It seems that every year, once Halloween rolls around, my healthy diet and fitness regime go out the window and get worse as the year comes to an end. I know I'm not the only one who struggles around the holidays. It can be very difficult to stay on track with all of the parties, stress, and food that are inevitable around the holiday months of November and December.
Luckily, there are manageable ways to stay healthy and fit during the holidays. Put down that gingerbread cookie, swap it for a Smart for Life Cookie, and try some of these clever hacks to keep up your fitness over the next month.
Wake Up Earlier
After shopping for holiday gifts for six hours, the last thing you'll be thinking about is the gym. Avoid the temptation of skipping your workout by getting it over and done with first thing in the morning. You'll likely be way too busy in the evenings to work out, especially as the holidays approach.
“Set your alarm 10-20 minutes earlier to begin your day with a workout. Whether that means crunches in bed, gym before the shower, yoga poses before breakfast or a quick run around the block, make use of this time each morning and move your body," said Kara Tatelbaum, author of "Lazy Girl Pilates."
Schedule It On Your Calendar
Thinking of working out and actually doing it are two different things. Pencil in your workouts on your calendar to help hold yourself accountable. The visual reminder will also help keep you from forgetting. Elaine Hayes, founder of MNTSTUDIO, a Pilates studio in San Francisco, said that putting your workouts in your planner, like you would an appointment, help turn your intention into reality.
“Schedule your workouts like you schedule meetings and block off your calendar. That way, when meetings or holiday parties come up, you can visually see that you are unavailable and are less likely to break those plans with yourself,” said Elaine.
Utilize Your Lunch Break
If you're lucky, your company may offer fitness classes, if not, you can still get a quick workout in and get your blood pumping. “During your lunch break, can you make it to a quick class? Is there one offered at work? You could also find stairs to walk up and down for three minutes, then hang your heels off a step to stretch your calves,” said Kara Tatelbaum.
Even if you don't want to do a heavy cardio session, taking a quick walk outside will get your heart rate up and give you some fresh air.
Make Your Steps Count
Strap on your Apple Watch or Fitbit and step outside. Some days you may not have time for a full hour workout and that's fine. You can still make a difference with just 20-30 minutes.
“Walk home from work, or if you drive or take public transportation, take a walk around the neighborhood when you get home. Extra points if you track your steps and add weights to this routine. One pounders are great on your ankles or in your hands,” said Kara.
Just Before Bedtime
Kara recommends stretching when you're getting ready for bed. “After all the holiday happy hours, parties and other commitments, resist the urge to pass out in bed right after you get home,” she said. “Take a moment to stretch your hips by lying on your back toward the edge of your bed, dangling one leg off and holding the other toward your chest. Afterward, try a back twist by bending your legs to either side [while keeping your back flat or tilted the opposite direction] and breathing into your back.”
Even if you weren't able to fit a workout in earlier in the day, you will still feel good that you were able to set aside some time to stretch your muscles.
Many people find it a lot easier to stay on track when they know someone on the same journey. Find a friend that also wants to stay healthy during the holidays and help hold each other accountable.
“You don’t have to go through this alone,” said Tatelbaum. “Is there someone at work or in the neighborhood you can work out with? If you can’t meet in person, FaceTime works too. It’s an awesome way to stay connected across states with family and friends.”
Need some healthy treats to help get you through the holidays? Click here to see our selection of scrumptious snacks that won't break your diet!