What are a few things that come to mind when you think about the holiday season? Is it spending time with loved ones, fun parties, and the start of a new year? Or are you more concerned about self-sabotaging all your progress from months of working out and healthy eating?
The holidays are already a stressful time of year, but what can make it harder is not staying on track with your fitness goals. It's no surprise that weight gain, and even weight loss, are common for some people during the holidays. You're not as focused, there are more unhealthy temptations, and your schedule tends to be all over the place.
But the holidays aren't about restricting yourself to the point where you can't enjoy anything. While you don't want to mess up your progress, you shouldn't be afraid to indulge in some sweet treats or a festive cocktail. Take a look at these tips that can help you stay on track with your fitness goals without demonizing the spirit of the holidays!
Schedule your workouts
Our schedules fill up FAST over the holiday season. Between family dinners, shopping, and office holiday parties, it's hard staying consistent with a diet and exercise routine. It seems to be one of the first things we're willing to drop so we have time for other activities. However, it's more than possible to get everything done, have fun, AND keep up with your healthy lifestyle. All you need is a little extra planning.
Mark in your calendar all the social events you plan on attending and build your workout schedule around them. You'll have a better chance at staying consistent if you've planned out your days as much as possible. Make sure to schedule time for:
- Upper body
- Lower body
Set up your own home gym
Having a mini home gym is ideal when you're short on time and can't get to your regular gym. You don't even need a super professional setup for a great home workout. There are hundreds of exercise variations you can do with only dumbbells, a workout bench, and resistance bands. You'll also find thousands of videos on Youtube from online fitness creators demonstrating different at-home workout routines.
If you're looking to spruce up your home gym, we carry several weight training tools in our store, including ankle straps, lifting belts, and resistance bands of varying strengths.
Have a workout plan for when you're traveling
If you know you'll be going out of state, have a workout plan that's easy to do anywhere! It might not be possible to use a gym unless you're staying at a hotel or registered with a fitness facility that offers unlimited access to their various centers across the country. Bodyweight exercises are a great alternative when you don't have weight lifting equipment. You may not be training at the intensity level you're used to, but it's better to move your body a little bit than not at all. Just don't forget to pack a gym bag with all your workout essentials!
Include a side of veggies with your holiday meal
Fa la la la la, it's carbs, carbs, carbs! As much as you want to dig into all the holiday goodies, never forget to add a side of vegetables to your plate. Instead of getting a second helping of stuffing or mac and cheese, take another serving of green beans or salad. Portion size also matters as much as the food you're eating. Keep high-calorie, high-fat food to a minimum and watch it on the dessert. It's easy to overdo it on the sugary treats if you're not careful, but it's better to let yourself enjoy instead of restricting – so be mindful with your portions.
Make your meal prep simple and quick
Regardless of whether or not it's the holidays, you still have the power to make healthy choices when it comes to your food. Preparing your meals and snacks for the week will make it less enticing to grab for sugary or salty foods. You could also try finding healthier recipes for your favorite holiday dishes!
Meal prep is always important if you want to achieve your fitness goals, but the recipes don't have to be complicated to be nutritious and delicious. There are plenty of ways to use the same ingredients for multiple meals, which can also save you money. Bonus!
Keep drinking plenty of water
Staying hydrated is definitely overlooked when you're constantly out and about or going to another party. It's helpful to have a reusable water bottle with you so you can refill it throughout the day.
Drinking water also keeps you fuller between meals, so you won't be as tempted to snack all day. On top of that, you may be having more alcoholic drinks than normal. Try to remember the last time you went out with friends, family, or coworkers for the holidays and there wasn't any alcohol in sight. Be sure to have a glass of water in between each drink and monitor your intake. Alcoholic drinks have a ton of empty calories and added sugars.
Set small goals over the holidays
There's a lot of running around and socializing during this time of the year. This can definitely wear you out pretty quick, so expecting yourself to do an hour-long workout is often unrealistic when you have little to no stamina. In this case, the best thing you can do for your health and wellness is to set smaller fitness goals to avoid serious burnout. Some people shorten the length of their workouts to under 30 minutes by doing circuit training, HIIT, or even superset workouts. You may even want to consider splitting your workouts so you can target multiple areas in a single routine and save some time.
It's okay to alter your original fitness goals to better accommodate them for the holidays. You don't need to stress yourself out more by setting the bar too high. It's important to remain realistic with what your schedule allows without sacrificing your physical or mental health. Self-care should always be included, especially with a hectic schedule.
Strike a balance between healthy habits and indulging
The holiday season isn't exactly synonymous with healthy food. You can't go to an event or grocery store without seeing all the pies, cookies, cakes, and holiday platters. Does that mean you steer clear of the food tables? You can, but you don't have to.
Satisfying your cravings is better than ignoring them. Normally, when we don't, we end up overindulging and eating more of the food we were trying to avoid in the first place. It might seem like most of your food choices are limited because of the holidays, but not when you find a good balance.
Don't punish yourself for taking it easy and celebrating with family and friends.
At the end of the day, following a workout schedule or sticking to your normal diet shouldn't take away from creating lifelong memories. Even if you fall off your fitness plan for a bit, you can always get back on. However, these tips will still set you up for success and help you go into the new year ready to conquer newer, more challenging goals.
Want someone to plan your workouts for you during the busiest time of the year?
Having planned goal-focused workouts with recommended set and rep ranges will make it easier for you to stay on top of your workout routine during the holidays! Let Fit With Iulia help! The Fit With Iulia app was founded by Iulia Danilova - she's our founder too! She designed an app to make working out easier by planning weekly goal-focused workouts with the appropriate set of exercises, training splits, rest days, and recommended sets and reps. You can also follow along with video and written instructions to make sure your form is on point. There are so many more features that make Fit With Iulia great like exercise progress tracking, list of alternative exercises, home workouts, and there's even a space to track your macros!
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