Shopping. Parties. Decorating. Baking. Travel. The holidays can be crazy busy — and it’s easy to let your fitness routine slide. We get it. But according to researchers at Cornell University in New York, most of us gain an average of 1.3 pounds from Halloween through New Year’s. While that may not sound like a huge gain, missed workouts during the holidays combined with a never-ending stream of high-calorie foods can put a screaming halt to fat loss, and that can result in visible changes to your body composition.
Here’s the kicker: The Cornell team also found that it took most people five months or more to get back to their pre-holiday weight!
The good news? Exercise not only helps you maintain your weight and body composition amid platters full of holiday treats but also helps combat the stress and depression the season often brings. With just a little prior planning, you can stay on track and still enjoy the festivities.
7 Seasonal Strategies
Fortunately, you can tweak your workouts to fit into this busy season with the following strategies:
Hit the gym early in the day.
The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll actually make it to the gym.
Traveling? Opt for a 15-minute bodyweight routine.
The do-anywhere, equipment-free workout below is fast and hotel-friendly (or Mom and Dad’s spare-room-friendly).
Sign up for a Santa run.
The holidays abound with themed 5K’s. Not a runner? Round up some pals and walk instead.
Compress your fitness routine.
Skinny your hourlong sesh into a quick 20-minute HIIT circuit. Australian scientists found that women who pushed through a high-intensity interval workout three times a week shed more fat than those who exercised moderately for twice as long.
Commit to a workout buddy.
Enlisting a friend or family member can help keep you accountable to your fitness goals.
Build more activity into your days.
Take the stairs, walk more, do more housework.
Skiing, sledding, ice skating or even a snowball fight can torch extra calories. Bonus? You’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget it’s exercise!
Do Anywhere Workout
Even if you can’t make it to the gym, this quick HIIT circuit can scorch those extra holiday calories and hit all the major muscle groups — no equipment necessary. Using the stopwatch on your phone, do as many reps of each of the following moves as you can in one minute. Move immediately to the next move and complete the next 60 seconds. Once you’ve completed one circuit, rest for 90 seconds. Aim to complete a minimum of four sets.
1. Jumping Jack: Use this basic move to get your heart rate up.
2. Mountain Climber: Start in a plank position with your arms extended and core engaged. Bring your right knee into your chest. Quickly switch and pull your left knee in. Continue to switch knees, making sure to keep your abs tight, back flat and head stable.
3. Plié Squat: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and your toes turned out into a 45-degree angle. Bend your knees and lower your torso, keeping your back straight and abs tight. Squeeze your glutes and come to standing position.
4. Burpee: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Quickly lower into a squat position with your hands on the floor slightly in front of your feet. Jump your feet back into a plank position and perform one push-up. Jump your feet back toward your hands so you are in a low squat. Then jump straight up, exploding from your heels and raise your hands over your head. Repeat, keeping your core tight and focusing on your form.
5. High Knee: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Lift up your right knee as high as it will go and raise the opposite arm, then switch quickly so your left knee is up before your right foot lands. Continue pulling your knees up quickly for 60 seconds.