Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Holiday Fitness Slump

Has anyone else felt the holiday fitness slump?
 I feel like it has definitely hit me (as of last week). It is so not like me to not want to get out and go for a run, yet, this week I have found myself barely getting out the door. So as the temperature outside begins to drop, the calendar fills up and the holiday sweets pile up in front of your face,  
how do you keep your fitness on track? 
Well, I have a few ideas...

1.  High-Intensity Interval Workouts: 
When time is limited, high-intensity workouts 2-3 times a week are the way to go. Try increasing the incline or the speed on the treadmill for an added difficulty and decrease the time limit. This will push your limits, burn fat and continue to burn calories throughout the day.
Bonus points during the holidays! 
Try using a 3:1 ratio on the treadmill--

Begin with a 1-2 minute warm up 
Set the speed to a comfortably hard pace, hold that for 3 minutes and follow it with 1 minute recovery (running at a comfortable pace). 
Repeat this 4-5 times. 

2. AM Workouts!
You are much more likely to stay on track if you begin your day with your workout. It is even more true during this time of the year--things come up, workouts get pushed aside and you feel awful about it. Start your day off on the right foot with a short, but hard workout to stay focused during this holiday season.

3.   Explore Indoor Options: 
Winter months are the best time to have a gym membership. I find that once I walk into the gym, I'm much less likely to back out of a work out once I'm there. Give other exercise options a try: weight lifting, the bike, elliptical, yoga or even the dreaded treadmill.  Or maybe now is a good time to join some of those group classes you have been curious about: Barre 3, Zumba, boot camp classes, or maybe Cross Fit. Don't want to pay for a gym? Try purchasing workout videos and participate in these activities in the comfort of your own home. always has great deals and it's a cheap option if you're looking for one. Explore a few of these ideas.

 4.  Quality Time with You
Give yourself at least a few minutes a day where you can unplug from social media, remove yourself from the holiday chaos and focus on nothing but yourself. Allow time in the day to meditate--whether it's 10 minutes or 60, make time for it. Utilize this time to clear your mind. Don't worry about what needs to be done or who you still haven't found a present for--instead, take a deep breath and give your brain a break for these brief moments. Giving yourself the gift of de-stressing for a few moments a day will benefit your health immensely. We often forget to give ourselves these moments and we neglect our desire for personal down time.  

5.  Motivational Mantras:
I've said it before, motivational mantras and quotes are key. All athletes has at least one that they live by. Print your favorite quotes that inspire you to be active and post them somewhere that you have to look at every day, i.e. your bathroom mirror. This way, every day you are reminded of your health and fitness goals during the holidays. 

6.  Sleep Is Your Friend: 
The holidays can be stressful, give yourself time to SLEEP and let your batteries recharge. When your body is well rested, you are much more likely to exercise, use your free time wisely and less likely to snack on junk food. When you are tired, your body craves energy (i.e. simple carbohydrates and sugar). With adequate rest, your health and fitness will follow.  

7.  Find A Balance: 
THE FOOD, my-oh-my the holiday food! I think this is at the top of everyone's holiday slump list. We tend to make excuses for the way we eat because, well, "It's the holidays!" You're right. It is the holiday season and it is okay to indulge in the sweets a little bit. What isn't however, is to fully binge  on these foods to the point of wanting to be sick. So find a balance and plan out your meals carefully this holiday season. If you know you will be attending a social gathering or holiday party, understand that you probably won't find a hearty kale salad waiting for you...COME'll find pie, cookies, loaded mash potatoes and gravy! Game plan? Pack healthier snacks and make an extra effort to focus on your nutrition that day. This way, you can actually enjoy the food at the party without feeling guilty. I like to think of food as a reward for my hard work. If I know that I'm going to eat a "heavy" meal, I go for a hard, distant run that allows me to burn a lot of calories and "work for my food" so-to-speak. I feel better about eating these things and find that I don't over eat them. 

As I mentioned, this week I really struggled to get out the door and had to feel comfortable with much shorter workouts. Here's a photo from my morning run this AM--it took a lot of push to get me out the door, but hey, I'm glad I did!
Don't get the holiday bulge... get the edge this holiday season and keep moving!

What do you do to stay motivated during the holidays?


  1. I agree! It's been a struggle to stay motivated to workout since Thanksgiving. I don't have any races to train for and it is just so stinkin cold (negative 17 when I ate breakfast). I would have to add MUSIC. When I'm not in the mood to workout, I just have to play some good, motivating music (on the louder side) and then usually I'm over the funk for the day.

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  3. Wow! Negative 17 degrees where you are? Brrrr! I agree with you about music, music is a great motivator! I would love to be one of those runners that doesn't use it but when I'm running alone, I definitely need that beat to keep me going. Thank you for the comment Kiley!