It’s hard to keep it real when it comes to holiday fitness. Let’s face it, when you get into holiday mode, it’s easy to stop thinking of your healthy gym routine and start thinking about other things. Fun things. Relaxing things. Tasty things.
Holidays are also a time when it can be hard to keep to your regular fitness routine because you’re probably also travelling a lot. Whether it’s getting away for a week or a month to enjoy the sun or the snow or just getting about here and there on a daily basis to catch up with family or go shopping. Then there’s your night life. Sticking to a routine that revolves around your regular non-holiday program can be impossible when you’re taking a break.
Of course, there’s always plenty of opportunity to ‘repent’ in the new year and even make a resolution to get ‘back on track’. If you’re one of those people who let it all hang loose while you’re in holiday mode and then try and recover what you let go when you get into the swing of the new year, try adjusting your attitude now before you throw away all the gains you’ve made in the last couple of months.
KEEPING HOLIDAY FITNESS REAL
Keeping your fitness real simply means recognizing that fitness – both diet and exercise – is something to enjoy not just as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. Sure, not every session in the gym is fun and there are always going to be times when you’d much rather stuff a piece of pie into your mouth than a kale salad. Everyone feels that way sometimes. But the right attitude towards fitness goes a long way towards realizing that you actually don’t feel that way all the time.
For most people who are working towards keeping fit – at any level – there are a lot of things you know you enjoy about the lifestyle. You enjoy feeling strong and fit. You enjoy feeling light and energetic. You enjoy a good sweat. If you can just accept that fitness is something that has inherent benefits in and of itself and keep that among the things that captivate your attention over the holidays you’ll be able to at least limit the ‘damage’ to a substantial degree.
VALUING FITNESS FOR ITS OWN SAKE
Some of the biggest fitness gurus of the last generation – think Joe Weider, Bonnie Prudden, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons and Jack LaLanne (just to name an elite few) – always valued fitness for its own sake. They managed to successfully market their love of fitness and built multi-million dollar businesses and careers on the back of their enthusiasm for the lifestyle, but at their heart, they were in it for the love of it.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FITNESS?
Seriously. Think about it carefully over the next couple of weeks as you begin to wind down for the year and contemplate all that food and leisure time you’ve got planned. You might be surprised to learn that you really don’t think fitness is all ‘no pain, no gain’. If you know what you like about keeping fit then you can look forward to enjoying a fitness routine throughout the holidays. Fitness and holidays are not mutually exclusive.
If you are looking forward to a ‘break’ from the hard work of fitness in the coming months – good for you. You’ve obviously put in a lot of time and effort this year to improve your health and your life and as with everything you struggle with and achieve it’s important to celebrate and reward yourself, but is overindulging in food, alcohol and leisure really a ‘reward’? Imagine if someone gave you a gift this holiday and when you opened it some or all of your hard-won health and fitness gains just evaporated? I doubt you’d appreciate a gift like that. But so many of us actually give ourselves that ‘gift’ every year.
Why not try something different for your holiday menu? Skip the tuna salad for a while and take a break from the tasteless super foods you force yourself to eat. But don’t replace it with pie and ice-cream. Try some varieties of fish and seafood you wouldn’t normally eat. Try some new season honey or fresh berries. Indulge in some nuts or seeds you wouldn’t normally buy yourself. Experiment with some new combinations in your morning smoothie. There are so many varieties of healthy meats, vegetables, salads and fruits. You can just as much fun cooking up a feast of healthy foods as you would baking cakes and biscuits.
As for exercise – take it on the road. Ditch the gym for long walks on the beach or hikes in the countryside. Go skiing or rock climbing. Take up a new sport or try martial arts. Organize some races with family and friends. There’s really no limit to what you could imagine up that includes fun and fitness.
I love the holidays. I work hard all year and look forward to cutting loose a little at the end. But I also truly enjoy fitness. In fact, I would think a holiday without it would be a let down. I’d feel deprived of some of the best things I enjoy in life – energy, vitality, strength, endurance, alertness, even the camaraderie I enjoy in the gym is something I’d miss.