Fitness Guide for Holiday: 8 Tips to Stay in Shape

December 21, 2018

‘Tis the season to stay in shape! Ideally. But this is the season when everybody's busy and it's really a challenge to squeeze in some quality workout time.

With the approaching holiday season, it’s easy to let fitness fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Let me help you stay in shape by following my 8 best holiday fitness tips!

Do you fall out of all of your good habits over the holiday season? Or do find yourself skipping your workout and eating too many treats? If the answer is yes, today’s post is just for you! I’m going to give you some helpful tips to keep the holiday pounds and laziness at bay this holiday season.

It’s not easy to resist all the treats that the holiday season brings. Squeezing in your exercise routine over the next few weeks may feel more difficult than usual; especially as your time gets consumed with the hectic holiday schedule that’s common during this time of year. Dark mornings and cold evenings that many of you have to contend with over the next few months may also contribute to your struggle to find the fitness motivation that you need to keep up all of your hard work. With the right program in place and proper planning, I’m sure you can maintain your fitness levels and preserve your waistline this holiday season! Here are some holiday fitness tips to follow while still enjoying time with the family and the occasional sweet treat.

Holiday fitness tip 1: Schedule it all in advance

Rather than leaving your schedule up to chance, be proactive and set aside dedicated time to hit the gym. If you’re traveling, make sure your travel days are pre planned rest days, and consider signing up for local classes at your destination. When something is pre-planned, it’s much harder to just forget about it. Chances are, if you don’t have an activity planned, you’ll opt for cozying on the couch instead.

Holiday fitness tip 2: Get a holiday training partner

Even if you love to work out solo, consider buddying up over the next few weeks. The holiday season is the perfect time to find a training partner and chances are that you’re not the only one at work or at home who’ll benefit from some friendly accountability over the coming few weeks. The percentage of people who quit working out over the holidays because of other commitments is high. I think that’s why the January guilt gym rush is such a busy one!

Holiday fitness tip 3: Take advantage of discounts

In the fitness world, the holiday season is traditionally a quiet time and this means lots of discounts can be found! At the gym, personal trainers often have attractive discount packages available and boutique studios often offer free classes. Take the time to look and see what free fitness activities are being offered near work or in your community. The holiday season is the perfect time to try out a new class and learn something new that may benefit you in the new year.

Holiday fitness tip 4: Cut down your workout time

I understand that the holiday season is a busy time, so instead of cutting out your workout altogether, consider decreasing your time commitment while increasing your intensity level. At the end of your session, you may feel a little more tired than usual but you would have saved time. Check out my article on HIIT training and see how you can make the most out of what time you do have available.

Holiday fitness tip 5: Do a pre-meal workout

The mental side of weight management is a great strategy to use over the holidays. I believe that if you strive to do a workout prior to going to a party, there’s a good chance you will watch what you eat at the buffet table. After a workout, the desire to eat foods that are high in calories and bad for you tends to diminish. However, if you go to a party with the attitude of ‘I will eat what I want because I will work out later,’ you must keep in mind that you can’t out train a high calorie diet! The amount of exercise you need to do in order to burn off just one cookie will make you think twice.

Holiday fitness tip 6: Keep it simple

If you can’t find the motivation to get into the gym or attend a fitness class during the holidays, or if you honestly just love to break free from your typical fitness schedule, make a decision to use walking as your go-to activity. If you do nothing and eat more, you will gain unwanted body weight. You must find some way to create balance. Find time at work to get in some walking minutes, power walk on your shopping trips and do some before bed exercises such as pushups, squats and crunches to keep your body as conditioned as possible. When you’re considering having some indulgent foods, be aware of the portion size that you’re consuming. Try to balance your other meals during the day to accommodate your splurge.

Holiday fitness tip 7: Socialize over activity

My personal holiday time consists of doing my favorite hike and enjoying a nice family bike ride. In December, I get exhausted and sore muscles from hitting the ski slopes for a week. I do appreciate that my personal idea of holiday fun is different than many peoples because being active is my life and what makes me happy. The idea of sitting around sounds like torture to me. Active events with family and friends is a fun way to stay in shape and socialize.

Holiday fitness tip 8: Tools just for you

To make sure that ‘not knowing what to do’ is not one of your excuses this winter, I created lots of resources that you can use for ideas to keep moving. I just got started with a new online fitness series. If you follow these fun weekly workouts, you’ll have a head start on accomplishing next years fitness goals! For occasional short workouts that you can do at home, my Fit Tips routines are just what you need. If you wish to put together your own perfect workout, learn how by reading my previous posts right here.

Posted by: Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife