By Katy Duncan, Contributing Blogger
Before you can start making New Year’s goals and fitness plans, you’ve got to get through the holiday season. You have to get through major Holidays packed with food, parties, and maybe a little extra stress.
It can be challenging to stay on track with regular workout routines and diets when surrounded by constant temptation and a busier schedule. There are things you can do to keep yourself on the fitness bandwagon and stay consistent though.
Here are 5 ways you can stay consistent with fitness goals during the holiday season and still eat all the turkey and mashed potatoes you want!
Be Realistic with Goals
At the end of the day, humans are still animals and we feel the pull to hibernate just as much as bears. This time of year, it’s natural to eat a little more, workout a little less, and spend some extra time on the couch.
It’s important not to beat yourself up too much when a spontaneous rest day occurs or you go back for seconds on the pie. Everything in moderation and tis the season to indulge! Be realistic during this time of year that you may not stick as strictly to your diet and workout routine and that’s a-okay.
As long as you’re moving in some way and making conscious choices when eating to fuel your body with as many nutritional foods as you can, then you’re still moving in a good direction with your goals. Remember that it’s okay to make adjustments this time of year to accommodate everything the holiday season will throw at you.
Keep a Schedule
Whether you’re traveling to see family this year, hosting, or doing your own thing, maintaining a schedule is key to maintaining consistency. Having a schedule planned out with realistic workout times can help you stay on track and see visually where you’re taking time to be active.
You could keep track of workouts and a realistic schedule on your phone, a planner, or a calendar so it’s always available to you wherever the holiday season may take you. Make it a fun experience and a reward-based system by checking off completed workouts and indulging in something when you reach a certain number of workouts.
Remember that extra rest days may happen and it’s okay to not workout as hard this time of year. Personally, I think scaling down to 2-3 workouts a week is a manageable thing during the holidays. If you’re typically someone who works out at a gym and will be traveling a lot, 2-3 days is still relatively easy to maintain on the go, and some major gym chains will let you use facilities all over the country.
If you’re used to working out at home, 2-3 workouts a week can be squeezed in first thing in the morning, before bed, or during the afternoon “nap” you told your mom you were going to take when you really just needed some time to yourself. Make the workouts fit into the time you have and stay on track with them. AKA, workout when you tell yourself you’re going to workout.
Get the Family Involved
If you can’t get to spin class with your friend, try to engage your family in going on a walk or bike ride instead to get some extra movement in. When participating in any kind of group activity, it will feel less like working out and more like a bonding moment. You can kill two birds with one stone and catch up with family while you get your steps in.
If you have access to a basketball hoop or have a football, you’re in luck! Put together teams of 2-3 people each and have a family sports game. This is a great way to burn off all the extra food you’ll be eating and keep your body moving outside of your normal workout routine.
If your family isn’t one for activity and you’re towing the fitness line alone, try to organize facetime walks with friends who are also out of town. Going for a morning walk each day and having something to look forward to, like talking to a friend, can make it easier to stay consistent and on track with your goals. You can work together to keep each other accountable.
Keep in mind that your schedule will likely fluctuate with more activities planned, places to be, and things to eat. Want some wise advice? Make your workouts fit your life, don’t make your life fit your workouts. In other words, don’t stress too much about having to ditch on a pilates class or eating out when an old friend is in town.
Make the most of your time when you have it and find ways to be active when those little moments arise. This could look like going for more walks around your childhood town and less time on the treadmill or going up and down the stairs in your parent’s house instead of getting on the stair master.
Another great way to get in some extra activity is to turn it into a game while you watch Lifetime movies all season. Every time someone says Santa, that’s 25 crunches. When you see a pie on TV, 15 squats. Anytime someone says, “Happy holidays!” That’s 50 jumping jacks. Make your fitness goals integrate with your life in a real way that’s easy and fun.
This can easily be done on the schedule that you already set up, because you did totally already do that, right? Right! Use a checkmark, fun sticker, or simply cross off the workout you completed for the day and look back on all the promises you kept to yourself throughout the holidays.
In the moment, especially during the week before, during, and after a major holiday, it can feel like you’re slacking on the goals you set for yourself. If you keep working towards them, modifying workouts as you need, and striving to do something active a few days a week, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see you didn’t do half bad!
New years is just around the corner and is a great time to reset, check in with your goals, and set the stage for the year ahead. For now, you’ve got to get over the speed bump that is the holiday season.
If nothing else, take comfort that we’re all struggling through it together! Because really, who’s going to say no to pie?