It is the Holiday Season for sure! 

Waking up to a soft blanket of snow covering the rooftops makes the sugar plums start to dance in my head, and the scene reminds me of the gingerbread village my family constructs nearly every Christmas.  The countdown to Christmas makes me feel like a kid in so many ways, but the adult part of me is always trying to cram in time for one more project.  In the spirit of making the most of craziness of the next few days, here are my 9 holiday workout survival tips:

1.  Keep everything in perspective.

I am in a long-term relationship with fitness, which means that this Holiday season is just a chapter in my workout regimen.  Whatever happens in the next 9 days won’t break me unless I let it.  Like any relationship, fitness and I have seen our ups and downs, and I know if I work at it this relationship will continue to be a success.

2.  Make a plan for your week.

I try to make a rough plan for my workouts each week.  You don’t have make this elaborate, but having a plan helps me to make exercise a part of my daily schedule, and not an afterthought.  I try to make time for one pure weight training day each week, 2 pure cardio days, 1 day of yoga, and 2 combo weight/cardio workouts. 

3.  Be flexible to changing your plan.

Life happens.  While I think it’s important to have a plan for the day and the week in mind, please don’t allow yourself to feel like all is lost if it goes awry.  Brian and I usually take Friday as our day off, but Christmas being on a Wednesday this year will definitely shake that up.  Keep in mind in addition to contributing to your physical well-being, exercise has amazing mental benefits.  Maybe a hot shower and 10 minutes of stretching would help you get the sleep you need tonight.

4.  Set 1 or 2 reasonable goals for each workout.

I always think it’s a good idea to have goals when working out.  It’s a great way to measure my progress, and how hard I’m working.  I am always trying to think about and improve my form.  Maybe today is the day you try a couple un-modified push-ups, or squeeze in a couple extra jumping jacks.  Find a couple measurable ways to challenge yourself so you can be extra pround of your achievement today.  

5.  Shorter workouts can still yield powerful results.

I don’t think that longer workout sessions are necessarily better than shorter ones. The key for me is to make the most of the time I have.  I strive to ‘work smart’ and focus on the quality of my workout. I’ve had weeks when I’ve worked out both in the morning and in the evening, and my body was always exhausted which hindered my efforts going into the next day.  The days I feel the most proud are the times when I make every move count.

6.  Focus on the moment at hand.

To get the most out of exercise it’s essential that I not only engage myself physically, but that my mind is focused on the task at hand and not perusing my mentally list of the gajillion other things I have to do after this.  I have learned that if I can truly live in the moment that I am in, I am more productive and feel more accomplished.

7.  Keep your workouts interesting.

Have you ever used a shampoo one week too long?  You know the feeling, your hair is greasy and that beautiful luxurious feeling your hair had those first couple washes is gone.  Time to switch it up!  In order to meet my fitness and weight loss goals, my body and mind both need variety to feel challenged. 

8.  Learn to congratulate yourself.
For a long time I was someone who thrived off negative reinforcement, and I would tell myself that nothing I did was ever enough.  While I think perfectionism can be a positive quality, it becomes counter intuitive to constantly fell burdened by self-doubt.  Give yourself credit when it’s due.  Literally pat yourself on the back if necessary. 😉  You may be pleasantly surprised how giving yourself encouragement propels you to keep your head in the game.

9.  Don’t let 2 pounds undo your day.
You don’t have to love your scale, but you need to love yourself.  I don’t care how cheesy that sounds, it’s true.  Having a healthy perception of weight gain is essential to maintaining the optimism that will help you achieve your goals.  Guess what?  Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and this chic is going to eat some gingerbread.  Delicious, delicious gingerbread.  And I’m not even going to hate myself for it. Thursday December 26, 2013 is a new day and I intend to give it my all. 😉