Ahhh, the holidays. Nothing quite like this time of year. The minute the clock strikes midnight on the 1st of December my inner Mrs. Clause starts rocking out to classic christmas songs, drinking gallons of eggnog and guiltily watching cheesy christmas movies while munching on after eight chocolate next to the carefully decorated and aromatic Noble Fir tree.
With that said, the holidays are also the time of year where we tend to consume a lot more (that is one of the complaints grinchy nit pickers like to say, right? That they don't like the consumerism aspect of Christmas?) Well, yes, it is a consumerism holiday, but present buying aside, it's also a consumeristic holiday for food (and rum & eggnogs and baileys & hot chocs, of course). So, how do we maintain our healthy lifestyle with the bombardment of grandmas famous cookies and copious amounts of cheese lying around the house? Listed below are my top 5 holiday hacks to stay on track with your fitness journey this holiday season, even with endless dinner parties and busy schedules filled with neighbourhood christmas carolling (that is what you will be doing all month long, I'm assuming).
1. EXERCISE FIRST
With many events and dinners occurring in the evening, plan to workout first thing in the morning before you get distracted with your day's activities. In doing this, you decrease your chances of skipping your workout due to getting caught up Christmas shopping, jamming out to Christmas tunes, DIY wreath making, and or normal day to day stuff like, y'know...work. Additionally, if you know you have a big dinner party or event that night, prioritize to work out on those days specifically to counteract the garlic bread and chambord you know you'll be having later.
2. INDULGE AND TREAT YOURSELF TO A NIGHT, NOT A SEASON
The holidays do not mean you have to overindulge every single night. I believe that treating yourself once in a while is beneficial (and keeps you mentally happier), but treating yourself EVERY night is a different story. If there are plenty of tempting treats as leftovers after a party you hosted, instead of mindlessly eating them all until they are gone, I suggest packaging them up and donating them to a friend, a homeless shelter, or freeze them for a later time. A rule I live by year round: if I treated myself yesterday, then today I will not. So, enjoy the holiday. Don't worry if all you ate on one day is charcuterie and gingerbread cookies, the reality is that one day won't make or break your health plan. With that said, don't let it go from a day of indulgence to a month of indulgence that leads to detrimental health habits continuing past the new year.
3. BE SPONTANEOUS
If your day is slammed packed full of activities and errands, be quick on your feet and think of how you can sneak in a workout. Even if this just means walking instead of driving somewhere, taking the stairs instead of the elevator in the mall while Christmas shopping, or bundling up and going for a family walk after a big dinner, every movement counts. Another option is to take 10 minutes and do an at-home workout consisting of body weight exercises, such as pushups, couch tricep dips, body weight squats (or go get that 4L carton of eggnog in the fridge!), jumping jacks, and crunches. There is no excuse to not workout even on your busiest days. Make it happen.
4. WRITE DOWN YOUR FITNESS SCHEDULE
Write down your fitness regimen in a calendar to ensure you don't forget or skip a workout. Track how many workouts you are having weekly and plan accordingly; coordinate your workout schedule around your holiday events. Aim to maintain your existing routine, with a minimum of 3 workouts a week for 30 minutes.
5. PLAN FOR TRAVEL
If you will be traveling over the holidays, you should invest in a travel workout plan to keep you on track. Being in a different city, state, country or continent should not impede you from getting your workouts in. Look up nearby gyms, pack a skipping rope or resistance band in your luggage, or download a travel fitness routine. Check out my travel plan exercise package on my Trainerize profile. This will take the hassle out of figuring out a good routine while you're away. The most convenient part? Its affordable and no gym equipment or battling the elements outside are required (best to avoid flying snowballs). Do all the exercises right in your hotel room or your old bedroom in your parents basement ;)
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!