Tips to Stay on Track with Your Fitness Goals During the Holidays
No excuses are getting in your way this year
By Chelsea Vincent
Feeling like you need a little boost to stay in shape? Own these tips to keep your fitness goals on track during the holiday season!
We’re all familiar with how the last three months of the year work. Once the candy gets rolled out at Halloween, we nix the gym from our busy schedules, bundle up with cocoa and comfort foods, and avoid mirrors and scales until it’s time for resolutions (if we don’t part ways with them for good).
But you, noble unicorn of holiday season, are not settling for that life. Not this year. Come that NYE party, you’ll have had a fabulous run of the holiday season while still looking svelte and feeling strong.
Don’t ignore fitness when your body needs it the most (hello, lethargy-inducing food coma after Thanksgiving dinner). Instead, follow these simple guidelines to keep your body, mind, and spirit happy.
Schedule Workouts with Friends
Let’s be real — if you’ve got time to attend holiday parties and hit up the mall, you can probably spare 30-60 minutes, at least a couple of times each week, to shake your booty. The trick is making solid plans to get to the gym. Now’s the time to seek out friends who are actively invested in working out this holiday season.
No hate for those living vicariously through Pinterest workout boards, but you need to partner up with someone who won’t flake on you. Then, set up a schedule together, whether it’s writing down partner exercises or signing up for classes at your favorite studio in advance. The good thing about signing up for live classes is that you get charged for skipping out, so you’re more likely to actually make it to that 6 a.m. pilates class.
Be the Early Bird
Yep, you read that right — 6 a.m. Now, if you just rolled your eyes and assumed that was directed at everyone except you, think again. Studies show that early-morning, fasted workouts can actually help you lose more weight and sleep better.
By getting your workout in early, not only will you be able to start the day with more energy (enabling you to skip that third cup of coffee), but you’ll also beat traffic. And the best part? At the end of the workday, after you’ve sat through too many meetings and your brain feels like putty, you can just go home. You’ll thank us (and yourself) later.
Avoid Stretchy Pants
Yes, living in athleisure pants is totally acceptable now. They’re cute, they work with most footwear, and you can dress them up or down. But they’re also stretchy, which can be deceptive as you make your way through seasonal cookie tins, cider, and latkes.
To stay on track — especially if you’re not the type to weigh yourself on the daily, which is fine — keep wearing the same clothes you wore before the holidays started. If they start feeling snug, don’t get down on yourself, but take it as feedback from your body that it’s time to back off on the feasting a bit.
Stay Hydrated Instead of Drinking Your Calories
I remember watching my dad chug eggnog as a kid. He would drink a tall glass full of the stuff, causing my mother to gag and me to giggle. Now, as an adult, I know that holiday libations — of the egg variety and otherwise — are usually loaded with calories, fat, and sugar.
To keep your skin looking great, flush out toxins, and prevent you from becoming dehydrated (and constipated), drink loads of water. Not only will water help you to feel full (surprise: what we think is hunger is often thirst), but it will also help you avoid consuming a day’s worth of calories in a couple of fancy cocktails.
In most customer service industries, there’s a common concept called “managing expectations,” which boils down to setting up realistic goals and understandings with clients from the beginning so that no one ends up disappointed. Now is the time to apply that same idea to yourself. If you insist on living off of just green juices for the next six weeks, chances are high that you’ll end up binging at some point, leaving you feeling worse off than when you started.
Instead, decide what you’re going to treat yourself to this holiday season, and how much. Maybe you’ll get a small plate for dessert instead of having a 6” slice of each pie available. Or perhaps you’ll eat simple, clean snacks and meals during the week, with one scheduled, reasonable cheat meal per week (that coincides with an office party). Write down a plan of action and stick to it.
No one enjoys discipline during “the most wonderful time of the year,” but with a little restraint and some patience, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on your long-term fitness goals. Balance feeding the soul with nourishing the body, and you’ll still be flying high when the decorations start to come down.