Between travel, family events, and heaping meals, the holidays are almost designed to throw you off your fitness game. However, just because you’ve been sneaking more than a few gingerbread cookies for dessert and you’ve got some travel coming up, it doesn’t mean you need to give up on your fitness goals. By planning your holiday schedule in advance, being realistic about your goals, and adding a little creativity to your routine, you can keep on keeping fit on holiday. Check out these 10 exercise tips during the holidays to keep you motivated during all the joy and craziness.
1.Make a Plan
It’s easy to fall out of your fitness routine when the holidays start throwing your schedule out of whack. If you’re used to going to the gym after work each day, what happens when you take two weeks off to celebrate the holidays? Or, what if you are planning to travel and don’t have a gym to go to?
Right now, before the holiday madness descends, make a plan for staying active during the holiday season. That may mean creating a holiday-only fitness schedule, searching for gyms near your family, or checking with your hotel to see if they have a gym available.
(More Reading: How to Create Your Weekly Gym Routine)
2.Embrace Short Workouts
Most people tend to get extra busy during the holidays. If you’re short on time, embrace quick workouts. You can get a truly excellent workout in 30 minutes. Just focus on increasing the intensity of your workout and cutting the time you rest between intervals. Need to cut your time even more? Consider trying out some high-intensity interval training (or HIIT) workouts.
A 15-minute or 10-minute HIIT workout can leave you a puddle of wet noodles on the gym floor if you do it right. Focus on performing short bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by brief periods of rest to recover.
Try this HIIT workout for 5 rounds, 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off:
- Air squats
- Knee push-ups
- Side shuffle
(More Reading: Fat-Burning HIIT Workouts at Home)
3.Take a Class
Struggling with motivation during the holidays? It happens to the best of us, especially when your calendar is extra full. Take the pressure off yourself to design your own workouts and try a group fitness class.
Group fitness classes are a great way to try a new type of exercise modality, push yourself, and build camaraderie with your gym buddies. Each class is taught by an experienced and motivating instructor who can offer modifications for all exercise levels.
Don’t think. Just sign up for a class, show up, and get to work! Your instructor may even put together fun holiday workouts for the class to try.
4.Try an Afternoon Workout
Are you taking time off during the holidays? It can be a challenge to stick to your exercise routine when your normal schedule is turned on its head. That’s why it’s important to make a new exercise routine during the holidays. Maybe it was easy to hit the gym in the morning before work, but you’d rather sleep in during your time off.
Not a problem. How about trying an afternoon workout? Enjoy a lazy morning, and spend the evenings with your family while hitting the gym or the trail in the afternoon. This is also the time when the sun will be out and the day will be the warmest. Little things like working out in the daylight and not having to put on a parka before heading outside can make it easier to get you started on your workout.
(More Reading: Choosing a Diet and Exercise Plan That Works for You)
5.Work Out at Home
Too busy to hit the gym during the holidays? Work out at home. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to maintain fitness over the holidays. Instead, clear out a little space, put down a yoga mat or towel, and design challenging bodyweight workouts for yourself. If you need a little extra motivation, check to see if your gym offers online resources such as live streamed workout classes or on-demand workout videos.
Here’s a sample bodyweight home workout:
- 3 rounds
- 10 chair dips
- 20 alternating lunges
- 30 sit-ups
- 40 seconds of mountain climbers
6.Invite Your Family and Friends to Work Out with You
Having trouble working out because your family is in town or your friends want to hang out? Why not invite them to work out with you? Check with your gym about their bring-a-friend policy or pay for a single-day membership. You can also ask your family members if they want to go for a walk around your neighborhood or to explore a nearby trail. Pull out the extra bikes and take a ride together if the weather holds out.
Consider starting a family tradition of touch football before Thanksgiving each year. (It beats sitting on the couch watching the pros play all day long.)
(More Reading: How to Get Fit as a Family)
Keeping fit on holiday doesn’t mean you have to stick to your gym routine. If your schedule is a little wonky, get creative, and grab fitness opportunities when you can. Here are a few ideas of how you can create your own “holiday workouts”:
- Take a few laps around the airport if you have time before or between flights
- Take the stairs whenever you can and skip the elevator
- Encourage your family members to take a walk with you around the most festive neighborhoods to see the lights
- Offer to shovel the snow off your neighbor’s driveway
- Walk your family’s dog while visiting
- Sign up for a holiday race, like your local Turkey Trot
8.Bring Resistance Bands
Are you traveling this holiday and don’t have access to all your favorite gym equipment? While you can still do plenty of bodyweight workouts in your hotel or at your family’s house, you can also get in some all-important resistance training. How? Pack a set of resistance bands.
Resistance bands are inexpensive and take up virtually no space in your luggage. (Not nearly as much as that collectible nutcracker you bought for your mother.) You can perform tons and tons of muscle-building exercises using resistance bands, no matter where you end up during the holidays.
(More Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Resistance Band Training)
9.Give Yourself Permission to Relax
Look, it’s the holidays. That means you’ll probably tuck into some huge meals with your friends and family and that you may need to skip the gym to go to your kid’s holiday choir concert. That’s okay. The holidays may not be the time to set new ambitious fitness goals or to try and stick with an especially strict regimen.
Focus on maintaining your current fitness level and give yourself permission to relax. Be flexible during the holidays. Make sure to let yourself enjoy everything that makes this time of the year so special. Have that extra glass of wine. Go for a second helping of turkey and stuffing. Appreciate the time you have to spend with the people who are closest to you. The gym will still be there when all the holiday decorations come down.
10.Get Back on the Bandwagon
All good things, including your favorite holidays, must come to an end. While it’s a good idea to stay flexible during the holidays, when the festivities are over, it’s time to refocus on your fitness. The end of the year is the perfect time to assess how you did on your goals and what you want to accomplish next year.
This is when you may want to tweak your fitness routine, create new goals, and start building new habits that will help you start the new year off right.
(More Reading: How to Set Fitness Goals That Are Smart & Achievable)
You Can Stay Fit During the Holidays
Yes, you can have a blast during the holidays while sticking with your fitness goals. Just remember to give yourself a break, get creative, and always have a plan! These exercise tips during the holidays can help keep you on track and set you up for even more fitness success next year.
Need even more motivation to stay active during the holidays? Keep reading the EōS Fitness blog for excellent information on staying fit, healthy, and happy no matter your fitness level. If you plan on traveling during the holiday, you can also find the nearest EōS to your holiday destination.