The holiday season is officially upon us, and you know what that means: food, drinks, traveling, and a wealth of reasons to not exercise. It’s easy to reach for that extra piece of pie and that eighth glass of wine because “it’s the holidays.” It’s even easier to sleep in and disregard your workout routines.
There isn’t anything wrong with letting loose, treating yourself, and celebrating the holidays. However, if you can maintain some sort of self-discipline during this time, it may help you enjoy the food, drinks, and fun with less guilt.
One of the biggest hurdles to staying fit during the holidays is the lack of time and equipment. You may not have an hour each day to commit to physical fitness, and you probably don’t haul a gym around in your carry-on. Luckily, you don’t need either to get your sweat on.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular option when time and equipment are scarce. The theory behind HIIT is that high-intensity workouts require less time to achieve the same results as you would from a moderately intense workout. Recent studies even show that short and intense workouts may be more effective than longer, more moderately paced workouts.
In addition, there are plenty of body-weight exercises that you can do to get your heart rate up and burn off those eggnog calories. Here are a few strategies you can use:
Work out first thing in the morning. It is much easier to get your workout in before everyone else gets up. Not only is there less time and fewer obstacles in your way, but it also provides a burst of energy that will start your day off right. You may even be more inclined to exercise again later in the day.
Plan the night prior. Decide the night before which workout you will do in the morning. Also, set out everything you need to workout. Shoes, clothes, and headphones should be ready to avoid any hang-ups in the morning.
Commit to 10 minutes a day. And if it doesn’t pan out, don’t fret — there are going to be days that you just can’t make it happen. If that’s the case, accept it, and start again the next day.
Travel workouts aren’t hard. But the motivation to exercise can be difficult. It is easy to downward spiral after an excess of food and alcohol, but if you change the way you think about fitness, it can help you stay on track. Fitness isn’t extra or optional — it is mandatory. It is as important as eating and sleeping well. Giving yourself the gift of good health is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Katie Whelan is a contributing writer for Coffee or Die Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State University and is an active duty U.S. Army staff sergeant, assigned to 1st Special Forces Group. Katie also plays center and defensive end for the Seattle Mist (LFL) football team and is a two-time national champion. She is a Minnesota native but currently resides in Washington state with her daughter.
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