Pre-Holiday Tips From The Pros
While New Year's resolutions are fine and help us set goals to start fresh in January, they can set you back during the holidays. It's so easy to tell yourself "I can wait to start on January 1st," or "I will get back to the gym in the new year." But the reality is (and I remind my clients of this all the time) you will be far more successful and way less stressed during the holidays if you keep physically active and put good things into your body. Indulgence is fine, and often inevitable, but if you can stay on top of your routine 75% of the time, your body and general well-being will thank you come January 1st!I asked some of my favorite trainers in the biz to give us a few "pre-holiday" tips to stay on target this December. I hope you can find something that speaks to you and helps to keep you motivated!
The holidays are a busy time for most of us; therefore, I start to see a decline in attendance in classes this time of year. Don't let the holidays be an excuse to let everything go! Strive to go about the season with a positive outlook. It's okay to splurge on occasion, but indulge in moderation. Try to stick to your weekly workout regimen and plan a fun outdoor activity on the weekends such as a hike or bike ride. Stock up on fresh foods and avoid processed food as much as possible. We have a small pantry that I keep stocked with canned/jarred essentials for cooking and baking, but I keep the snacks minimal so we'll reach for the fruits and veggies instead. And most importantly, keep moving! Get out and walk, play chase with your kids or meet a friend for a workout date instead of dinner or a cocktail.
Most of us give ourselves an hour to workout a day. If that is the case, work at your hardest level! Put passion and energy behind everything you do and make the most of every minute.
Nutrition tip: In November I did a month of no sugar, no dairy, and no alcohol and I couldn't believe the change in my body! Being a fitness instructor working out for hours a day, you might think I don't have to watch my diet- but by watching my diet, my body changed in ways I've been wanting for years. What you eat matters!
The best thing people can do to set themselves up for success in the New Year is to embrace fun, community, and realistic expectations.
Fun matters because it's very hard to do anything you don't like, no matter good it may be for you! While not everyone will fall in love with exercise, it's important to at least find physical activity you're willing to do. At the end of the day, this is way more important for sustainability than finding the "optimal" or "best" workout. Look for activities you enjoy and/or find ways to bring more fun into your training!
Another underappreciated element of fitness success is community. We've seen again and again in both the social science research and in real word application that social support is a key element of long term fitness success. Ideally you'll receive support from your existing social circles, but finding a fitness facility with like-minded members can also be a powerful tool. Just as you may need to look around for fitness activities you actually enjoy, be willing to shop around for the facility that's a culture fit for your personal style.
Lastly, many fitness dreams are dashed before they begin due to unrealistic expectations. For most people, realistic sustainable weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. But even more relevant to long term success is the unavoidable fact that habit change takes time. Most people do better slowly layering on habits rather than trying to change their life in one fell swoop. Pick one manageable habit to add to your life until you really own it, and then build upon your success over time.
By looking for activities you actually like, joining a like minded community, and preparing yourself for the long haul, you'll be well positioned to create some lasting fitness success!
The hustle and bustle can be a little overwhelming this time of year. With lots of out of town guests and friends in town and tons of social obligations, it can be tempting to reconnect over (too much) wine and (too many) indulgent meals. I like to mix it up and sometimes meet up with friends for a workout class or a walk instead. You still get to enjoy each others' company, and relieve a little stress to boot!
Kevin Wimmer, ELMNTL Fitness-Cincinnati
TAKE IT OUTSIDE!!! (all winter long)
You burn more calories working out in the colder temps!
Fresh air and Vitamin D beat the spread of indoor winter viruses!
You'll improve your mood by getting outside!
Your heart works harder and you'll improve cardiovascular endurance!
Jennifer Whittelsey, Pilates by Jennifer-NYC
With the holidays here, there are so many things that come up later in the day... last minute shopping, christmas parties, family coming over,etc. Plan your workout for the morning! It will be done for the day, jump start your metabolism, and give you more energy for all the fun festivities.
Another favorite of mine: quick HIIT workouts! Do 15 squat jumps, 15 burpees, and 30 seconds of mountain climbers. Rest for 90 seconds in between each circuit and repeat 3 to 4 times. Your heart will be pumping, you will get a little sweaty, and you will look and feel your best for all the holiday parties!
There is so much great advice to glean from my friends, and I hope that you have read something here that resonates with you. As for my two cents? A long walk or a run is great for the body and mind, and should definitely be a part of your routine. But during this busy time, throw in a few strength routines. Even if you are pressed for time, 10 minutes strength training (after the body is warmed up) increases blood flow to the brain and gives your body long-lasting metabolic effects. Not to mention you will feel a lot less stressed as your Adrenal glands release stress hormones, like Cortisol, to help you cope a little easier throughout the day! Ask your trainer or an instructor you trust to give you some quick 10 minute workouts you can do anywhere. If you have time to do a few, make them longer or pair a few together.
So keep moving, take care of yourself, and have some fun with it! You will be ahead of the game come January 1st!