Holiday Fitness Survival Guide!

11.15.2011 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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WOW's contributing personal trainer, Becky Johnson, gives WOW members a little insight into surviving the holidays and how to keep up your fitness level...

No, this isn’t a blog about how to keep your sanity while your in-laws and extended family invade your home for the holidays. But I will talk about surviving the holidays while keeping your fitness sanity!

The holidays are quickly approaching, the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. This is the time of year when people cut back on outside activities and trips to the gym…and start putting on extra pounds.

Who wants to start another year with a resolution to drop those holiday pounds and get to the gym more often? Make your resolution now to keep up with exercise and good nutrition through the next two months.

Everyone experiences interruptions in their exercise schedule from time to time. Whether it’s the holidays, vacation, injury or illness, it can force us to take some time off. It’s ok if you can’t stick to your workout schedule when you’re crazy-busy. Write yourself a short-term pass if you feel stressed about fitting everything in. But remember, exercise helps relieve stress!

So how can you keep your exercise workout a priority when your schedule changes? And how little exercise can I get away with and still maintain?

If your goal is to maintain your fitness level during the holidays, then most experts agree 30 minutes of moderate exercise every other day should be enough.

If your current fitness level is high and you want to keep it that way, you’ll need to adjust your exercise time, type and intensity.

If you need to reduce your training time for a couple of weeks, don’t worry, you’ll get back your current fitness level pretty quickly when your schedule returns to normal. Just don’t stop exercising all together.

Here are some ways to keep going through the holidays:

1. Keep up with exercise. The best routine is one that’s flexible. The “all or nothing” attitude leads to burn out and stress. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to happen in the gym. Count everyday activities like walking the dog, a bike ride with the kids or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator.

2. Schedule and plan ahead. Exercise in the morning and you are more likely to do it. Put your workout time on your calendar. Ask your family and friends for support.

3. At a minimum, perform two high-quality, high-intensity, 30 minute training sessions each week during the holidays and you should be able to maintain your fitness level until you can resume your usual program.

4. Add interval training. Studies have shown that you can prevent declines in cardiovascular fitness for up to three weeks just by doing higher intensity exercise (70-75% of maximum heart rate) for as little as two days per week. Refer to my previous blog on interval training for some great tips.

5. Add any short high-intensity workout in order to burn more calories in less time.

6. Exercise at home with exercise DVD’s or check out a few from your local library. Try some body weight exercises like push ups, squats, lunges, tricep dips on a chair, and abdominal crunches.

Remember to maintain a balanced attitude and enjoy the shorter workouts. This may be a good time to make exercise a family activity. The holidays are about enjoying and appreciating family, friends and life so don’t worry about missing your favorite Zumba class this week or shortening your usual strength training session. There is no chance to rewind these special moments so enjoy them!

Stay Healthy and Fit,
- Becky

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