5 Tips to Stick to Your Workout Plan Through the Holidays

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5 Ways to Stick to Your Workout Plan Through the Holidays


Ah, the holiday season – a time of joy, celebration, and, let’s be honest, a fair share of indulgence. 


Between the family gatherings, festive feasts, and the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, finding time for your regular workout can feel like an uphill battle. 


Fear not! 


Staying on track with your fitness goals during this festive time is not only possible, it can be a grounding anchor through all the craziness of this time.

As we dive into the holiday spirit, the temptation to skip workouts in favor of more time on the couch snuggled up in a cozy hoodie watching holiday movies or a few extra treats is understandable.


However, maintaining a consistent workout routine is so important in this season, not just for your physical health, but for managing holiday stress and keeping those mood-lifting endorphins flowing. 


In this post, we’ll explore practical and enjoyable ways to incorporate fitness into your holiday schedule, ensuring you stay active and energized throughout the Holidays, or any busy season.


Why It’s Important to Keep Exercising When Life Gets Busy


When life gets busy, often the first thing to go out the window is our workout. I have a couple of theories about why this is: 


For people who enjoy working out, it can feel like an indulgence to take time out for a workout when there are so many other things on our to-do list. 


When work, family obligations, and holiday activities start piling up, we figure we can Just skip the gym to free up some time. 


But this mindset ignores the immense physical and mental benefits of exercise: It’s not an indulgence but a vital component of self-care. Maintaining your workouts amid chaos keeps your energy and mood elevated, bolsters your immune system, and prevents bad habits from sneaking in. It’s not just a workout, it’s an investment in your wellbeing.


For people who don’t like working out, that to-do list can become a convenient rationalization for taking a day or two or three off from our fitness practice. When we’re already low on motivation, it’s tempting to ditch workouts in favor of “more urgent” tasks. But this mentality disguises the frustration and loss of progress that can come from an extended break. 


It’s unlikely you’ll magically feel motivated to restart your routine after two weeks off. And losing momentum means you’ll struggle to bounce back. Staying the course now prevents you from having to start back at square one later. 


The truth is that we should treat exercise as an anchor of stability when everything else feels out of control. It’s not an indulgence but a lifeline.


Fortunately, there are loads of good reasons to keep moving through the Holidays:


  • Reduced Holiday stress: What better way to manage the Holiday frenzy than with a good sweat session? Exercise releases endorphins which boost mood and relieve stress. A brisk walk or home workout provides a welcome mental and emotional break amidst crowded shopping malls and hectic pre-holiday preparations.
  • Hold on to your gains: The older we get, the faster we lose our fitness progress if we take an extended break, amiright? It’s discouraging to start the New Year having to rebuild all that lost cardio capacity and strength. Maintaining your current regimen, even if scaled back, means you don’t backslide too drastically. You worked hard, so don’t waste it.
  • Boost immunity: The Holidays mean more exposure to germs and bugs with all the gatherings and traveling. But exercise helps strengthen your immune system, so your body can fight off any seasonal colds or flu more effectively. Get your sweat on to reduce the likelihood of getting sick and having to miss any of the Holiday fun.



Set Yourself Up for Holiday Workout Success: Set Realistic Expectations


As much as we may want to keep up our regular routine that just may not be possible at this busy time, and that’s ok. 

You could do a quick row, throw on your hiking shoes and go for a brisk walk in the woods, or do a couple of quick rounds of full-body strength moves. Even a little can go a long way.


Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good! Something is always better than nothing. 


Your mindset plays a big part here, too. If you look at your workout as one more obligation you’re less likely to do it, and certainly less likely to enjoy it. 


Instead, reframe it to look at it as self-care and something you deserve for yourself, especially at this time of year.


5 Tips to Keep the Workout Train Rolling


  • Tip #1: Take a post-meal walk: Rather than plopping down on the couch right after a big holiday meal, go for a walk, bike ride or a light job. It will help with digestion and offset the impact on your blood sugar.
  • Tip #2: Do your workout at home: Can’t get to the gym? There are so many options to get your sweat on from the comfort of your basement or living room. It’s one of the main reasons we created UCanRow2 on Demand, to remove the barriers from getting in a good row!
  • Tip #3: Break it up: Break up your workout into “exercise snacks” you can do in short bursts throughout the day. For example, set a timer for 5 minutes and see how many times you can do 10 squats, 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups.
  • Tip #4: Get an accountability buddy: Sometimes all it takes to keep moving is someone to hold your feet to the fire. Buddy up with a friend to do workouts, report in when your workouts are done, or for some friendly competition. 
  • Tip #5: Do a workout challenge: The Concept2 Holiday Challenge is a perfect way to keep moving between Thanksgiving in the US and Christmas! You can get your workouts in and have those meters count towards Concept2’s donation to charity.  



Use the Rowing Machine to Stay Active


If longer rowing workouts like you might do for the Concept2 Holiday Challenge just aren’t in the cards, don’t be afraid to get creative! I’ve got three options for you here, but the possibilities are truly endless.


I’m excited to bring you these, too, because rowing gets such a bad rap, all year long.


It’s so often portrayed as being exclusively a tool for suffering. Like if you’re not falling off your machine gasping for breath at the end of your workout you’re not doing it right. 🤮


That’s just wrong. And SO far from the truth! In fact, rowing is great for so many fitness and movement goals and intensities.


For example: 


  1. “Warmup meters”: One of my coaching clients is dealing with a lot of muscle soreness lately, especially when he first gets up in the morning. I suggested he start his day with 10-15 minutes of “warmup meters,” light rowing where he’s simply enjoying the movement and rhythm of the stroke.


No sweat required, it’s not his workout. Instead, he’s using it simply as a way to wake up his body and get a nice start to his day.


  1. Low-intensity steady state: Sometimes it’s nice to just s-l-o-w things down, especially when it’s hot as blazes outside! Enter the low-intensity steady state (LISS) workout. This has been a staple of ours at UCanRow2 – lights down, stroke rate low, nice music, an audiobook or a favorite show on. Ahhhh, even just 15-20 minutes works, but feel free to go longer if you like. It’s so great for stress management! 


  1. A quick round of high intensity: On the flip side, rowing makes a great high-intensity (HIIT) finisher, after a strength training workout, for example, or now when time is so short. To save time, head straight to the rower when you finish your main workout (and you’re still warmed up) and do maybe a 6- to 12-minute round of alternating high- and low-intensity rounds of rowing.


Need workouts to try? We’ve got them in our HIIT rowing workouts guide, and there are also follow-along videos waiting for you on UCanRow2 on Demand.


Commit to Yourself and Keep Moving!


The Holidays are special; You should feel that you can enjoy them. And you also deserve to go into the New Year feeling confident and strong. 


If you fall off track and miss a day, no worries! Just jump back on the next day. 


The key thing is to avoid having multiple off-track days in a row. Two days can easily turn into three, which can easily turn into, “F- it, I’ll start in January,” and then you have an Everest-sized mountain to climb.


Remember too, especially if this is all new, we are PRACTICING this stuff.


Give yourself So. Much. Grace. To mess up, to jump back on track, to ask for support.


I hope this helps you be strategic and keep the overwhelm at bay.


Need help with this? Let me know.


Happy Holidays!

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