Decisions, decisions. Do you pack the running shoes, swimsuit and resistance bands? Or will the hustle of the holidays tramp all over your treadmill time? It’s a tough call. When you’re busy catching up over cocoa and cookies, the hours quickly slip by – along with any chance of exercising. Of course you can’t skip those precious moments with loved ones, so you settle on sitting this one out. Here’s the thing, though: maintaining your fitness and staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t ever have to come into question. Make a few adjustments to your (hectic) schedule, and your workouts will fall right into place.
Pack and prepare
The first step is to go ahead and pack up the workout gear. If you don’t have running shoes, guess what? You can’t go running! By packing the appropriate clothes, you eliminate one very effective excuse. As far as what to bring, that depends on your access to equipment and/or a gym. Running shoes are always a safe bet, because you can run anywhere. That being said, resistance bands are one of your fittest travel buddies when it comes to strength training. They’re lightweight and take up little to no room; you could even throw a couple in a carry-on bag. If you’re staying near home for the holidays, lucky you! However, you could still benefit from planning your workouts for the week ahead. Do a load of laundry or two to make sure you have the right clothes at the ready. You could go as far as “packing” your workout gear in a dresser drawer or on a closet shelf in the order you plan on using them.
Be the first one up
Deciding on your workout gear and organizing it in an orderly fashion will come in handy when you’re the first person up and at ‘em. You won’t have to rummage through drawers or suitcases, thus waking up the dark, sleepy household. Instead, simply set your alarm, grab your pile of clothes and head out the door. Even just 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise will do the trick. That way you’re back in time for breakfast with the family – and those sleeping beauties are none the wiser.
Can’t miss Christmas Eve breakfast? Then don’t. Determine the gotta-be-there get-togethers and make those your number one priority for the day. Remember: family and friends come first; fitness is second. That being said, if you have time – and didn’t have a late gathering the night before – refer to tip #2. Maybe you can squeeze in a sweat session before breakfast. If not, skip it or come back to it later in the day when your schedule is clear of mingling must-dos.
Commit to fit
Accountability always wins. If you don’t have a good workout buddy with you during the holidays, sign up for a local race. You can go at it alone or coax a few family members to join the fun. Holiday runs are usually easy to find this time of year and are always a great way to soak up the festive spirit. Traveling to the middle of nowhere? Look for fitness classes in the area, like a yoga studio or bootcamp-style class. By putting money down for an organized event, you are committed to getting in a workout.
BYOF: bring your own food
It’s a fact. You’re going to be tempted by every sweet and savory dish you never eat on a regular basis. Enjoy what you really want, but keep from overindulging by bringing your own food to the table. Whether you’re attending one holiday dinner or have a week’s worth of feasts in your future, ask about the menu ahead of time. If there isn’t a green veggie or fresh fruit on the list, that’s your cue to round out the meal. Fill in the rest of your day(s) with healthy choices that’ll keep you going, like instant oatmeal, unsalted nuts and protein bars – all perfect post-workout foods.