11 Tips To Stick With Your Workouts Through The Holidays

by tinareale on December 2, 2013

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It’s official, I’m in Christmas spirit mode! How about you? If not, I can understand that too. It can be a hectic time of year with lots of extra stress, whether it be the kind we put on ourselves or the kind caused by stressful situations and/or relationships. I know that, for me, exercise helps tremendously when dealing with that stress so I can truly get in a holly jolly mood. To help ensure I get that workout in I make sure to have a regular routine. Below, I share some tips on how to create a holiday workout routine you can stick with through the holidays. No need to wait until the new year. Get going now!

Tips To Stick With A Holiday Workout Routine

  1. Plan ahead. What things are most likely to get in the way of your workouts? Determine those and then plan ahead for ways you can deal with them. Don’t wait until you’re in the moment. Have a plan of attack before the excuses can get the best of you. See the next tips for ways to do that.
  2. Rise Early. I know, I know. A lot of us don’t like to get up any earlier than we have to or don’t feel like we’re awake enough to get in a quality workout. I’m an early riser, but admit it’s hard for me to workout super early too. BUT. But, I know that when life is busier I need to get my workout out of the way before life and schedules can take over. Perhaps take this week to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier per morning so you can hopefully be able to rise and shine for a 30 minute workout in the morning before the day gets away from you by next week.
  3. Plan for short and sweet. Adjust your expectations from the start. Yes, you may regularly complete upwards of an hour long training session six days per week normally. That doesn’t mean your body needs that much exercise. Go ahead and plan for workouts to be 20-30 minutes in length. Then, if you have time for a bit more some days…well, that’s just icing on the gingerbread man cookie.
  4. Less is more. Just as you should adjust your expectations about the length of your workout, you should also adjust your expectations on how often you will fit in a workout. It’s okay to plan for only 3 or 4 days per week. Make those workouts count, then enjoy your extra time the other days guilt free.
  5. Have back-up workouts. Normally head out for a long run? Drive to the gym for your favorite class? Or wake up early enough for your favorite hour long DVD? Know that there will be days the planned workout falls through. Maybe the weather is too icy to run or the gym is closed or you ran out of time. Right now, have a plan in place with some workouts you can easily do anywhere. Bodyweight circuits – like my No Excuses and 30 Minute Bodyweight Circuits -  or a quick and sweet DVD (like Jillian Michaels) are great options.
  6. Amp it up. Since you will likely work out less frequently or for shorter durations during this busy season, make sure you give a lot of energy to a quality workout when you can fit one in. Circuits that combine cardio and strength, intervals for higher intensity cardio, or some boot camp type cardio drills will have you sweating in no time at all. Twenty minutes will be all you need!
  7. Then, calm it down. This may seem counterintuitive to what I just suggested. While it is important to get the most of every minute of your workout, higher intensity training sessions do add stress to the body. It’s the “good stress” when done for a few, shorter sessions. However, doing too much high intensity, especially during a higher stress time of year, can hurt you. Schedule in workouts that are relaxing and give you a release – a short walk or quick, calming yoga stretch will do wonders.
  8. Check it off. To-do lists are motivating and can keep our lives organized. We have to-do lists for gifts to purchase, cards to send, parties to attend, and cookies to bake. Why not just slap a workout on that to-do list as well? It will feel extra good checking that one off as you go. I promise.
  9. Accountability. Knowing you have someone to support you and check in with you is huge for motivation. Partner up with a friend you know is looking to stay in shape this holiday season as well. Join one of the holiday challenges going on around the blog world. Start up a Facebook group. Just find a way to get some accountability to keep you going.
  10. Fuel well. You’re not going to feel like working out if you feel like crap from eating a ton of crap. Yep, I said it. You need to honor your body with good nutrition, which will help you feel more energized and ready for that workout. Sure, there will be more cookies and party appetizers than normal. That’s cool. Just make sure to balance it all out by choosing healthy foods for the remainder of your meals.
  11. Don’t fret the missed workout. It’s gonna happen. And it’s OKAY! When it does, please don’t throw in the towel and think it’s hopeless to try to stick with any workout right now. Pick up where you left off and give it your best shot again the next day. Use the above suggestions to help make it more realistic for you and then do what you can. Just don’t give up on yourself.

What do do you do to help stick with a workout routine during the holidays? If you need some extra help or inspiration, be sure to check out the Best Body Fitness Holiday Workout Plan for a ready made 4-week routine with community support to get you through!


1 MizBeAWalker December 2, 2013 at 7:10 am

here it is all about the rise early—-HOLIDAYS AND BEYOND.

2 Marilyn December 2, 2013 at 7:48 am

I love how encouraging yet realistic this is!

3 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) December 2, 2013 at 8:02 am

Ah, yes, yes, yes! Thanks for the reminder. I need to get with it after Thanksgiving! :)

4 Amanda @runtothefinish December 2, 2013 at 8:27 am

yup, perfect list!!! I think don’t fret is huge as it snowballs in to all kinds of things! Instead follow the new mantra i learned from MizFit what you can when you can :)

5 Cori @ olivetorun December 2, 2013 at 9:23 am

Great tips to pass on and share! Thanks Tina <3

6 Parita @ myinnershakti December 2, 2013 at 9:24 am

Love this list. The key for me is not to overthink my workouts over the holidays. I try to maintain the “do what you can” attitude!

7 Dominique @ Eat, Pray, Lift December 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

Fabulous list! I’m definitely a fan of the less-is-more workouts during the Christmas season (and vacations, and any other busy times of year).
What helps me stick with workouts during the holidays is giving myself some freedom in workouts- sometimes, I just tell myself “get in there for 45 minutes and challenge yourself with whatever sounds FUN!” and it ends up being a great workout. :)
And take advantage of having more time with family and friends! It can be really motivating to plan a workout with someone you don’t normally get to have as a workout buddy.

8 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast December 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

Perfect less! I’ve been using ‘less is more’ a lot lately. :)

9 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf December 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

Such great tips! Especially 3, 4, and 5. Really important for me to have the perspective that less is more and to not overburden myself during the holidays.

10 Melanie @ Nutritious Eats December 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Great tips! I seriously can’t wait to break a good sweat after this baby comes- 4 more weeks (well plus post-partum waiting time)!! ;)

11 tinareale December 3, 2013 at 6:50 am

I remember feeling the SAME way!

12 Megan (The Lyons' Share) December 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm

These are wonderful tips, Tina! It’s all about making it count during the holidays, and giving yourself some grace when you can’t fit in everything you had initially hoped! I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

13 Lisa December 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Fitting in workouts is never the issue for me! I find a way. The FOOD during the holidays is the issue!

14 tinareale December 3, 2013 at 6:52 am

Food is hard to balance, isn’t it? I always struggle balancing food more than fitness. Kind of have a post about that in my mind too.

15 Heather @ Better With Veggies December 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

This year, it’s knowing how much BETTER I feel when I’m active and eat nutritiously. The end is it’s own reward. Wow – I have come a long way. :)

16 Coco December 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I love all of these ideas! Lowering expectations (short and sweet) helps take the stress out of fitting it in.

17 Andrew December 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

Fantastic ideas and great lists indeed! I have to check my eating habit first! :)

18 Heather Murphy December 3, 2013 at 7:43 am

These are great! When December hits I already know it is going to be crazy and workouts ready for the change. I think having a few you can do at the house is crucial because you can get it in at anytime! Thanks for the tips, Tina!

19 lindsay December 3, 2013 at 7:53 am

getting up early really helps me! great tips friend

20 Linz @ Itz Linz December 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

LOVE everything about this post! the holidays CAN be manageable AND enjoyable!

21 Danica @ It's Progression December 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Fantastic tips, Tina!

22 Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition December 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Don’t fret is a big one! It wasn’t until after I was able to do this that workouts became fun and not stressful

23 kristen @ livinlifeinlouie December 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I usually have to get my workouts in ASAP, but the evening I am done! But today, I am going to try and workout after my 12 hour shift….here goes nothing!

24 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut December 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Goodness I am pretty bad about getting workouts in around the holidays. That can be changed though! The good thing is that I let myself eat what I want all year so I don’t feel like I have to binge!

Thanks for this post and I’m pinning that image! :)

25 Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life December 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

I am in love with this post! In fact, I touched on similar topics on my blog post today! I agree, over analyzing our holiday eats can cause stress am guilt. Holiday eating should be fun, and when combined with exercise and every day healthy eating, it can fit perfectly into any healthy lifestyle! :)

26 Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life December 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

I actually mean for my above comment to be on today’s post (12/04)! Not sure what happened lol! I like this post too though! ;)

27 Anna Dawson December 6, 2013 at 11:14 pm

It is important to be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

28 teresa December 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Thanks for the great tips — I’ll be liking you you in my blog post tomorrow from http://www.eatdrinkandbeskinny.com. Never too many tips to stay fit in the frightful-frigid cold!

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