The holiday season hits differently when you’re on a fitness journey. From boats of gravy in November, to cups of sugar-filled eggnog in December—this time of year may feel like a calorie coup d'état.
As stressful as it may sound, the holidays don’t have to be detrimental to your health. Through careful planning, specific exercises, and a little self-love, navigating this time of year can be a piece of cake (or pie, depending on what your mom is making).
#1 Make a Strict Schedule
Finding a balance of exercise and recreation is crucial to maintaining fitness goals during the holidays. You want to spend ample time with loved ones without the stress of skipping workouts.
During this bustling season, you may want to opt for shorter, accessible workouts when you can’t make it to the gym. Even 30 minutes of exercise per day is a great way to stay on track and keep the body healthy.
For the sake of efficiency, you can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time through certain types of exercise, such as:
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Power yoga
It’s possible to have downtime during the holidays and maintain your fitness goals, as long as you prepare ahead of time and make a realistic schedule.
#2 Be Reasonable
Sticking to fitness goals shouldn’t come at the onset of your misery. The key to maintaining your health while enjoying the holidays is by indulging in small cravings so they don't snowball.
You’re probably familiar with this feeling—the smell of delicious homemade cookies wafts over to you. You want one, but eating a cookie isn’t part of your diet. So, you try to satisfy your craving with a healthy alternative like carrot sticks.
You quickly realize that carrot sticks don’t satisfy a cookie craving, and you’re still hungry. So you eat another healthy alternative. This pattern continues until you’ve eaten well past the amount of calories a cookie would have provided.
The bottom line: one holiday treat won’t set you back, but ignoring your body’s needs will.
#3 Utilize Recovery Techniques
The holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation—but that isn’t always the case. From parties, visiting old friends, to catching up with the family, you may find yourself spending a lot of time on your feet this season.
Combine this with your daily exercise routine, and you’ve got a recipe for sore muscles. That’s where quick, easy recovery methods come in handy.
For relief from exercise-induced inflammation and pains, you should consider:
- A self-massage – Using a foam roller, electric massager, or even your hands will help speed up your recovery time. Take a few minutes after your workout to rub out any tight areas. Add a few deep stretches to this routine, and you should be feeling ready to traverse the snowy driveway of your grandma’s house.
- Try CBD – CBD has been shown to calm the nervous system, relax stiff muscles, and reduce pain. Vegan CBD gummies are an easy way to get your daily dose in, without breaking any dietary restrictions.
- Keep an anti-inflammatory on hand – Microtears are great for building up muscle, but they’re not the best for getting in the holiday spirit. Keeping ibuprofen on your person can help in a pinch when you start feeling those post-workout aches and pains (or a post-holiday hangover for a two-birds-one-stone throw).
#4 Practice Portion Control
Eating delicious holiday food doesn’t have to mean stuffing yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey. Moderation is key when it comes to the type of meals this season entices. Although everyone’s body is different, some general guidelines to follow when serving up your plate include:
- Focus on protein
- Incorporate a vegetable into each meal
- Don’t overload on carbs
- Be mindful of liquid calories
Enjoy the Holidays with Confidence
Don’t let your fitness goals turn you into Ebeneiser Scrooge. It’s possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while also indulging in a few seasonal sins.
Remember that emotional health is just as important as physical health, and enjoying yourself—while maintaining some nutritional awareness—is the best way to care for your well-being!