It’s not just the feasts and treats though; this period of time in November and December also marks one of the coldest parts of the year for many. Finding the motivation to work when it’s uncomfortably cold outside is difficult, especially when you’ve got a warm, cosy home with snacks and drinks beckoning you inside.
All hope is not lost though. Even with all of these hurdles, it is possible to keep fit during the holidays –– even if it is a little tougher than normal.
To help you out with the challenge this season, here are some of our tips for holiday fitness motivation.
Find a Partner
This is our top tip. Roping in a friend or partner to join your battle against the demotivating effects of the holiday will almost certainly increase the chances of sticking to workouts and diet goals. Don’t just take our word for it though. A National Library of Medicine study at the turn of the century found that those starting a weight-loss program had a 95% completion rate if they worked out alongside a partner. It's a simple matter of accountability really, and as that 95% figure indicates it works far more often than not. So, whether it's a significant other, a favorite cousin, or a friend all the way across the country, consider linking up with someone for your holiday fitness goals.
Create a Schedule/List
Sounds simple enough, right? Creating a schedule or a list provides you with a framework for fitness. Even if you don’t stick to every single item on your list, having everything set out will provide you with a visual cue. Beyond your basic to-do though, you can also try something a little different and create a not-to-do list. This is an idea that was suggested by SymptomFind in a recent blog post on beating procrastination, and it suits holiday fitness efforts quite well. It's a chance for you to list all the items that specifically demotivate you or take away from your health efforts –– picking at treats before dinner, ordering sweet lattes instead of coffee, skipping a workout for one more TV episode, etc. If you write these things out, you may be more likely to avoid succumbing to them.
Make Christmas Part of Your Workout
If you can’t beat them, join them! There’s no way of getting around it: Christmas is going to be there whether you work out or not. What you can do however, is make it a part of your motivation to work out by establishing a sort of reward or permission structure. To be clear, you should not apply this strategy to food; as was pointed out in a Philadelphia Inquirer on the subject, this trains you to think of food more generally as a reward, which is a slippery slope toward poor nutrition. However, there are other ways of using the season to establish fitness perks. Say for instance that you won't let yourself attend a big Christmas party unless you do a certain number of workouts that week. Or perhaps you see something you want for yourself while holiday shopping, and you decide you'll get it only if you resist a certain treat for a set period of time. The season is full of little chances like this to motivate yourself to stick to your goals.
Stay at Home
The best way to stay motivated with regard to holiday fitness is to do your workouts at home. With so much going on, cold weather outside, and so on, you'll simply have an easier time getting up for those workouts if you can do them with ease in your own house. As you're likely well aware by now, there are all kinds of great workout programs you can access online or via apps (sometimes for free!). And you can also invest in some equipment to boost your exercises at home –– with our own award-winning AbCoaster® PS500 making for a great entry point into at-home fitness. With a machine like this (or even some basic weights and accessories) you'll be much more likely to squeeze in those exercises throughout the season.
It is entirely normal to struggle a little bit with your fitness goals this time of year. But that doesn't mean it's inevitable. With some of these tips and strategies you can improve your motivation to beat the holiday season fitness lull and enter the New Year without feeling out of shape.