The combination of excess food and perhaps even cross-country travels can make the holiday season extra taxing on our bodies. Coupled with extra family obligations, parties, and eleventh-hour shopping can mean that the gym is the last thing on our minds!
There are only 38 days separating Thanksgiving from New Years Day. Try and play it differently this year, the holiday season doesn’t have to be synonymous with giving up all healthy habits! Here are seven tips to help keep you in shape this holiday season.
1. Set a Challenge
Turn it into a game! Perhaps there is a particular yoga pose you have been struggling with, use this time to work on it daily. For Crossfitters out there, take advantage of these 38 days to work on a particular skill, be it double unders, or handstands, practice every day. Do you know other people who are struggling with the same skills? Perhaps you could even speak to your gym and set up a challenge among all members! Alternatively, if running is more your thing, take part in the annual Runner’s World challenge to run every day (the goal is to run at least one mile each day).
2. Avoid Sitting For Too Long
While the holidays mean more parties and more visits with family, you can also find yourself sitting at gatherings for extended periods of time. Combine this with a desk job and you can quickly find that you are spending all of your time sitting down. Avoid using public transport, or cars to get around and try walking or cycling to get to appointments.
When you are at home with the family watching a festive film use this time to engage in some active recovery or mobility work, by foam rolling, icing, or doing some good stretching work.
3. Get Creative with Workouts
With all the extra social commitments, it can be hard to make time for the gym. CrossFit has a massive database of bodyweight workouts that can be adapted for anyone to complete anywhere. If time is of the essence there are plenty of express sessions that you can do, perhaps spread these out throughout the day to combat sitting for too long. Try a quick morning yoga workout when you get up, squeeze in a little squat routine at lunchtime and do a quick 15-minute ab-circuit when you get home. These short bursts will ensure that you keep moving during the day but will not take away too much of your time. Remember: consistent, short, quality exercise sessions also produce lasting change.
4. Drink Up!
It goes without saying that you should not overdo the alcohol, but it is also imperative to drink enough water before the celebrations. Drinking water before heading out will not only keep you better hydrated but it will also keep calm a false sense of hunger, and may even make it easier to stick with your diet plan. Bored of plain old water? Spice it up, add some lemon, orange, or even some fresh berries and mint leaves to give it a hint of flavor.
A great way to reduce some of your alcohol intake and some calories from alcohol is to opt for a wine spritzer. By doing this you are still able to be festive and enjoy an adult beverage with your friends and family just with far fewer calories.
5. Seek Healthier Recipe Options
Part of the fun of the holiday season is the food! It can be fun and challenging to discover some healthy alternatives to holiday favorites. Here are some great ideas to get you started:
- Avoid store-bought stuffing and make your own, this Paleo stuffing is a great alternative!
- Be sure to start the day off properly, eating a healthy breakfast will set you on track for a good day. Try this gingerbread granola, or these pumpkin pie, chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies!
- Instead of opting for marshmallows with your sweet potatoes, try these soy-glazed sweet potatoes, or this grilled sweet potato salad!
- Try one of these great brussel sprouts.
6. Don't Use Travel As An Excuse Not To Exercise!
Travel is often touted as an excuse to skip out on training, but there are plenty of ways to keep exercising when you are away!
- Sightseeing on foot – if you are in a new city, or even if you are hosting guests, explore a new city on foot or by bike!
- Pack a skipping rope – a skipping rope weighs next to nothing and takes up almost no space and is the perfect travel buddy! You can use skipping as a warm-up and a cool down and add a little core workout in the middle or some bodyweight exercises. One of CrossFit’s famous benchmark workouts Annie is also a great option!
- Suspension straps are another great piece of equipment that is super easy to travel with and permits you to do a variety of workouts in small spaces.
- Use nature as your gym! Wherever you are, take advantage of your surroundings! Even if you are in a city, go and check out the local parks!
- For CrossFit aficionados, find a local box!
7. Find New Ways To Manage Stress
The holiday season can be one of the most joyous times of the year, but it can also bring on extra stress for many. Stress has many adverse effects on our health, so it is essential to learn how to better cope with your stress levels. There may be one particular task that drives you crazy over the holidays, make a change, and figure out how to tackle it in a different way. Always stay focused on what is most important to you, many people get overwhelmed with duties and errands over the holidays. The pressure to be happy can be hard for some who are often reminded of what they don’t have or what they have lost over the holidays. There is, of course, no recipe to get through the holiday season if you are going through a difficult period. We do have to remain sensitive to each other and to ourselves. You can never force yourself to feel something, and you should not be made to feel bad for it. Seek a way to tailor the season to match you, feel free to get as creative as necessary.
There you have it. Our seven tips to help you stay in shape this holiday season. Use these seven tips as a guide and reminder to you to do the extra little things to help you stay in shape this holiday season. If you’re starting out on your fitness journey, these tips can also make a difference to help you get the results you’re looking for. Enjoy the holidays.