Makeover Monday: Fitting Fitness into the Holidays

Last holiday season was my first as a relatively fit person, and I handled it pretty well, if I do say so myself. I was recovering from foot surgery, so the exercises I could do were limited (no cardio!), but I could do some basic seated lifting and such. The bigger problem was the onslaught of holiday events and activities that interfered with my carefully crafted exercise schedule. I’m no social butterfly, but there was enough turbulence to cause me no small amount of concern.

It was useless worry, as it turned out. (It so often is.) With advice from my trainers and an internet filled with great ideas, I was able to exercise enough to net a mere half pound gain for the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Considering the average weight gain during the holiday season is as much asseven pounds, I was pleased with my results.

{pause for gratitude moment}

The biggest part of my relative success, I think, was that fitting in exercise was important to me. Where possible, I scheduled activities around my workout schedule, but there were some conflicts that were unavoidable.(It didn’t seem right to ask people to reschedule their Christmas parties because I needed to exercise.) But I knew that I needed the exercise to continue building a healthier body and also to compensate for the extra calories I was enjoying here and there as part of the holiday tradition. (rotel dip=yum!)

In an odd turn of events, continuing to focus on fitting in exercise where I could had the added benefit of keeping me mindful of those extra calories.

You see? It’s all a delightful circle!

Anyway, I jotted down notes last year, and I’ve added to them since then. Here’s a sampling of tips and tricks to add exercise into your day…often where you least expect it! None of them requires special equipment, so you have no excuse. :)

At home:
– Easy schmeasy, tried-and-true one: exercise during the commercial breaks of your favorite holiday movies and specials. Planks, sit-ups, push ups, jumping jacks–there are dozens of things you can do!
– Work on balance and core strength by standing on one foot while you brush your teeth. Stand on the other while you apply makeup (or dry your hair or whatever). [Guys? Maybe not while you’re shaving.]
– Making extra grocery runs during the holiday season? Toting a few extra bags? Consider doing a few bicep curls with your bags before you put them in the car and again when you take them into the house. While putting away those groceries, do a few overhead presses with your canned goods. (Assuming you’re like me and buy canned goods.)
– Use telephone time to do squats or lunges. (I have a cordless handset, so that I can move around while I catch up on news with friends and family.)
– Since time is short anyway, do your household chores such as mopping, vaccuuming, or scrubbing at a faster pace. (I did that with leaf-raking/bagging all weekend, and beleive me, it pays off!)

At work:
– Don’t use the restroom closest to your office. Go to one further away. If you work in a multi-story building as I do, you can work in a few flights of stair-climbing. (Considering I go about six times a day, this is a significant amount of climbing.
– Stand up every time your phone rings and if possible, remain standing for the duration of the call. Pull your belly in and hold it tight.

Out and about:
– Holidays are a great time to meet old friends and reminisce. Instead of meeting for lunch, why not meet for a walk? If it’s too cold outside, meet at a mall or fitness center.
– An oldie but goodie: while out shopping, park as far away from the door as is safely and prudently possible.

If you have weights or other exercise equipment at home, you might want to check out 8 Minutes in the Morning by Jorge Cruise and Anthony Robbins. It’s filled with exercise plans that require a small amount of time each day. I’ve used it a few times in the past, and I plan to try it again during Christmas week, if life gets a bit hectic. (Note: In grabbing the link for the book, I noticed a similar book by the same authors: 8 Minutes in the Morning for Real Shapes, Real Sizes: Specifically Designed for People Who Want to Lose 30 Pounds or More. I haven’t read that one, but I’m curious.)

That’s it from me. No doubt YOU have your own tips and tricks and you’ll be willing to share them with us in the comments! Pleeeaaaase?

Have a marvelous Monday!