motion blurred imagery of yellow leaves on white barked aspen trees

Create a Holiday Fitness Plan

The holiday season is almost upon us and while it can be loads of fun, it can also be filled with stress, extra calories, sleep deprivation—and a huge fall off the fitness wagon. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can start a new holiday tradition and stay committed to health and fitness.

Be proactive this holiday season. It’s true that failing to plan is planning to fail. When it comes to surviving the holiday season with your fitness intact, the best defense is a good offense. Create a holiday fitness plan now so that you’re not left with regret—and a few extra pounds—come New Year’s.  Here’s how:

Plan A: Create your Plan A, which is essentially your regular workout schedule. Put it in your calendar and do your best to plan around it. Make it a non-negotiable. If it’s on your calendar, it’s harder to schedule something else in its place.

Plan B: You know what they say: even the best-laid plans go awry. The reality of the holiday season is that things crop up—rehearsals for the holiday concert, shopping, parties, and more. The season is anything but normal; the schedule is busier. That’s why you need a plan B. What will happen if you can’t make your regularly scheduled workout? What are some quick workouts you can squeeze in when you can’t make your regular spin class? Have a Plan B—and put that on your calendar, too.

Exercise in the Morning: It’s a fact—people who exercise in the morning are more consistent. What’s more, a morning workout can boost metabolism, regulate appetite, burn fat, and prevent weight gain. The holiday season is too unpredictable. If you wait until evening, too many other things can crop up that will steer you away from the gym. Instead, plan your workout for the morning when nothing else can interfere. You’ll feel great all day knowing that you put self-care first.

Get Social: Working out with friends is motivating—and more fun. Ditch old traditions (like cookie parties) and start new ones (like outdoor activities). Instead of getting together for drinks and appetizers, go for a brisk walk. Does your book club have an annual party filled with rich food and high-calorie drinks? Suggest a change—go cross-country skiing, sign up for a fun run, or even volunteer at an event.

Set a Goal: There is nothing more motivating than having a goal out in front of you. Choose a goal you must continue to work toward even through the holiday season—maybe there is a 10K or a cross-country ski race the first week in January. Sign up and you’ll be forced to stay on the fitness wagon through the holiday season.

The bottom line—with a little planning and foresight, the holidays don’t have to derail your fitness. Make it a priority now and you won’t even need to set any New Year’s resolutions.