It's the Holidays!?!
This is New Orleans... welcome to the holiday season which lasts from Halloween to Mardi Gras (and, for some, until Lent is over!) I hear over and over that people are too busy, too stressed, and don't have time to workout – too many parties and too much to do. Then, after a couple of months, they're not happy about being out of shape or gaining weight. Here are some strategies to help you stay on your fitness regime – or start a new one so that you're not facing January like it's Mount Everest.
MAKE TIME: If it is truly important to you to maintain your level of fitness or prevent holiday spread, then make the time. Schedule your classes and workout times on your calendar for at least four days during the week. I write my workouts for six days on my calendar which allows me to miss one (or two at the most) if I need to. Workouts don't have to be an hour long – which brings us to...
BE EFFICIENT: The best way to be efficient with your workout is to include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This workout alternates intense bursts of activity with less intense activity or rest. For example, running for one minute and then walking for two minutes a total of five times will yield 15 minutes of HIIT. Benefits? Research shows that you accomplish more in those 15 minutes of HIIT than maintaining a steady pace on the treadmill for an hour; it kicks your metabolism (HGH) into overdrive and you burn more fat and calories; it helps with endurance; there's no equipment necessary and you can do it anywhere; combined with weight training, HIIT preserves muscle while decreasing fat; and it's challenging! Our TRX classes are a good example of this type of training.
DON'T OVER-COMMIT: This can be difficult because there's the ever-present guilt factor plus FOMO (the fear of missing out). In determining whether or not to commit to a party or holiday project, ask yourself these questions: 1. What are my motivations? Am I afraid of what people will think if I don't do it or am I people-pleasing? 2. Will I be seeing people that I see all the time or will I be re-connecting and/or making new friends? 3. Will this make me happy and content?
If you go ahead and decide that you do want to go to the party or host one, have fun! But also examine whether you can make things easier on yourself. Must you stay for the entire party? Do you have to make all the dishes yourself, from scratch? Does the entire house have to be spotless? Do you honestly like putting all the decorations out or can someone else help who really enjoys it? What makes you go into overdrive and how can you prevent that?
MONEY: Here's another area where we tend to over-commit – we usually spend more than we mean to. Set a budget for gifts and stick to it. Examine who you're getting gifts for and why. Does Aunt Hilda really need another sweater or would she enjoy lunch out with you more? Do you honestly need to get a gift for all the kids in your child's class? Is there something else you can give people like time after the holidays or something simple that they will appreciate? Does your family absolutely need the latest and greatest?
DE-STRESS: Make time for your workouts to get the stress out of your body, but also make time for the things you appreciate. Take naps to re-charge; read a page-turner; soak in your tub; appreciate what's happening around you and in your life; be grateful; and breathe.
If there's any way I can be helpful to you in planning your strategy, please let me know. I'd also love to hear what has helped you maintain your fitness regime (and sanity) during the holidays!