3 Out-of-the-Box Ways To Stay Fit During the Holidays

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group fitnessDecember is the season for family, friends and food. Everyone from college students to adults in their full-time careers has a full plate, with commitments, a tight schedule and a tired mind and body. Often times, this leaves us feeling less motivated to step onto our at-home treadmill or grab our workout bag and head to the gym for a solid sweat session. However, this is the time of year that is most critical to refocus on health and fitness goals and prepare for the new year with new resolutions! Here are three ways that you can overcome the holiday lull.

1. Work with a Coach

Coaches are not just for professional athletes. Everyone can benefit from having a coach for any type of goal! Alycia Israel is the personal training coordinator at The Ohio State University and witnesses this first hand with her trainers and individual coaching clients of her business, Alycia’s Barbell Online Training. After spending five years in this role, she has seen a consistent pattern. For her trainers and clients, having a coach can help overcome distractions during the holidays.

“I think people’s minds just are not on their aesthetics and health. It is on busy-ness,” Israel says.

She shared that a lot of trainers and clients get worked up around that in December, until the new year hits and they all come back full circle after class exams and winter break. “If someone seeks training, it is often as a stress reliever,” Alycia shares. “Once January 1 hits, people move quick, get out of that funk and focus on spring break.”

Julius Miles, owner of Templebuilders Personal Training, has been a certified personal trainer since 2010, working in corporate wellness for four years and owning his own business for four years. He has also experienced a trend with clients needing more coaching and motivation during the winter months.

“When you give them advice, they [people] are more than likely going to do it,” Miles says.

More: How To Choose a Personal Trainer

He focuses on creating accountability and partnership with his clients, setting expectations for them and himself, and checking in on them as often as possible. When you work with a coach or trainer, you can feel more confident that they will help you in the tough times.

2. Join a Group Training Class

Some people prefer one-on-one training environments. Others thrive in group classes, challenges and winter programs. Both Miles and Israel have programs that change up the daily mundane training sessions and believe for specific people, this can be pivotal for results.

“There is nothing like incentivizing people and giving them a reason to look good,” Miles comments.

He offered a transformation challenge the month before Thanksgiving to help his clients feel motivated to train and eat a balanced diet before the holidays began. Miles believes his clients are motivated by their peers. He has used this knowledge to inspire one of his athletes to serve as a role model for other clients and lead during group workouts.

Many gyms and personal training centers offer special incentives and programs in the winter months. They know the struggles we all face and want to offer what can help us all achieve optimum results. It might be a small step, but that is better than none.

Israel believes the “little wins” within group challenges and classes help people feel like “they achieve something they have never done and thought they could do.” Her personal training team has a transformation challenge that ends after the holidays and focuses on goal setting and behavior changes. The clients collaborate during sessions and push one another to get stronger.

“I think doing group work is more effective because they do it with a friend,” Israel shares.

Sounds like a great reason to phone a friend and commit to a class together. You both might find a new workout style you enjoy.

3. Give Yourself a Goal and a Break

Many times, we look in the mirror and become our biggest critics. We analyze what we are not, what we have not done or what we have chose in place of other things. This can harm our progress. Sometimes, the best thing to do is set a new goal or give yourself a break.

“Giving yourself freedom to take a chill pill is underrated and I think people need to do it more often,” Israel says.

If you are no longer following your exact protocol, missing benchmarks, getting burnt out, your coach will notice. This may be the best indication to change your training regimen. Set a new goal and chase it.

Word of caution: do not backtrack. You do not want all of your hard work to go to waste. It is all about balance. Miles shared that he coaches clients to at minimum eat a balanced diet with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. If you can control your diet, you can maintain weight.

More: The Right Way To Set & Achieve Goals

Use these three tips to go into the 2018 with a “New Year Perspective” on your health. Create a plan to jump in to the new year filled with excitement and energy. You can do it!

–By Caroline Weihl, NPC bikini athlete and owner of Meals Beyond Athletes meal prep company