We all know how the holidays can throw a wrench in our healthy habits or, worse, prolong our unhealthy habits. Luckily, most of you reading this don’t have a lot of unhealthy habits: According to a 2014 Gallup poll, Provo-Orem, Utah, has the highest rate of wellbeing among U.S. communities. The poll considered factors including physical health and healthy behaviors, among other categories.
While we may lead the nation in wellbeing, we aren’t perfect here in Utah Valley. Having been in the fitness industry for the past decade here, I can tell you that there is plenty of room for improvement. Sometimes a few helpful hints go a long way toward conquering our shortcomings, especially during the holidays. Here are a few tips to help make sure you get in your workouts during this crazy time of year:
- Traveling?If so, have a workout you can do on the go. Plan for the worst-case scenario—no gym access—and assume that you’ll only be able to perform body-weight exercises. Always pack your workout clothes (and don’t forget your shoes!) so you’ll have one less excuse not to exercise.
- Beat the rush with a morning workout. It’s much easier to squeeze in a workout early in the day before you get busy with holiday craziness—cooking, hosting, shopping, and more. Plus, you won’t have to deal with crowds at the gym when most people are still sleeping. Just make sure to get a good night’s rest beforehand!
- Need some accountability?Having a workout partner makes it that much easier to ensure that you don’t skip out on fitness during the holidays. Make sure your partner will be in town and plan ahead. And if they bail on you? Grab a sibling, another friend, or—dare I say it—go it alone. Going to the gym alone isn’t as effective for some people (including me), but it’s better than not going at all.
- Get the family involved.Plan a family activity that involves something physical. As much as we all love relaxing on the couch after a nice piece of pie, try to make time for fitness. Plan ahead—make sure to pick a time when there’s no football on!—and choose an activity the majority of your family would enjoy doing. Head outdoors or to your local city rec center. Utah is full of great places, so there’s something for even the pickiest members of your family to enjoy.
- Ate too much?If you happen to have a day during the holidays that was full of treats, increase the intensity of your next workout. Don’t think about it being harder—just do it. Go to a class that offers intense workouts so you can maximize your caloric burn in as little time as possible. One piece of pie can easily be around 300 calories, so get your burn on!
If the idea of staying fit over the holidays still feels overwhelming, you may want to consult a personal trainer or nutritionist. They can develop personalized plans to keep you healthy through the holidays and beyond.