The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years can provide a significant challenge for people who are trying to lose weight, get healthy, and achieve their fitness goals. Busy schedules, high stress, fewer workouts, and lots of food certainly provide for less than ideal conditions for physical health and fitness. But do we really need to add more stress to an already full season trying to avoid the dessert table at every Christmas party or even worse, trying to punish ourselves in the gym for overindulging a bit the night before? I want to share with you a few tips on how I plan to approach my next 6 weeks of workouts and nutrition to be set up for success in the new year.
- Something is better than nothing. Even during busy seasons I make sure to get 4-5 workouts in/week. Now this might mean waking up early for a 5:30am class or squeezing it in on your lunch break. Sometimes, that might even mean a late night workout in the garage or early morning run and bodyweight workout before the sun comes up. The idea is that my workout routine doesn’t change much regardless of season. If you can’t make it to a one hour class, then a 10 min amrap of push ups, sit ups, and squats or a 30 min walk after dinner will go a long way in building your habit of exercise and keeping on track with your long term goals. Something is always better than nothing and it may take a little extra effort and planning, but make your workouts your foundation. Exercise should become as much of a habit as brushing your teeth. It’s simply a part of your daily routine and you always will feel better after some movement. (If you need some travel workout ideas, just shoot us an email and we can help.)
- Don’t let one day of feasting turn into two months of bad habits. In reality, there may be somewhere between 3-5 days of feasting between Thanksgiving and New Years. Even if you eat whatever your heart desires and still stay on track with your normal diet through the rest of the holidays you are going to absolutely be just fine! Now if you let 5 meals turn into 5 weeks of bad habits and less than ideal nutrition choices it will likely be a different story. My point is, don’t stress over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Feast! Eat whatever you want and enjoy the overflow of blessings from the Lord. Have a heart of gratitude and abundance and not of discontent and stinginess. God says feasting is good and commands us to feast to celebrate the things he has done, but He also calls gluttony a sin. You will do well to know the difference.
- Understand that we are seasonal beings. God created a world that operates and functions in seasons and patterns and as human beings we are wired to follow those patterns of work and rest. The next 6 weeks are a season of anticipation and celebration, and a time to take a few more days of rest than usual. So if you have been absolutely crushing it in the gym for the last 3 months or so, it may do your body and mind good to take a few extra days off in the coming weeks. Instead of my normal 5-6 gym workouts a week, I’m planning to take a few more rest days than usual to get some other tasks done, spend more time with friends and family, and let my body recover. Now don’t use this as an excuse to completely put your health on the back burner, but if you have been consistent with your training and nutrition all year, consider incorporating a few extra rest days in the coming weeks. This might be just what your mind and body need to recover, reenergize your training, and unlock new gains and PRs.
These tips might seem a bit unusual from a fitness coach, but this is exactly how I plan to approach the next 6 weeks and enjoy everything the holidays bring while staying healthy and freed up for maximum impact! Happy Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for each one of you and the opportunity to coach and support you in your health and fitness.