Fitness Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are a festive time of year with seemingly endless opportunities to cheat on your diet and skip a workout. Weight gain is almost an assumed part of this season. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Find your focus and help clients stay on track with these fitness tips for the holidays.

Plan Ahead

Make time for your workouts just as you make time for each of your festive gatherings—put it on the calendar. Planning ahead by adding your workouts to your schedule ensures they will fit into your day. Many of the holiday parties and dinners take place in the evening, so set aside time each morning to go for a run, hit the gym, or take part in online fitness classes at home. Encourage clients to plan out their training sessions with you and when they’ll fit in workouts, even if they’re not in town for the holidays.

Go Small

As your schedule fills with holiday activities, you might not always have enough time for a full workout, so don’t be afraid to break it up into smaller chunks. Go for a 20-minute run before work, then stop by the gym for 20 minutes of weights on the way home. Remind your clients that some physical activity is better than no activity; even just one mini workout is better than sitting all day. Stay accountable for including a workout, but allow for flexibility with duration. This will minimize stress while still helping clients meet their fitness goals.

Be Creative

Along with being flexible in your scheduling, get creative with your activities. Even if you’re spending the whole day out shopping or at your family’s house for Christmas, you can still get your body moving.

Take the Stairs

Make elevators and escalators off-limits from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. If you’re at the mall and want to add to the challenge, stop at a store on the lower level of the mall, then make your next store on the top level, then switch again. You’ll get in a solid stair workout by the time you’re done picking out gifts. You can also take a few extra laps around the mall to get in more activity.

Go Outside

Don’t let the winter weather slow you down. As long as you dress accordingly, there are a variety of ways to take advantage of the snow and colder temperatures while getting in a workout. Whether you live near a frozen pond or in a big city with temporary ice rinks, you can find ice skating just about anywhere during the winter season. Plan a ski trip or go snowshoeing. If you don’t have snow, go on a hike or for a walk around the neighborhood.

Start an Annual Competition

Get your family and friends involved in fun and fitness during your next holiday gathering and turn it into an annual event so everyone has a reason to stay accountable for the next year. Organize a snowman building relay or set up a capture the flag with Santa hats. Have a great sliding hill available? Set up a bracket competition for the fastest ride down the hill—the winner gets to open the first present.

Get a Workout Buddy

Even if it’s just for the holiday season, having a workout partner can help you stay motivated and accountable. You’re more likely to get to the gym if you have someone there waiting to workout with you. To step it up, make a bet: if one person skips a workout, they owe the other person $2.00, or they have to wear a Santa hat during the next workout. A little fun can boost everyone’s motivation.

Sign Up for a Holiday Race

Registering for a race keeps you accountable for your fitness goals and is another easy way to have holiday fun with family and friends. Get your group matching Santa hats, reindeer antler headbands, or decorative leggings to laugh your way through a 5K. Encourage your clients to sign up for a New Year’s run to start the year off in a healthy direction.

Reward yourself

In addition to busy holiday schedules, winter brings fewer hours of daylight and colder temperatures, dropping your motivation even more. Find something that will get you out of bed for an early morning workout or make you willing to brave the cold for a run or a trip to the gym. Treat yourself to new winter leggings to inspire more outdoor runs. Make sure you stick to the workouts you planned by placing $1.00–$5.00 in a jar for each one you complete, then spend the money on something fun after the holiday season.

Log your Food and Fitness

Stay posted for our upcoming Nutrition App… Track your nutrition and activity throughout the holidays to stay accountable for healthy goals. Refresh your clients on the benefits of food logging to ensure they keep accurate records even if they slip up on their diet from time to time. It’s easy to fall into the “just one more” trap with cookies and other sweets, but knowing you’ll have to include each of those cookies in your food log might help you resist the temptation.


With the holidays comes a variety of festive drinks—eggnog, peppermint lattes, sugar cookie martinis, and more. These drinks are often overloaded with calories and not the best at keeping you hydrated, so drink them in moderation. Keep your water bottle full and accessible, and be sure to drink plenty of water before any holiday gathering. This not only helps with staying hydrated, but it also helps you feel full, so you’re more likely to resist the extra food. Considering making one of your workout rewards a new festively decorated water bottle to inspire you to stay hydrated through the holidays?

So, with a little planning and creativity, maintaining a fitness plan through the holidays can still leave room for fun and festivities. Plus, you’ll save yourself and your clients a lot of extra work in the new year by staying on track—no one wants to lose the progress they worked so hard to gain.

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