As we enter the holiday season, focus and motivation in regards to the gym and fitness tend to take the back burner. It happens to all of us, and quite frankly it is inevitable. Whether it is having a “couple” of those delicious homemade Christmas treats, or skipping a workout here and there due to family gatherings and busy schedules, it always seems like there is something we can use as an excuse. My personal excuse is that when I leave for the gym (4:30 am), it has been -8 degrees and honestly I would MUCH rather be in my warm bed for a couple more hours, before I need to wake up and go to work. Just remember, if you miss a day here and a day there, it isn’t the end of the world. Consider it a rest day and don’t beat yourself up. Just don’t let it become a habit, otherwise all your hard work and dedication from the previous months could suffer.
I have a couple of tips to help you stay on top of your routine during the holidays.
1) Stay organized. Keep up with meal prep and your daily supplements. Stock up on some convenient protein bars to take along with you on days you will be out of the house, to keep your muscles nourished.
2) Use your body weight to your advantage. On days that you absolutely cannot make it into the gym, take 30 minutes and do body weight exercises. For example, push-ups (various hand positions to hit different muscle groups), sit ups, lunges, squats, step ups, dips, chin-ups and pull-ups if you have a chin-up bar. If you had been bulking or trying to gain mass, of course these exercises will not help with that. But ANY workout is better than no workout. It’ll help you maintain your stamina an strength and most important, your motivation. Using your body weight is great if you don’t have any weights or machines at home. (If you do, use them!)
3) Try and find a workout partner. With family and friends visiting throughout the month, see if you can recruit someone for the day to hit a quick workout with you. Who knows. Maybe they’re dying for the opportunity to exercise, but don’t want to come off as the obsessed fitness enthusiast that can’t go one day without working out.
4) Try out a circuit routine. If you have been training 1-2 muscle groups per workout (example Monday- back/biceps, Tuesday- chest/triceps, Wednesday- legs, etc…), you will find this very difficult to do at home in a short period of time. Unless you have a home gym that is. Try going high intensity for a week with a circuit where you hit 3 or 4 muscle groups with little to no rest in between sets. This is great if you are pressed for time and forced to workout from home for a few days. Our muscles require 48 hours of rest time before they are reworked (for optimal recovery time), which makes a circuit perfect because you can virtually do the same circuit every other day for the week you can’t make it into the gym.
Bottom line is that you won’t lose your progress if you tone your workouts down a bit during the holidays. The key is to stay active and not stop exercising completely. Stay organized and use what is around you if you can’t make it into the gym. It is equally as important to enjoy your family and friends during this season as it is to exercise. Rest and have fun and indulge (with limits!).