Zen & M’s: Winter is coming Part 2: How to avoid looking like Santa
The most important part about working out during the holidays is to prioritize your exercise, which is, in many cases, easier said than done. We’re stressing over buying presents for our families, friends and secret snowflakes, our schedules are busy with holiday parties and winter-themed events, and there’s the stress of three more weeks of school until we can all take a collective sigh of relief!
But, I promise you that the challenge of getting your workouts into your schedule will help you in the long run. The exercise will give you more energy to enjoy yourself during all of the holiday festivities, and I can testify to the fact that sitting on your butt, eating cookies and telling yourself the gym can wait is not as much fun as it sounds. Cookies are awesome and so is the couch, but whenever I do this, I feel sluggish and sad. Instead of having visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, I start dreaming about reps in the gym. Yes, that has happened. Multiple times.
In order to keep up your workouts during this busy, treat-filled season, make a plan and stick to it. For instance, I have my usual workout schedule, and right now, it is very strict. I consider my gym time just as mandatory as practices and rehearsals in my schedule during this time of year.
But remember, in order to succeed, you have to make it fun for yourself! Switch up your workouts to prevent boredom. Last week I tried this Lady Gaga ab workout, and it was a ton of fun! It got my mind engaged, my adrenaline pumping and made me super excited for the rest of my workout too. It was a great way to get back in the game after Thanksgiving dinner!
Another good way to keep yourself interested is to work out with a buddy. When I’m on the elliptical with a friend, 60 minutes goes by like 60 seconds. I look forward to yoga every Wednesday in part because I go with one of my best friends. The great thing about yoga, as well, is that since it is taught as a class, I rely on someone else to keep me going and to run my workout. All I have to do is show up.
Look around you. It’s winter time, and there are a ton of activities associated with the season that you can go out and enjoy while working out. Ice skating, snowshoeing and skiing are only a few options. Or, you can turn to what is, in my opinion, the hardest winter workout: shoveling. Your shoulders will be killing by the end, but at least you’ve scored some great definition and maybe even some chore money.
If you go away during the holidays, make sure you ask anyone you’re staying with if they have a nearby gym membership, or see if the hotel you’re staying at has a gym. If not, there are always exercise videos on Hulu. In the worst case scenario, running, push ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks are portable.
Now that you have ideas for your workout, look at holiday unhealthiness as a challenger you need to defeat. Instead of putting exercise on the back burner, kick it up a notch. Add a mile, add 10 minutes, add an extra day to your workouts, but whatever you do, make sure it helps you accomplish your goals.
Speaking of goals, don’t set them aside because of the holidays! Of course, there is a significant greater amount of cakes casually lying around during this season, so you do need to be realistic. And, maybe one of your goals is simply maintaining the fitness level you’re at right now. But, whether your goal is to exercise more, lose weight or define your triceps (my goal of the moment), you shouldn’t deprive yourself of the gift of conquering your personal obstacles.
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you take a splurge day and then another splurge day and then maybe sit on the couch the next day watching holiday movies, it’s still not too late to get back on the horse. Working out is for you. It will make you feel good, make you look good and most importantly, give you more room for sweets in your tummy!
So, give yourself a gift this holiday season — treat your body the way it deserves.