Maintaining fitness training during the festive period can be incredibly challenging, as day to day routines may change drastically leading to greater demands on our lives throughout this busy time. Consider the additional time we spend with friends, family, travelling to see relatives and/or in-laws etc., we may also see this a convenient time to take a step back from fitness regimes and chill-out for a while, or perhaps our local gym or fitness centre closes for Christmas leaving us without our familiar stomping ground. On one hand it can be beneficial to take timeout from training, this helps us reflect and review our progress, plan future goals and even change up workouts, additionally it allows our bodies time to repair and re-energise itself whilst getting the rest it needs.
However, due to the holidays being a time where we tend to eat and drink more than usual, be less active and not have so much structure in our daily schedule, we may end up not training at all or at best very little. To compensate for this and to keep our bodies and minds ticking over, my suggestion is to be realistic and manage expectations as to what we hope to achieve, recognising that we will not be training at the same intensity during the one or two weeks of Christmas. Keeping moving is key, this will help maintain our cardiovascular fitness levels, but remember it doesn’t need to involve a long run, cycle ride or spinning class, instead think of alternatives, such as if you have dogs, take them for a long walk after lunch every other day, or take your children to the park or for a bike ride; make the activities fun and involve the family as much as possible to make it even more enjoyable. To keep muscles working, consider body weight exercises if you do not have proper weight training equipment at home;Press-ups are an amazing exercise for arms, shoulders, lower back and core strength – for this sometimes overlooked exercise, experiment with different hand positions and spacing, this will hit muscles in many different ways. Tricep dips can be performed using a chair, or low table and are very effective, or thinking of press-ups again, try having your palms very close together, this really brings in to play all three heads of the Tricep muscle group. Quads can be worked by simply squatting without weight, go as low as you can and hold that position to stretch your quads, hamstrings and glutes, use stairs in your house or garden to complete sets of steps ups, this is also a great mini cardio workout.
Abdominal strength and tone can be maintained by completing sets of crunches or performing knee-ins whilst positioned on the edge of a chair, sofa etc., to stabilize core muscles, plank movements are an excellent option.
If you were to perform all these body weight exercise and any others which spring to mind, it would take less than 30 minutes a day, alternate them with the cardio suggestions and you instantly have a very easy to manage workout routine for the holidays which will help you burn off those extra calories, keep active, help you get you out and about and above all enjoy training in a different way.
So, if you are already thinking of how you will compensate for not going to the gym or fitness classes at this time of year, put some of these suggestions in place and see how you get on.