‘Tis the Season for Exercise

It’s the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean we should let our fitness habits melt away like a snowman in springtime. This blog is the second in our 2-part series on how to maintain your fitness during the holidays. In Part 1, we discussed how to approach this nutritionally via tips for eating throughout the season. For Part 2, we’re focusing on exercise, with advice on how to fit in workouts when you’re traveling, the gyms are closed, or you’re on a time crunch.

 

Benefits of Exercise During the Holiday Season

There are many reasons to exercise over the holidays. First, working out now will not only help you finish out 2022 on a high note but also prime you to continue exercising in 2023. Second, exercise is an excellent form of stress management, which many of us need this time of year. It can also balance out less nutritional holiday dietary choices. Lastly, you can work out with your loved ones to create special holiday memories!

 

Tips for Exercising Over the Holidays

Plan – The easiest way to get off track with exercising is to not have a plan. Choose what days you want to work out ahead of time. Be sure to consider your gym’s holiday hours and adjust accordingly. If you’re traveling, look up local CrossFit boxes at your destination to drop into while in town. Hotel gyms and the great outdoors can be wonderful options while traveling, too. Set yourself up for success with a solid plan!

Increase Training Volume Pre-Holidays – If you’re planning on taking some time off from exercising during the holidays, try to work extra hard during the period leading up to it. Squeeze in an extra workout or two per week if possible to account for the time you’ll miss.

Take Rest Days – If you do plan on squeezing some extra workouts in, don’t forget to still let your body recover in between! Do not overdo it in preparation for time off. This could lead to an overuse injury that keeps you out of the gym for way longer than you planned.

Decide on Goals for the New Year – Now is a fantastic time to reflect on your progress and decide what you want to accomplish in 2023. Set specific, realistic goals related to skills or training habits that are meaningful to you. Establish a plan for each goal and commit to taking the steps towards achieving them!

 

How to Exercise at Home This Holiday Season

How to Create a Workout – If you can’t work out at your box due to adjusted holiday hours, travel, or time restrictions, use these tips to construct your own WOD!

  • Movements – There is no wrong way to build a workout! Pick a goal for the workout, such as targeting a certain body part versus total body. Select exercises you are familiar with that align with this goal. Choose a rep scheme that will be challenging but doable considering your environment and available equipment.
  • Time – It can be hard to tell how long certain workouts are going to take, which can make fitting them into a busy day challenging. Plan timed AMRAPs or EMOMs (such as a 30-minute AMRAP or 10-minute EMOM) to ensure that your workout is exactly as long as you need.
  • Warm Up – Always warm up before exercising to prevent injury and improve performance. Start with 2-4 minutes of light cardio, like jogging or jumping jacks. Then, perform 5-10 reps of movements that mimic what you’ll be doing in your workout. Focus on exercises that allow you to move consistently through your full range of motion, rather than holding stretches for extended periods of time. Progressively load up to your working weights if weightlifting.
  • Cool Down – Take 5-10 minutes to bring your heart rate down after your workout and do some gentle stretching. Choose stretches that target the muscles used in your workout. Aim to hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Alternatives to Gym Equipment – If you don’t have access to traditional gym equipment, use whatever you have at home! A broom stick makes a perfect PVC pipe. A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds and can substitute for a dumbbell or kettlebell. Fill up a backpack with textbooks to use as a sandbag or weighted vest. Do step-ups or triceps dips on a sturdy chair. The possibilities are endless!

“But I Don’t Have Anything Heavy Enough” – There are plenty of ways to get a killer workout with “light” weights. One option is to increase the number of repetitions you do per set. Alternatively, you could perform the reps with a tempo or pause. For example, instead of squatting at a normal pace, take a full 3 seconds to reach the bottom of each rep, or pause at the bottom for 5 seconds before standing back up. Trust me- you do not need heavy weights for this to be effective!

Find Existing WODs – If you don’t want to make up your own workouts, there are quite literally THOUSANDS published online. The official CrossFit website has years’ worth of WODs published here. You can also access every workout done at CrossFit LPF via the “WODs” button located in the bottom left corner of every page on our website. There are also free apps, like myWOD or WOD Roulette, that come preloaded with workouts, including equipment-free WODs.

Mix It Up – Every workout does not have to be a CrossFit workout. Expose your body to new forms of exercise, like hiking, biking, or yoga. What matters most is that we stay active, regardless of what the activity itself is!

Sample Festive Workout – Check out this holiday-themed workout from CrossFit headquarters, called “The 12 Days of Christmas.” It requires no equipment, is adaptable for any skill level, and can be a fun way to celebrate one of the many holidays this season!

 

Exercising Through the Holidays

Your health and fitness do not have to be sidelined by the holiday season. This time of year is all about balancing celebrations with healthy practices to ensure we enjoy ourselves without losing track of our fitness goals. Follow the above tips to stay active amidst the festivities. Happy holidays from everyone at CrossFit LPF!