By Callie McBride
Ah, wintertime: colder, darker, and shorter days. Longer, warmer, cozier nights. People are visiting family and friends, spending more time together, and indulging in hot chocolate and homemade fires. Or, people are getting crankier, busier with endless holiday spending, and indulging a bit too much in Santa’s Christmas cookies…
However you view the holidays, one thing seems certain: its harder to get to the gym. Um, you want me to wake up at the crack of dawn, climb out from under my mountain of warm blankets when it’s 28 degrees out, and drive all the way to the gym in my car that doesn’t heat up fast enough, and then proceed to RUN for 45 minutes!? Ha, good one.
Well, actually, I do. Here’s why. Staying consistent with workouts year round, as opposed to only certain times of the year, will allow you maintain all of wonderful muscle you have built up. It will improve your cardiovascular health, your stamina and endurance, and it will have you feeling amazing and more energized. Must I continue? The hard part isn’t wanting to maintain your workout regimen during the holidays, it’s actually doing it. These are my favorite ways to stay accountable and active during what seems to be the busiest AND laziest season of all.
-exercise in the morning. Get it done early so that your day can be spent productively and you can wind down in the evening with your favorite tea, book, and company.
-prepare for success. Lay out your workout gear by your bed the night before, constantly update your iPod playlist with new music, and regularly switch up your exercise routine. It’s said a thousand times: preparation is key. Make things easier for yourself!
-stay warm. Whether you are a coffee or hot tea person, make it a morning treat to get you out of bed and onto your workout. If you want to go the extra mile, throw a sweatshirt in the dryer 20 minutes before you head out. Then throw it on and melt in warmth on your way to wherever you work out.
-give the gift of exercise. Many online deals for exercise classes (boxing, yoga, and cycling among many) start to pop up around the holidays; look at Groupon, Living Social, and Daily Candy for deals to gift yourself or a friend for Christmas, then make it a purpose to go together!
-push that coffee-table aside. Instead of trekking to your gym or studio either by foot or by car in a snowstorm, utilize your home space and create your own mini studio. Hop on Youtube and compile a list of videos that include the exercises you want: Tara Stiles is all about “yoga anywhere,” and popular trainers Tracy Anderson and Bop Harper both offer exercise videos for fans to follow along.
-maintain a good sleep schedule. Don’t let the hectic nature of this season cause you to lose sleep over shopping, baking, and other common Christmas activities that should be fun but are usually chaotic. More sleep=more energy=more gym success.
-enjoy yourself! Above all, do not let the pressures of exercising trump the fun to be had around the holidays. As long as you can find a balance between family time, work or school obligations, and various seasonal activities dotting your calendar, you can fit in personal time for some calm yoga or a quick run. Whatever you can do works, as long as you stay active. If all else fails, use VegNew’s annual Christmas Cookie recipe swap as an incentive. For every day that you comply with your workout, you can be “rewarded” with a new recipe to try!
How do you stay motivated during the holidays? Let me know!