Although the holidays are an exciting time to spend with our loved ones, the mayhem can take over at times, especially when it comes to fitness.
But there’s no need to sacrifice a fun time for your health during the holidays. Here the experts at SET FOR SET have highlighted six ways to stay fit and healthy while enjoying the festivities.
Plan exercise in advance
The holiday season is undoubtedly chaotic, whether you’re shopping for gifts or catching up with friends and family, but with a hectic schedule, it can feel challenging to fit in some physical activity. Decide which days work best for you to run errands or socialize in the lead-up to the holidays. Once you have prioritized these plans and added them to your calendar, you can figure out the days you have free time for exercise, whether that be a morning, afternoon, or even a whole day. By taking an organized approach, you avoid neglecting fitness while ensuring that you have time for other activities.
Stick to full-body workouts
It’s natural to have less time over the holidays for working out, but if you tend to feel guilty over a lack of exercise, completely cutting it out of your routine may not be suitable.
Full-body workouts are an excellent way to keep your physical activity up while also leaving more room to enjoy the festivities. Doing so means you no longer need to make several trips to the gym during the week to train a different body area in each session. Exercise classes like Pilates and HIIT are a great way to target all muscles in an hour or less, so they’re perfect for when you’re on a time crunch.
Combine protein with festive meals
If you’re eager for muscle growth, you’ll likely be on a high-protein diet. While it’s encouraged to take advantage of the Christmas food and not be so strict with eating habits, it’s still possible to consume high amounts of nutrients as you embrace the festive treats.
There is an abundance of foods that are high in protein, such as camembert, which contains around 20 grams in a 100-gram serving, and turkey, which has 24 grams in just two slices. You can even add protein powder to recipes to make snacks from scratch, like gingerbread men or a chocolate yule log.
Socialize while you workout
If you’ve got plenty of loved ones to catch up with over the holidays, invite them to join you in your workout if you share similar fitness goals. Not only does this kill two birds with one stone, but having a friend there can push you farther and keep you motivated.
Whether you head to the gym together, partake in a class, or go for a run, bringing a friend along makes you much less likely to cancel or make excuses, which, in turn, keeps you in the habit of exercising to prevent any setbacks after the holidays. Alternatively, walking is an excellent way to socialize and is suitable for those who prefer a moderate-intensity workout.
Opt for home workouts
The cold weather can make exercise much more of a burden, and the time it takes to travel to and from the gym might be inconvenient if you’re on a tight schedule.
If you don’t have equipment like dumbbells, you can stick to bodyweight exercises like planks, push-ups, and side lunges—remember to adjust your rep range to around 25 to ensure that your muscles are adequately worn out. For cardio, exercises like star jumps, squat jumps, mountain climbers, and burpees are great to get your heart racing.
Leave room for vegetables
If you’re holding back on indulging in treats due to your fitness goals, you can implement healthy foods into your daily routine to ensure you consume enough nutrients after having a treat. Steaming vegetables is a much healthier way to cook them than boiled, as doing so retains the nutrients that you need to stay healthy. Broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts are just a few examples of vegetables packed with nutrients, such as vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your cells and keeps them healthy.
“Over the holidays, it’s normal for people to exercise less and indulge more in food that they typically wouldn’t eat while on a diet,” says an expert from SET for SET. “It’s important not to feel guilty if you can’t stick to your usual routine. With these tips, you can ensure that you take advantage of the holidays while also staying as healthy as possible to prevent a loss of motivation once the holidays are over.”