It’s that time of year! Parties, family gatherings, fun moments with friends and along with that generally comes tastier snacks and treats that we don’t always indulge in and busy, packed days. It can be hard to find ways to get your workouts in and stay on track with your eating, and although you can find tips all over the place about keeping up your healthy lifestyle over the holidays, I want to offer a few thoughts from my corner of the blogosphere before this season is upon us even more than it already is!
Staying Lean Over the Holidays
My first tip?
Keep your goals in mind. This is important because it’s very easy to let a weekend of poor eating, late nights, less sleep and missed workouts take priority over what you’ve been working towards for so long. Why throw it all away? So keep those goals in the forefront, not background, of your mind and keep moving forward. That being said…
Cut yourself some slack. Practice a bit of self compassion when it comes to this time of year – it does, after all, only come around once and we don’t always have the options of fun foods, enjoying ourselves and communing over food with friends and family! It is a time to enjoy. But on the days you know you’re going to indulge, think about:
Really choose what you LOVE. In other words, I won’t go for chips and dip at a party because you can get that anywhere. Instead, I’ll likely slowly sip and enjoy a glass of red wine or two over the course of the night and choose the foods that are unique to this time of year and homemade. Store-bought cookies? I can pass on those in favor of some other fun treat!
Fro-yo with my mom definitely counts as a treat I want to participate in!
Be mindful in the days leading up to your parties. Drink lots of water and focus on clean eating – don’t indulge early or allow extra foods you wouldn’t normally snack on into your days “just because it’s the holidays.” Instead, stay focused and clean so you can eat a little more liberally if you want when it comes to the parties with people you love!
Get flexible with your workout schedule. During this busy time, you might not be able to get your same morning workout in or be able to hit the gym after work. Your favorite class might be cancelled during lunch or perhaps you’ve stayed up really late for a few nights and just can’t make it to the gym. That’s okay – be willing to be flexible with what you normally do and adapt! Get outside for a run with your family or participate in a Santa Shuffle, run a New Year’s Eve race to start 2013 or get your family into a little group bootcamp session one morning (just my family? Oh, okay).
Mom, Dad, Aunt, Cousin & his wife + family friends pictured above in October!
There’s a lot you can do from your living room and still stay fit! If you don’t have much time, remember the benefit of shorter, high intensity interval workouts and sprints (think: 1 minute sprint, 2 minute recovery for 6-10 sprints) or try a 15 minute workout from home can do the job in the pinch – like this one!
Here’s how it all goes down: In this ladder workout, you’ll perform the first exercise in the first set (being the squat jumps) for 10 sec, then rest for 10 sec and hit the second exercise for 10 sec with a 10 sec rest (that would be the burpees with a push up). Then you’ll do the same thing (squat jumps) for 20 sec with a 20 sec rest followed by exercise two (burpees with a push up) for 20 sec and a 20 sec rest. Continue up to 30 sec each and then go back down the “ladder” with 20 and 10 sec work/rest intervals. When your first ladder’s done, rest for a short amount of time or as needed and hit up ladder number two (rows and mountain climbers). Continue to the third ladder and you’re done!
To modify, you can always tone the intensity down:
- turn the squat jumps into regular squats
- take the push up out of the burpee or walk it instead of jump the movement
- take some angle off your inverted rows (think: TRX rows which can changed to suit your ability) or use weights in a bent-over row to hit the back
- walk the mountain climbers
- turn the jump lunges in reverse lunges without the jump, and
- use a lighter weight, medicine ball or just your arms for the KB swings.
OR…bump up the intensity for each move by:
- adding weights to the squat jumps
- putting your feet up on a bench or box so your body is truly inverted when you row
- place your hands up in the air for the jump lunges, and
- use a heavier weight for your KB swings.
Short, sweet and effective! Speaking of which, I made myself do intervals today (I encourage you to do the same if you’re short on time and want a killer workout!) rather than go easy and long. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is great for your body and so much more effective than long, slow cardio (unless you’re training for longer distances and following a training plan) when it comes to burning fat and boosting that metabolism. You can google “HIIT” for great ideas, follow a simple “1 min sprint, 2 min jog for 6-10 spring repetitions” type of format or try a great workout from Naomi like I did today!
Do you take full breaks during the holiday season from workouts? Got anything extra to add to my list of tips above? I’d love to hear any unique suggestions as mine are tips that fall into the “tried and true” (aka often discussed!) category. 🙂
Live well & be well friends – especially during this neat season which can be tough for some and fun for others; let’s continue to treat our bodies and one another well!