This Christmas, don’t take a holiday from working out

Follow these tips, and you’ll celebrate the season without packing on the pounds.

Work parties, family gatherings, shopping. Cooking, wrapping, packing, driving, flying, schlepping. Who can possibly find time to exercise during the holiday season? You briefly mull it over and decide to skip your December workouts and resume in January, no big deal.

Don’t do it. Now more than ever, adhering to your workout program is of the utmost importance. Chances are, you will be consuming greater amounts of food and alcohol than usual (guilty as charged, here) this time of year. This is not a smart time to dodge exercise.

Yes, it’s tempting to blow off your workouts in exchange for holiday festivities, but the combination of excess calorie consumption and missed exercise quickly can snowball into weight gain, sluggishness and a sense of frustration and remorse.

How to stay on track? Follow the tips I offer to all of my training clients.

Remind yourself how you’ll feel. When you bail on your workouts, you feel regretful, anxious, lethargic, just plain lousy. But when you perform and finish your workouts, you feel accomplished, invigorated, strong, healthy. Just the energy you need to take on the holidays.

Put your workouts on your calendar. If you have to postpone a workout because of a holiday event, don’t just say, “I’ll exercise later this week.” We know the chance of that happening is remote without proper planning. Set a specific time and date, and then confirm it on your schedule like any other appointment.

Make it social. Grab a friend, family member, co-worker and work up a sweat together. Having a workout buddy increases your commitment to exercise. Just make sure to follow through on your own if your buddy bails.

Do a shorter workout. If you truly can’t make time for your usual workout session, shorten it up. If this means a jog around the neighborhood before family arrives or busting out a few sets of squats and push-ups first thing in the morning, so be it. Anything is better than nothing. At the very least, maintain your fitness level — which is far better than losing strength, endurance and momentum.

Remember who working out is for. Consider your workouts to be some much needed you time during the holidays. Exercise helps me remain calm, sane, heck — even pleasant! — during the busy season. Value your well-being and mental health enough to stay active, despite your packed schedule. It is a gift to yourself.

Enjoy the holidays. Celebrate merrily, eat joyously and workout with bells on.

Catherine Bongiorno owns Lift To Lose Fitness & Nutrition. Go to her website at lifttolose.com. Contact her via phone 425-791-4488 or via email at info@liftto lose.com.

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