It’s about the beginning of November that we start to see a decline in motivation and attendance at my gym – especially these past couple of years, when people have struggled through the many complications of COVID.
As our borders start to reopen and restrictions begin to ease, you might just be looking at the first proper holiday you’ve had in two years!
Holidays can also come with added stressors, and one of these can be trying to keep your health and fitness in check. Although you may only have two weeks out of the office, you are probably already beginning to experience the motivation slump that comes with an upcoming holiday, as well as adding many Christmas and New Year’s parties to your busy holiday calendar.
The importance of your health doesn’t cease to exist simply because you’ve popped on your ‘out of office’. Here are four simple and practical tools you can use to keep up your fitness over the holiday season.
1. Make a plan
Plan when you will exercise and commit to a certain number of sessions. I recommend you start with three sessions per week in the lead-up to your holidays – but make this aim realistic for you.
Mark these sessions in your diary or calendar just like any other commitment. You wouldn’t book a doctor’s appointment and then just hope you feel like it when the time comes; this is a commitment you write into your schedule so as to exclude all other commitments. Do the same with your fitness.
If you are going away over Christmas, do your research. Does my hotel have a gym? Is the weather okay for me to exercise outdoors? Do I still have my running shoes that I haven’t dusted off in 18 months? Remove all of these barriers before you go away.
Having exercise scheduled into your week also helps alleviate any guilty feelings you may be familiar with over the Christmas period. If you already know when you’ll exercise, you can happily enjoy your down time and not give any more thought to fitting your health into your schedule.
2. Workout first thing in the morning
One of the benefits of holidays is that you are given back so much free time in your day – no busy commute, no packing lunches, and no rushing to appointments after work. Allow yourself to enjoy that time by getting your exercise out of the way as soon as you wake up.
Not only will you then be able to enjoy the rest of your day – you’ll also have the added benefit of the energy and endorphins your workout has given you first thing in the morning.
3. Choose your accountability buddy
It’s easy to have your workout plan derailed if you’ve, say, scheduled yourself an exercise session only to find out the rest of the holiday group has made other plans. Make sure you have someone in your corner, even if that means you simply share your goals and plan with them.
Even better, find someone who will do your workouts with you. You might include your kids, your partner or a friend from your hometown. But it’s important to vocalise your plans and have that external support for the days you are lacking in motivation.
4. Use this time to find your routine
Holidays are actually a great time to start the new routines we want to implement for the New Year! The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that you commit to them for only a day or two before going back to work, school and/or other commitments that keep you busy for most of the day.
Holidays give you the chance to finally take up the membership at that new gym, feel refreshed enough to start a new hobby or buy the new shoes you need to start running again.
Now’s the time to turn your mind towards your health coming into the holidays! If you find that you struggle to do so, engage a coach or professional. Our coaches are there to set goals with you that are obtainable and sustainable, and to keep you accountable to those goals. Don’t wait until you’ve clocked off in December – start putting a plan in place now.
Ellie Bowden is the Owner, Manager and CrossFit/Nutrition Coach at Cultivar Health in West End. Ellie was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2018 and has worked as a legal officer at the ODPP and WorkCover Prosecutions.