‘Tis the season for taking it easy, kicking back with nostalgic movies and stuffing your face with lots of indulgent comfort food and boozy drinks. And there’s absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, wrong with that. You do you and enjoy yourself. Just don’t forget about your goals—because the holidays are also the time when many guys let their fitness take a back seat to the good times. And then they feel like they really have to make up for things come New Year’s Day.
Still, sacrificing quality time with your family and spending the majority of your holiday break in the gym isn’t exactly a smart choice either. So, what’s a well-intentioned man to do? Thankfully, a simple fitness regimen is something that can be maintained pretty much anywhere you go, no matter where or for how long. Trust us, when family time gets to be a little stressful, you’ll thank us for providing you with the tips to get that nice kick of endorphins. Here’s how to stay on track when you go back to see the folks.
Don’t Rely on a Gym
You never know what facilities will be available to you. And the good news is that you don’t even need to hit the gym while you’re visiting. Find some space—be it in a guest room or basement—and turn it into your sacred working-out space. If you can, bring simple equipment like a jump rope, a TRX setup or some resistance bands. But even without those, you can focus on short, high-intensity bodyweight workouts to make up for your regular longer gym sessions. Push-ups, squats, planks, lunges, jumping rope or burpees are really all you need.
Make a Realistic Schedule
With the social obligations around the holidays, there’s usually very little time for your typical workout routine. Instead, make a realistic (and flexible) schedule that you can adhere to without sacrificing too much time with your loved ones. Now’s not the time to hit personal bests or focus on a new goal; it's more maintenance as opposed to progress. Remember that even just 10 minutes of movement is better than nothing. Plus, it will boost your energy on those dark winter days and help you feel less guilty indulging.
Pre-Game Activities With Exercise
Before getting ready to go out for drinks or bake those cookies, you can pre-game with a full-body workout for 15 minutes. According to Ironman, HIIT workouts will not only increase your energy and heart rate, but they’re an effective way to burn some calories and boost your metabolism. Plus, you reap the advantages even after the workouts. Pick five simple moves like mountain climbers, squat jacks, jump squats, and bicycles. Perform each for 45 seconds and cycle through them with 15 seconds break.
Get Friends and Family Involved
Celebrity trainer Gideon Akande says at the very least, let your loved ones know about your plans and that you’re committed to staying healthy over your holiday break. That way, they won’t bug you about your food choices or about getting up and working out in the morning. But he also recommends inviting them to join in—it can be a great way to show off what you’ve learned during your fitness journey. And this way, you don’t have to compromise any quality time.
* The 70/30 Rule: Like the well-known 80/20 rule, this means that if you’re eating responsibly 70% of the time during the holidays, then 30% of the time you can indulge in whatever you like. Remember, this is the benefit of regularly working out. So you can treat yourself from time to time.