Many of the best things about the holidays—delicious treats, fun parties, and travel to see family—can also derail your health and fitness goals. After all, it can be difficult to focus on healthy holiday eating when you’ve got a fridge full of leftover pie. It can also be challenging to make time for the gym when you have family obligations, gift shopping to do, and upcoming plans for your holiday party.
Does this mean you should give up on staying healthy during the holidays? Absolutely not! You can both enjoy the most wonderful time of the year AND stay on track with your fitness goals. Take a look at these 9 simple tips to stay healthy during the holidays.
- Create a healthy holiday plan
- Keep healthy snacks with you
- Get enough sleep
- Perform short workouts
- Try a Group Fitness class
- Find healthy holiday recipes
- Invite the family to stay healthy with you
- Take care of your emotional health
- Give yourself grace
1. CREATE A HEALTHY HOLIDAY PLAN
The holidays have a way of throwing you off your normal routine, especially when you have out of town guests to entertain. Don’t let all the short-term chaos keep you from staying fit or eating healthy during the holidays. Create a plan that takes all the disruptions into consideration. Start by writing down all your holiday events like your family dinner, holiday party for work, and any social events. Then, look for ways to plan ahead to allow time for exercise and minimize overindulgence.
Maybe you won’t have time to hit the gym your normal five days per week, but you can still fit three visits to the gym per week into your holiday schedule. Worried about all the holiday treats that will be flooding into your life? Plan out meals, healthy holiday recipes, and healthy snacks throughout the holiday season. You could also batch cook your meals at the beginning of each week.
2. KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS WITH YOU
The holiday season is when brownies and cookies and all sorts of other treats start showing up in the break room or at your family and friends’ houses.While fine in moderation, to help keep yourself from over-snacking on empty calories, try to keep some healthy snacks close as well.
Whole pieces of fruit, like an apple or banana, make great healthy snacks. For something a little more filling and to add nutrients like muscle building protein, dip your fruit in some peanut butter, almond butter, or nonfat Greek yogurt. You could also grab some beef or turkey jerky, a handful of nuts like walnuts or pistachios, dehydrated fruit, or air-popped popcorn to curb your holiday cravings. High protein smoothies are also a great healthy snack.
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
The holidays are made for spending more quality time with your closest friends and family, but don’t stay out too late. Sleep is a critical ingredient to living a healthy, happy life and plays a role in achieving your fitness goals. Sleep can boost your immune system, help you recover more quickly from your workouts, and reduce your stress.
Your body and brain both use sleep to repair themselves from the stresses of the day and get refreshed for the next. Adults should work to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, according to the Sleep Foundation.
4. PERFORM SHORT WORKOUTS
Can’t spend a lot of time at the gym during the holidays? Don’t worry, you can still perform a challenging workout that will keep you moving toward your fitness goals. By increasing the intensity of your workouts and shortening your rest periods, you can maximize your exercise time.
Increasing intensity can mean upping the weight of resistance training movements, performing smaller sets, or moving faster through cardio workouts. Learn more about micro workouts and try a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, which can help you save time and burn more calories
5. TRY A GROUP FITNESS CLASS
Maybe your issue isn’t so much a lack of time to work out, as a lack of motivation. The days are dark, cold, and long during the holiday season, which can make it more difficult to get to the gym.
To add some motivation to your exercise routine, try a new or different Group Fitness class. Reserve your spot in advance, and then all you must do is show up, and let the energy of the instructor and class challenge you to keep going. Group Fitness classes are also a great way to try different types of exercise modalities.
6. FIND HEALTHY HOLIDAY RECIPES
It’s easy to exceed your calorie budget during an indulgent family dinner or holiday party potluck. After all, who can say no to eggnog, gingerbread men, or your grandma’s apple pie? One of the best healthy holiday eating tips you can employ is to bring a healthy dish to your holiday gatherings. This will give you at least one healthy option you can rely on instead of grabbing another cookie or brownie. Search for healthy holiday recipe alternatives to your favorite dishes and who knows, your family just may adopt your improved recipe version.
7. INVITE THE FAMILY TO STAY HEALTHY WITH YOU
If you’ve made the effort to improve your health and fitness during the holidays, why not encourage your family to stay healthy with you? How about a pre-Thanksgiving run or game of tag football? Instead of driving through the neighborhood to see the holiday lights, take a stroll after the family dinner to get more physical activity and encourage an active lifestyle.
With EōS Black and Platinum Memberships, you’re able to bring a Guest or family member every time you hit the gym. Invite Uncle Joe to lift some weights with you. You also have access to Les Mills Virtual Workouts on the EōS App. Gather your cousins and cast a class from the app to your TV for a family workout. Enjoy a wide array of classes like Les Mills Grit Strength, Low Impact Cardio, or Born To Move (kid-friendly approved!).
8. TAKE CARE OF YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH
The holidays can be stressful with all the extra commitments, spending time with family, and the cooler weather. If you are the type of person who always looks to everyone else’s needs before your own, build in some time for yourself. Below are some ways to take care of yourself, ease your stress, and help you be your best self during the holidays.
- Take five minutes a day to meditate.
- Incorporate yoga into your lunch break.
- Practice mindful eating during each meal.
- Sink into a bubble bath at the end of a long week.
9. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
The holidays are a difficult time to pursue a health or fitness goal. Consider focusing on maintaining your gains while also giving yourself some slack.
You won’t destroy your fitness if you grab another cup of spiced cider or spend the night caroling with your kids instead of sweating it out at the gym. A balanced health and wellness plan includes room for fun. After the holidays are over, you can refocus and create accountability to increase your fitness results for the new year.
STAYING HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS IS POSSIBLE
For all the fun and festivities of the holiday season, this time of year can also be challenging. Try to maintain your fitness routine even if you have to cut back a little with shorter workouts. It may seem impossible to figure out healthy holiday eating, but it’s possible. Keep healthy snacks near you and bring healthy holiday recipes to your next family dinner or holiday party.
Finally, don’t be afraid to enjoy your favorite holiday foods. You can find a balance between celebrating in style and living a healthy life.
Set yourself up for success this holiday season. Stop by your nearest EōS location and try all the gym amenities and Group Fitness classes with a Complimentary 7-Day Pass.
This content was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated.