It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also the busiest. The holidays are upon us, shopping is a second job, we have places to be and people to see every weekend, and many businesses have year-end things that need to get done and we work late. It feels as though we run out of time for everything. It isn’t a surprise that we get off track: off track with our eating habits, off track with our exercise routines, and off track with our stress levels. The unhealthy habits and temptations start up, but so does the slacking. How many times have you told yourself “I’ll get back on track in January?” Pushing off your healthy routines only sets you back. If only we had our own personal assistants to keep us in line. Since we cannot have that (darn!), we need to be responsible for our own health habits. Here’s how you can get started:
- Set a plan – and stick to it! Take out your agenda or google calendar and write down your daily to-do lists. Work days get longer and there are holiday parties to attend. We know that these instances come up, so plan around them! Find space in the week where you can get that work out in. It may not be everyday, but it will fit in somewhere during the week. We also know that holiday parties come with treats and adult beverages. There may be more “cheat” days involved, but plan around that with healthy meals to strike that balance. Fit in time to meal prep at the beginning of the weak so that you can enjoy those occasional treats without all of the guilt.
- Set small goals. The holidays may not be a time that we can expect to achieve a challenging goal or a PR that you have been striving for. That’s okay! Find some smaller, simpler goals to hit. Maybe they are daily or weekly, or something small that you want to accomplish before the end of the year. Keeping up with these smaller goals helps you stay on track to achieving that larger goal once time opens up. It will also make that larger goal seem more manageable. What is an idea of a smaller goal? You could try to drink more water during the day than you usually do. You could spend a few more minutes meal prepping so that you are not rushed the next day or grab something that is less healthy. Whatever goal you choose, keep it realistic. Stress creeps up during the holidays, so creating goals that are hard to achieve will become overwhelming.
- Cut yourself some slack. You have worked hard all year. You know it, we know it, and the sweaty person next to you in class knows it. Slip-ups and unplanned events will happen this time of year, and it is inevitable. There may be times you miss a workout or you indulge in something that you usually don’t include in your diet. Life happens and you cannot beat yourself up over it. We aren’t saying to make excuses or feel guilty, but enjoy the times when “life happens” and that it is okay to indulge sometimes! You know that you are usually eating well and working out consistently so you are healthy enough to enjoy those unplanned events.
- Maximize the time you do spend working out. What measures a good workout? Is it the amount of time we spent working out, how destroyed we feel after, or how sore we are the next day? The answer to that question is none of the above. 15-20 minutes and your own bodyweight can get you a good workout in a small amount of time. They are designed to keep the rest time in between moves short so that you maximize your time. Try doing rounds of compound movements or full bodyweight moves, and if you have more time, add in extra rounds! Can’t run your usual 5 miles after work? Hit the pavement or treadmill and crank out 2-3 instead. You could also add sprint intervals for 7 – 10 minutes to get that heart rate up in a short amount of time.
- Move more throughout the day. This time of the year can also bring on some cold, snowy and rainy weather. It makes getting outside tougher. That being said, find more ways to move throughout your day. Get up every hour and go for a two minute walk. Research some desk exercise routines (believe it or not, they exist). An added bonus to this is the fact that moving more helps to improve your posture. Strong posture is necessary to keep your body moving in the ways that we need it to. All in all, working out doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym, it just means getting up more.
Don’t get us wrong: we want you to go out and have fun with family and friends and coworkers. Enjoy some of those holiday treats here and there. Enjoy this time of year; it goes by soooo fast. Just because the holidays get busy, doesn’t mean you have to chase a new personal record or a challenging goal. You can still stay on track and keep moving forward towards your goals. Take time to find that balance that will work best for you. After all, there is no time like the preset.
P.S. Be sure to keep up with our holiday schedule and when/what classes are held!