Looking for a little Christmas Fitness Motivation? You’re not alone. Christmas season and winter is a hard time for any athlete. All the events and distractions vying for your time can seem insurmountable. How do you enjoy this amazing time of year, not gain the 12 pounds of Christmas and still stay fit? Here are a few tips to guide you through this busy season.
1. Plan ahead and find a balance. Christmas is an important time of year socially and professionally. Let yourself be social, relieve stress and burn off steam from the active summer and fall. However, pick your battles at this time of year. If you love wine and know you will have a few glasses, maybe don’t enjoy all 28 appetizers. Determine what you are truly craving, enjoy it in moderation and be satisfied.
2. Quick, healthy snacks and meals. I don’t have to remind you that the more weight you pack on now, the more weight you will have to lose later! A little weight gain in the off-season is ok and is useful for recovering from a season, just don’t let it get much above 5% of your body weight. A simple suggestion: I tell my athletes is to stock the house with veggies, fruit, nuts and other healthy snacks and meal options. This makes it convenient to eat healthy while tired and busy.
3. Don’t eat as a form of fidgeting. With the many social events of the season, people find themselves eating as something to do, instead of satisfying their hunger. It’s easy to hover over the food and keep their hands busy by grabbing a few extra crab cakes. Put all the food you intend to eat on a plate to monitor quantity, step away form the food with a nice glass of wine and enjoy a conversation. Never go to an event ravenous and try and eat healthy while still indulging in a few of your favorites.
4. Strive to maintaining a healthy active lifestyle. This is extremely important. As schedules get busier, expect training routines to change. If you are out until 1am, it may not be an option to get up at 5am and ride your bike. Be flexible with your training, don’t just cancel it. Get creative with your scheduling and try some new activities during a lunch hour or around work (yoga, TRX classes, lunch time runs, spin classes, etc). Set realistic training goals over the season and develop a schedule that is attainable. Cycling for even 30 mins to get the blood flowing and keep the metabolism up will do wonders for preventing weight gain and keeping the body and mind stimulated. Having set workouts in your schedule will help keep the eating regimented at a time of year when meals seem never-ending.
5. This season try setting a challenge for yourself. It can be as creative as you wish, with the goal to keep yourself active. An example includes: making a goal to workout 5 days a week in Dec and Jan, including cycling 2x/week and exploring 3 new activities over that same week. Another example: doing a certain amount of daily pushups and sit-ups. Give yourself a reward at the end of your challenge to help motivate yourself. Maybe buy those new bike shoes, a jacket, wheels, a trip, etc. These types of challenges help you keep some structure in a time of year where there is little routine.
6. Enjoy other activities. Have the mantra of an active, healthy lifestyle, rather than specific training. Try something new or engage in some of your favorite activities, such as skiing, snowshoeing, xc skiing, fat-tire biking, sledding with your kids, etc. When you are on the bike, try adding some intensity for time crunched sessions. Intensity will help maintain fitness, increase strength and power and improve your cycling. If you are still struggling with motivation, join a group. These can be organized like hiring a coach, attending spin classes or strength programs, or can be as easy as finding a workout partner. It’s always good to be held accountable. Remember though, you don’t always need to spend money to train or get fit.
Good Luck. Happy Training and Happy Holidays!
This guest post was written by Grant Burwash, BSc. Kinesiology.
Photo credit (unchanged): Carrie Stephens http://www.flickr.com/photos/carriestephens/75978845/http://photopin.com/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”