Fitness During the Holidays



by Paul Young, BS, CPT

We have all heard it or said it ourselves: “I’m too busy to workout”,  or, “January is around the corner and I’m going to really get to the gym then”,  and how about, “I’m going to eat bad food anyway, so I may as well get consider December a cheat month.” In short, yes, on a given day, any one of these reasons might be a good one for that specific day, but we should not loop the whole month of December into it! Just think for a second, how much more realistic, and how much more productive January goals could be, if we were already prioritizing our health and wellness during the potentially hardest month to get through!

As it pertains to exercise, getting something in is far better than doing nothing. So if time is an issue, try some of these helpful tips to maximize your benefits:

Create a plan. If you know that you cannot get to the gym 4 times the next week, prioritize getting two sessions in. A manager does not miss an important meeting. If you cannot get to the gym that much, scheduling your sessions and not breaking them will help minimize the losses you may get. In fact, some research has shown that doing shorter workouts based off of previous movements can result in no loss or very minimal loss in strength.

Use your time wisely. If you can get to the gym, but you only have a half hour instead of the regular hour, design your workout with that in mind. Using super-sets of opposing muscle groups will maximize the amount of exercises you get done, as well as the energy expended. For example, dumbbell incline press will get the anterior shoulder and upper chest. You can superset that exercise (go right into without resting) a cable face-pull that targets the lats and posterior shoulder.

You don’t have to be in a gym to workout. There are plenty of exercises we all know we can do with just our bodies and a floor. Maybe every time you have to go from one side of your house to the other, you do 10 squats and 10 push-ups. It’s not going to make you sweat (if you’re doing it randomly throughout the day) but you will fatigue and get good use of your muscles throughout the day. An after dinner walk is also a great option. Get out and see the Christmas lights, burn of some fat by picking up the pace to a brisk walk for 2 minutes, then go back to a normal walk for 5 minutes. Just doing that interval 3 times can have a significant impact on how much fat gets stored when we head to bed.