Saturday, December 19, 2009

7 Ways to Keep Fit over the Holidays

When it comes to the holiday season, everyone gets busier than usual, between Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, the onset of more social gatherings, holiday parties, and traveling, it is easy for your workout routine to suffer.

Unfortunately, the fact that the holidays also entail more drinking and eating than usual, it is a time one would think to be MORE important to keep up with one’s fitness regimen in order to keep ourselves from mirroring Santa Claus’ waistline or losing the fitness level we have built throughout the year.

Fortunately, with a little proactive planning, you can maintain your fitness level, no matter where you are or how busy you get. The key is to be creative and practice shorter but more intense workouts. Here are a few tips on how to keep in shape while you travel:

Do a "Condensed-but-Intense-Workout"

If you are familiar with my blog, you know that my entire philosophy revolves around the theory of ‘quality over quantity’ when it comes to working out. That being said, go ahead and customize your own 30 min workout.

For example, you may choose to warm up with 5 - 7 minutes of jumping jacks, running on the spot, vertical jumps, burpees or any other activity of your choice. Then combine three lower body exercises (eg. lunges, wall squats, one leg squats) and three upper body exercises (eg. chair dips, push-ups, running arms).Then finish up with some abdominal exercises, low back lifts and stretches.

Or, try one of my workouts throughout this blog, a couple I recommend include:

Get Up 30 Minutes Earlier

Our time over the holidays tends to be packed with family and friend events, shopping, baking, traveling etc. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day and not have time to squeeze in a workout. To defeat this, try getting up 30 minutes earlier, as difficult as it is, 30 minutes of sleep won’t kill you and the exercise in the morning will actually provide more energy throughout your day. Getting out of bed is the hardest part!Get Active in Airports

If flight delays leave you with extra time at the airport, take advantage of it. Store your luggage in an airport locker and take a brisk walk through the terminal or take a jog outside the airport.

Everything in Moderation

Rather than trying to stick to a diet over the holidays, go ahead and enjoy a little of your favorites. Dieting and depriving yourself makes for a miserable experiece and often leads to binging later on. Instead, have a snack such as an apple with peanut butter, or nuts and fruit, before your event or party so you don't arrive starving. Then choose 1 or 2 of your favorite indulgences and thoroughly enjoy them. This way you won't feel like you missed out but you also won't have overdone it.

Bring Tubes, Bands and More

Don't leave out fitness equipment when you’re packing for a trip. Bring fitness videos, sneakers, workout apparel, a bathing suit or other gear that you can fit in your bag. Inspirational memos from a trainer or a motivational CD could help you get moving. However, most people find keeping a picture of a piece of clothing they would like to wear and feel great in seems to work best.

Get a Jump Rope

Jumping rope is an incredible, efficient way to get in a few minutes of intense cardio exercise and it can be done just about anywhere. If you don’t have a jump rope, try climbing flights of stairs instead.
Here is an example jump rope workout to try:

Plan to Relax

Don't overdo it. Staying fit is important, but don’t lose sight of the real reason for the holidays; spending time with family and friends. If the idea of exercising over the holidays makes your stomach turn, then view this as your time to take a break from it – a week or two won’t kill you. Bottom line: the holidays is the one time of year you should truly enjoy.

Ease Back Into Your Routine

Depending on how much you worked out during your travel, you may need to gradually ease back into your old routine. You may want to consider using lighter weights or decrease the intensity or the duration of your workouts until you can return to pre-holiday conditions.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!


  1. You are about a week late! I had plans EVERY night since Monday of last week and didnt't work out - and I wondered, what would Amanda say about this?

  2. Haha, You crack me up - sorry for the delay, I was in transit and started thinking about how much workouts suffer over the holidays!