to bring with you and still have plenty of room for your elastic-waist turkey eating pants or that ugly sweater your aunt bought you four years ago and still expects you to wear. Consider throwing a jump rope, resistance bands, mini bands, or even TRX bands into your bag. You can get a great holiday workout routine in with all of those travel friendly pieces of workout equipment.

Tip 2: Do what you can

No matter how much you try to plan ahead, sometimes the plan just doesn’t happen. So many unexpected things can come up, especially during holiday time. Instead of saying no to everything and feeling like you’ve missed out, say yes without regret and do what you can. Something is better than nothing.

If you don’t have time for an hour workout, fifteen minutes is just fine. Even a shorter workout can help reduce stress which can be especially helpful during the holiday season. Any movement is beneficial so try to move as much as you can even if it’s not your full workout.

Tip 3: Be strategic

Staring down a buffet line of delicious food can definitely get your head spinning, but there are plenty of strategies you can employ to keep things in check.

  • Bring a healthy dish with you. If you’re not sure whether there will be some healthier options available, bring one with you. You’ll be able to add it to the mix of what’s on your plate and focus less on the other more indulgent options.
  • Don’t skip meals before the feast. It may seem like a good idea to skip a meal or two before the holiday extravaganza, but what you’ll actuallyl do it make yourself hungrier than you would normally be, making it easier to go overboard.
  • Pace yourself. Eating slowly and being mindful while eating are important as you’ll enjoy your food more and give your stomach and your brain time to communicate so you won’t end up feeling overstuffed.
  • Start small before going big. Remember, you can always go back for seconds, so start with a first serving on the smaller side. You might find that it’s plenty. Going in for a large first serving can put the pressure on, especially if you’ve always been a member of the clean plate club.

Tip 4: Go easy on yourself

Maybe the biggest thing to remember during the holiday season is that it’s a time to be kind to yourself and give yourself a break if things don’t go exactly as planned. If you went back to the cheese board more times that you meant to or swiped a cookie or brownie every single time you walked by the dessert tray, it’s okay!

According to registered dietitian Isabel K. Smith, one day (or two) of indulging yourself more than you normally would won’t make you gain weight. Miss a workout or two, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’ll still be able to crush your next HIIT workout.

When a holiday workout routine doesn’t work out

The bottom line is that the holidays are supposed to be a time to connect with your family and friends, share some joy and laughter, and close out one year to make way for a new one. Instead of spending time obsessing over working out and eating all the healthiest foods, enjoy the warmth and fun of the season. If you’re able to add a holiday workout routine into the mix, you’re doing great. And if not, refocus in the new year and get back to it with new energy.

Looking for a Personal Trainer in the new year?

Whether you’re looking for a last minute holiday gift or you want to start the new year with a new workout plan, Inspire Fitness Studio is here for you. Give yourself or someone else the gift of one-on-one personal training or small group training. Kick of the new year by working with a certified personal trainer near you. Contact Inspire Fitness Studio today to learn more about our one-on-one and small group personal training programs in Arlington MA!

Joe Rindone, NCPT is a certified personal trainer and the Founder of Inspire Fitness Studio in Arlington, MA. Joe’s passion for fitness has motivated him to become one Greater Boston’s best personal trainers. An athlete throughout high school and college, Joe has always enjoyed being active. Currently he enjoys road races, working with his boxing coach, kettlebell training and getting out for a round of golf in his spare time. Joe holds many fitness and nutrition certifications including a Titleist Performance Institute Level 2 certification and he is CrossFit L1 Certified.