Surviving The Holiday Season

Matt Griffith, CSCS

The holiday season; where scales go up and workout routines patiently wait until January 2nd (let’s face it, few people start January 1st). But why does this happen year after year? Why do we allow ourselves to lose all our progress we’ve made from January until Thanksgiving?  Or maybe even Halloween if you’re a chocolate lover? Short answer, we allow it to happen because we have the preconceived notion that we are “too busy” to go to the gym. But it isn’t just about a workout, it’s about eating better and finding the time for short bursts of workouts. Here are some quick tips to help you maintain what you have and not lose your hard-earned progress this holiday season.

1)       Limit the holiday treats on days that aren’t the holiday. It’s not the feast at Christmas or the holiday office buffet that set you back, it’s the 10 cookies you snuck in throughout the week, or the egg nog every night that deal the most damage. Be cautious of everything that goes into your mouth and you’ll do better than you think.

2)      Let go of “perfect”. Everyone seems to be infinitely busier this time of year, but we seem to think we must be perfect when it comes to making it to your workouts. We as humans are not perfect and we understand that. So, if you miss a workout, make it to the next one. If you can’t make your 6pm group class, make it to the 7pm, or maybe even hit a Saturday morning if it’s available. Something is better than nothing.

3)      Pick your top 5 exercises you love. Write down your five favorite exercises somewhere, whether a notepad or in your phone. Next time you get 5 minutes free, do each exercise twice for 30 seconds. That’s exactly 5 minutes. No one is that busy at work or at home, like before bed or after you get up, that they can’t get 5 minutes of movement in to help them feel better and get energized.

4)      Keep sugar off your vegetables. I used to hate sweet potatoes. A few years ago, I realized this was due in large part to when I was growing up they were always served with brown sugar and marshmallows. Awful. Let there be no glazing of carrots this year. Sugar has no place on vegetables. There will be enough sugar in your favorite dessert. Glazing is for doughnuts. This year, find ways to make side dishes that are both delicious and nutritious.

5)      Remember that the holidays come at the same time every year. Your favorite holiday comes on the same day each year (for the most part). Those annual celebrations won’t catch you by surprise, so there’s no reason why you can’t plan for them. Unknown interruptions to your fitness program like car trouble or sick children can’t always be avoided, but when celebrations come every year there’s no excuse. Use your smarts and creativity combined with some of the tips above to come up with a plan for celebrating that will allow you to enjoy the festivities without wrecking your fitness plan in the process. Keep at it and you’ll get a little better each year!



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