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Fitness, General Health

How to Stay on Track With Your Workouts During the Holidays

By Shannon Cole on Nov 15, 2023 9:45:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year! It’s full of family, presents, and of course–food! As much as I love all the seasonal treats and family gatherings where carb-heavy and often fattening foods are front and center, it can feel overwhelming enough that it takes away from the holiday cheer.

Many people take this time to take a break from their workouts (or just make excuses not to do them at), but it really does make a huge difference in how we feel and progress with our fitness goals throughout the holiday season. 

Our schedules always seem so jam-packed from Halloween through January 1, but it is 100% possible to stay on track with your workouts–trust me! Between baking holiday cookies and Christmas shopping, maintaining a workout schedule is within your reach.

Adjust Your Goals

Is now the best time to train for a marathon? Or is something that will require 5 to 6 days a week in the gym really possible? Well…in some instances, maybe, but it is much harder to accomplish during this time of the year. For example, losing weight and reducing body fat may be important to you, and it is something you want to accomplish, but it might be better to shift expectations during these next couple of months. 

I’m not saying to disregard ANY fitness or health-related goals you may have, but you ultimately want to set yourself up for success. I know that I eat way more desserts during this time of the year, so the likelihood that I’ll see a drop in body fat percentage is really slim; I can try, but I’ll probably deprive myself of a lot of my favorite foods that I only get to enjoy during the holiday season. So instead, a more realistic goal would be to maintain my body fat percentage. It will still take commitment and balance in terms of nutrition, but I have a greater chance of maintaining my lean muscle mass while enjoying the holidays, than trying to overextend myself and be miserable missing out on yummy desserts.

And if weight loss is still something you want to strive for–awesome! Just consider it may not be as substantial as other months (and that’s okay!). When you are on track with your goals, it makes showing up for your workouts a lot more fun.  

Adjust Your Schedule

If your evenings are now spent holiday shopping or making Christmas bark, it may be harder to fit in your typically-scheduled workouts. Instead of making the excuse that “you don’t have time”, you need to go ahead and find that time.

Maintaining a workout schedule is not just important for your overall health, but it can provide a sense of normalcy during this hectic season. The holidays can seem like a blur, so during this season, I really cherish my workout time as my “me” time. Workouts are always a time to celebrate you and do what’s right for your physical and mental being, but it’s just as, if not more, important during this time.

If this means you need to adjust your schedule every week, do it. It’s worth it.

Adjust Your Workouts

This is the time when I like to have some fun with my workouts! Since I don’t plan on going super hard with my goals during this time, I like to experiment with new forms of exercises and variations of different movements.

Some options can involve using unconventional weights like sandbags and tires, or I may try some time-under-tension bodyweight movements I usually neglect most of the year. Whatever that looks like for you, this is a great opportunity to challenge your body in different ways, and maybe focus on areas that you are deficit or weaker in. 

If you’re a runner, this is the time to rehab those nagging aches and pains with therapeutic exercises that isolate certain muscles; this could be the gluteus medius or calf muscles. If you’re a powerlifter, now would be a good time to take a few weeks off to strengthen smaller muscle groups to prevent muscle imbalances. Doing these things can absolutely help you progress in your lifts and performance when the holiday season is over–which makes showing up for these workouts well worth it. 

Fitting in your workouts, whether at home or away for the holidays, be a struggle. But with the MAPS At-Home Holiday Bundle, you’ll have plenty of resources at your fingertips to help you stay on track through New Year’s Day!

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Shannon Cole

Shannon Cole is an ISSA certified personal trainer and lives in the Dallas area. She is a certified nutrition coach through NASM and NCI, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. After obtaining her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication she eventually gravitated to personal training, and hasn't turned back since. Her passion for athletics and fitness initially stemmed from her high school years playing golf, and her love for the sport still hasn't faded; her career goal is to obtain her Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certification and develop strength and conditioning programs for golfers. You can usually find her working out in her garage gym, or training for the next Spartan Race with her husband.

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