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Friday, November 14, 2014

10 Strategies to Keep Consistent Workouts During the Holidays

Can you really keep it going during the holidays?
“But it was their big one-day sale!” my client said, exasperated I appeared a little annoyed she had blown off our last session. “No way could I fit in our hour workout and hit Macy’s one-hour linen sale. I mean, come on, they had Ralph Lauren duvet covers 60 percent off!”

I gave my client a shocked What planet do you live on look and stood by my word: Not only was I upset she insouciantly blew off a session, I was charging her double for missing out. (See strategy number four.)

It wasn’t about the money. I was going to donate any “doubles” to a homeless war veterans fund anyway. My policy was based on making a commitment and sticking to it.

To my client, a Macy’s one-day sale (don’t they have those every day during the holidays?) became more important than getting lean, toned, and healthy. Her priorities had become out of whack, and I was hitting up her wallet to get them straight.

Still, I spared an ounce of pity here: The holidays can become a challenge as you
juggle impending office deadlines, gift shopping, and an endless procession of holiday parties with your regular workout routine.

Do whatever it takes to keep a consistent schedule. To provide a little help, I’ve brainstormed these 10 strategies to make sticking with your workouts… Well, not easier, but less challenging. Come New Year’s Day, you can thank me with a box of my favorite chocolates.

1.     Make bets with your friend(s) that you'll go consistently. Around this time – pre-Thanksgiving, when you’re about to have a few Friday-night tequilas with your girlfriends – make bets that you will hit the gym during the holidays. Write it down and sign off if you need to. Throw some money down. The first person who blows off their workout loses the bet. Of course it won’t be you.

2.    No gym, no pumpkin pie (or whatever your vice is). Denial is a futile game. You know the pious proclamations: “I’m going to totally abstain from anything carb-y on Thanksgiving day.” Next thing you know, you’ve devoured second helpings of cranberry-walnut stuffing and make a festive run for the white chocolate peppermint cheesecake. You needn’t feel guilty, though, because you fit in a butt kicking workout that morning while your lush-y cousins were pulling back spiked eggnog.

3.    Schedule it early so you aren't tempted to blow it off. Your already-overbooked schedule just got a lot busier with a year-end work project. And why on earth did you volunteer for your daughter’s third-grade Christmas pageant? Somewhere in there, you need to fit regular workouts. Brutal as it sounds, knocking workouts out at 7 a.m. takes a lot of pressure off your day, boosts your endorphins, and leaves you far less tempted to blow them off. Set your coffee maker, set your iPhone, and even if you want to pull the sheets over your head when it goes off at 6 a.m., get your butt out of bed.

4.    Tell your trainer to charge you double if you don't show. I keep this rule during the holidays, and most clients happily acquiesce to their schedules because working out becomes that important. (With that much money at stake, you can make very sure they didn’t miss it.) If your trainer doesn’t have this rule, ask for it. He or she will certainly take you up on it!

5.    Mix up your routine. Speaking of trainers, holidays become the perfect time to book a fitness coach to mix up your routine so your workouts don’t become as stale as aunt Martha’s fruitcake. Little secret: we’re a little slower during the holidays, so we might become more willing to give you a great package deal if you ask and aren’t a total PITA (pain in the ass). If a trainer isn’t in your budget, try a new class or vary your lifting routine with fewer reps and heavier weights.

6.    Give yourself the gift of fitness. In the season of giving, we often neglect ourselves. What better time to recommit to our own health and well-being? Fitting in an hour of fitness becomes the best way to do that. So does renewing your gym membership or booking a training package. How about having me in your home or apartment with The Jinifit Virtual Training System™?

7.    Keep your Big Reason in mind. Sometimes in the moment’s frenzy, we miss the bigger picture about why we work so hard going to the gym at 6 a.m. Determine your big goal, write it down, and keep it nearby on days where you feel less than motivated. Maybe you want to look fabulous in that slinky little black dress for your boyfriend’s company’s New Year’s Eve party. Perhaps you want to keep up with your kids at the park, make your sister jealous, reduce your risk for breast cancer, or have better sex. Whatever your Big Reason, determine why you’re putting in all that work.

8.   Make a New Years fitness goal and then commit to it a month early. I’m all about the lofty, reach-really-high goals for January 1. Far more often, we give lip service to these resolutions but then abandon them as the New Year approaches. Here’s a radical strategy: Make a big goal and then put it into practice on December 1. You’ll be one month ahead of the curb come January when you’re friends are blowing off, I mean committing to, their big lofty goals.

9.    Double workouts on big party day. “One massive food orgy” is what your receptionist called the annual office holiday blowout. What budget cuts, you wonder as you devour caviar-filled devilled eggs and sip on 30-year-old blended scotch whiskey. Good thing you can do this guilt-free since you worked in strenuous 45-minute morning weight training followed by late-afternoon burst training up the mall stairs. (Yeah, you and your friends got funny looks, but who’s laughing now?)

10.  Use your workout as a cushion for the inevitable indulgences you’ll partake in. You’re going to indulge. Admit it, own it, and then get your butt to the gym on those days when you know it will happen. Note too that I said cushion, not a 20-ton buffer. Half an hour in the weight room does not do damage control for scarfing down four salted-caramel pecan bars, so don’t even try that.

Even among the most fitness-minded, fitting in consistent holiday workouts can become a challenge. What’s your strategy for making them happen no matter what? Share yours below or on my Facebook fan page.

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at© 2014 Jinifit, Inc.

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