The dark mornings, darker evenings and miserable weather make it hard enough to keep your fitness routine on track. The Christmas season can derail it altogether. All that tempting food. More social events than the rest of the year put together (or that’s what it feels like). Those last minute rushes to find the perfect present, stock up with festive food, visit the family… Even so, you’ve worked hard to stay in shape these last 11 months so let’s make sure you don’t waste it all now. Here are few ways you can stay motivated, maintain your fitness levels and make Christmas a season to be heathy as well as jolly.
Plan your schedule in advance
In an ideal world, you’ll plan your training schedule at least a month in advance. Come the holiday season, it’s even more important to get some classes and sessions down in your diary in between all those lunches, dinners and drinks. Treat each workout like a social event – or even better make it one. That way it’s harder to look on your fitness as cannon fodder for other Christmas commitments.
Train with friends
We just suggested turning your sessions into social occasions and for good reason. Working out isn’t just more fun with friends, it’s a lot more motivating too. So make an unbreakable pact with a training partner and stick to it through thick and thin, snow and rain and cold and dark. After all, it’s one thing giving the gym a miss when you only have your own guilty reflection to answer to. But it’s quite another when you know you’ll be letting someone else down. Let’s face it, you know as well as we do they won’t let you forget it…
Start early and get it over with
We’re not all early birds. Who wants to catch a worm anyway? But if you can manage to prise yourself from that nice and warm and mmm, oh so comfortable bed on a cold, dark morning you’ll reap the rewards. Creating a bonus hour first thing gives you the precious time you need to get to the gym or take part in a class, leaving you free for whatever festivities the day has in store. Plus, an early workout helps to boost your energy levels and metabolism too.
Make the most of your own bodyweight
If you’re off on your travels or just can’t get to the gym for a while, you can still get a great workout just by using your bodyweight. Bodyweight workouts have become big news in the last couple of years with the explosive rise of High Intensity Interval Training (HiiT), an approach that can burn fat far more effectively than your run of the mill treadmill. With no specialist equipment required, body weight workouts also have the advantage of being easy to perform pretty much anywhere. Take a look online and you’ll see there’s no shortage of circuits to try out.
Do less, but more
Squeezing in just 15 minutes of running or the minimum amount of what you usually do at least keeps you in the game. We’ve just seen that HiiT is tailor-made for a quick workout, with those short explosions of activity giving you a highly effective cardio session in 15 or 20 minutes. Then you have Tabata, a full blast HiiT-style routine that can be performed in as little as 4 minutes. (Sounds too easy? Give it go and get back to us when you can barely breathe.) Or you can even make a seasonal promise to perform 20 press ups, 20 crunches and, say, 20 squats or mountain climbers once every hour from 8am to 6pm. That’s 200 reps of each over the day.
Treat yourself to an early Christmas present
This time of year can be as expensive as it can be busy. Yet when you’re out buying gifts for friends and family, don’t forget about yourself. After all, nobody deserves a surprise from Santa more than you do, right? With many sales starting long before the big day itself, there are plenty bargains to be had so keep your eyes open for some cool kit, a brand new bag or a fresh pair of trainers and you’ll be raring to get to the gym and give your new stuff a spin – or a row, a run or whatever else it is you do in there.
Make the most of winter activities
Winter doesn’t have to mean staying inside and shivering in front of your TV. If we’re lucky we’ll also have plenty of those clear, crisp, sunny days that make you glad to be alive. Make the most of them with a brisk walk in the invigorating air. If there’s snow, a good old snowball fight gets the blood flowing. Or if your knees and ankles will stand it, why not give ice skating a whirl? Although it’s advisable to learn to simply to stand up first, which can provide a pretty punishing workout in itself.
Stay motivated in Esquared
With a huge range of premium gyms and studios to choose from, Esquared also helps to keep you motivated. After all, it doesn’t feel quite so hard to train when you’re headed to luxurious surroundings, the very latest equipment, and high quality classes – all on demand.