By Bobby Jackson
Everyone knows that consistency is the key to success with a fitness and nutrition program. It takes consistent effort, day after day, week after week, before you can expect your body to show measurable results. Unfortunately, factors like varying work schedules, frequent travel, and especially the winter holiday season can make that quite challenging. That’s why I have laid out the 4 Best Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays!
The hardest thing to do during the holiday season is avoiding unhealthy eating. This time of year is famous for all of the calorie dense, sugar packed foods that we know will keep us from our health and fitness goals. However, it can also be a great time to “recharge” our minds and refocus on our goals and the reasons for why we want, or need, to achieve them. Unless specifically prohibited by a doctor, I always tell my clients to enjoy themselves this time of year but to apply one simple rule to your nutrition – portion control. Eat the cookie, try the candy, just don’t over indulge. If we use moderation, we can still get the mental satisfaction from a few of our favorite holiday junk foods without letting our progress slip.
Traveling during the holidays is a major factor that causes people to fall off their health and fitness programs. Being away from your regular gym can make it easy to mentally detach from your training. A better way to approach your holiday traveling should be to finally have an opportunity to try out a new gym, studio, or fitness class. There are several ways to find local gyms and fitness classes in your new area, many of which will offer reasonable prices on guest passes or short-term holiday specials. Our favorite search tool is the MindBody mobile app. MindBody even allows you to search specifically for local deals, book sessions, and pay, all from the convenience and security of your phone. A new workout environment or program is a great way to add some excitement to your fitness journey, keep you on track during your holiday travel, and is the perfect way to discover fun new styles of training.
Most of my clients who can’t stay active during the holidays attribute it to not having any spare time. Whether it’s the travel time or the time spent preparing for incoming family and friends, it can be hard to set time aside for a workout. The most effective time tends to be first thing in the morning. No matter what time you squeeze your workouts in, try to make them as efficient as possible. My strategy is to do full-body routines, focused on large compound movements so I can get the most out of even the shortest workout. This will also dramatically cut down the stress of rushing to and from the gym when time is limited.
Stay on Schedule
With so many variables in our schedule during the holidays, we should try to keep control of as many of them as possible. First and foremost, sleep. If we can continue getting our usual amount of sleep, as close to our regular sleep schedule as possible, it can be a huge help in maintaining our productivity level, even in vacation mode. The other schedule we need to try to maintain should be the times of day that we normally eat. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in vacation activities and begin missing your breakfast or lunch, that’s when we end up overeating at dinner to subconsciously make up for the missed meals earlier in the day.
It does not require an immense amount of work to maintain or even increase the physical progress that we have made throughout the year as we go through this long winter holiday season. With the right planning and a little extra attention to time-management, there should be no reason to see any significant setback in our health and fitness. Just make sure to end each day with a general plan of success for the next day (wake-up time, breakfast, workout time, etc.) and get up each morning ready to execute that plan one step at a time.
Bobby is a graduate of Minnesota State University with a degree in Biology; emphasis in Health and Medical Sciences. Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Bobby is the owner and director of The Custom Fitness Institute, a private training studio in Pompano Beach. Facebook.com/TheCustomFitnessInstitute.