When you think of ways most people spend their holiday season, you generally picture activities that are all about taking it easy or “treating yourself.” You picture vegging out in front of the fireplace, curling up with a mug of cocoa in front of a holiday movie marathon, or helping yourself to an extra helping of grandma’s famous cookies.
You probably don’t think of lacing up your running shoes to hit the gym or go for a jog so that you stay fit, but you totally should. Making it a point to stay committed to your routine is the best way to stay energetic, healthy, and happy all season long. You’re less likely to have unwanted holiday weight to lose come the New Year, as well. The following tips can help you stay on track.
1. Opt for morning workouts whenever possible.
While the holiday season can, without a doubt, be one of the most enjoyable times of the year, it’s also one of the most hectic. Think shopping trips that run long, relatives from out of town, and work emergencies, thanks to that winter cold that’s been going around the office.
Avoid letting distractions derail your fitness plans by switching to morning workouts. The earlier the better! If you’re not already doing so, you may also want to stay organized with a to-do list to make sure nothing important falls by the wayside.
2. Think ahead when it comes to nutrition.
Sticking to your workout schedule isn’t enough when it comes to staying on top of your fitness routine. It’s just as important to make sure the unexpected doesn’t find you cruising through the drive-thru or overindulging on holiday treats instead of eating clean.
Choose a day of the week to prep some healthy meal options ahead of time. Anything that’s “grab and go” or “heat and eat” while also remaining healthy is a good pick. You may also want to keep a few light snacks constantly on hand in your purse or glove compartment for extra crazy days. They can serve as healthful pick-me-ups or even workout recovery nourishment in a pinch.
3. Be prepared to get creative if necessary.
When life gets hectic and demands the impossible from us, it’s important to be able to go with the flow. That said, give yourself full permission to get creative with your workouts this holiday season. If it gets you up and moving, it counts!
Try making holiday fitness a family affair by starting a new activity. Walk around the block or the neighborhood together as a family after breakfast on Christmas morning, before sitting down to open holiday gifts. Make a standing weekly date to go window shopping or enjoy a long, rambling walk through a neighborhood with the prettiest holiday lights. Think outside the box!
4. Plan, plan, and plan some more.
Planning your training schedule out at least a month in advance is a good habit to get into anyway, but it’s critical during the holidays. This is even more the case if travel or family trips are part of your household’s plans.
If you know in advance that you won’t be able to hit the gym over a certain period, come up with an alternative routine that works for your schedule. Invest in travel-friendly workout equipment like jump ropes and resistance bands that will make it possible to squeeze in a little fitness whenever you can. Be proactive instead of simply leaving your routine up to chance.
5. Find yourself a workout buddy.
There are definitely going to be mornings that are so cold or dreary, you’d really rather just sleep in than work out. That’s why it often helps to have a workout buddy. Workout buddies can help keep you accountable and motivated when the going gets rough. Plus, working out is just a lot more fun when you do it with a friend.
Choose a partner who’s as committed to fitness as you are and whose company you genuinely enjoy. It can be a spouse, a sibling, a neighbor, or even a local online friend who frequents the same fitness boards you do. Join forces and you’ll conquer your collective fitness routine together for the holiday season!