With the holidays approaching, the calendar begins to fill with endless social events, family get-togethers (some more enjoyable than others), work parties and if you’re lucky, holiday travel. Given that most of these occasions are centred around excessive eating and drinking, late nights and busy schedules, it can be hard to keep your exercise routine on track during this period (unless you count repetitively sipping from a glass as your daily bicep curls).

Here are my top tips for staying true to your exercise goals during silly season:

  1. Exercise in the morning – As an innocent lunch with colleagues turns into 3 or 4 wines, the afternoon gym session is the first thing to go. Train first thing in the morning so that the inevitable higher-priority social events that manifest during the day don’t derail you.
  1. Get your 8 hours sleep – This loosely translates to “leave the party early”. Socialise, have fun, enjoy life…just remember: nothing that good will happen after you leave. Lack of sleep is one of the main reasons an exercise routine can get derailed. Many well-meaning Christmas party attendees have hung on until the dire hours of the morning in the name of FOMO or to score extra brownie points with colleagues or bosses (or worse, to compensate for their low salary in free beer). Don’t do this, the only thing to be gained is a pounding headache and a hazy memory of regretful conversations. Get to bed and wake up for your morning gym session.
  1. Movement-based catch-ups – It’s a great time of year for catching up with friends and family, but it doesn’t have to be at the café/pub/restaurant/loungeroom. Organise your catch-ups around being physical, such as walks, a game of golf or group cricket at the park (watching cricket at the pub doesn’t count).
  1. Don’t eat seconds, thirds or fourths – Its’ 2018 in a developed country, you’re not going to starve, so don’t eat like it’s the last meal you’ll get for a week. Food moderation is one of the easiest ways to maintain your waistline and motivation to exercise over the holidays, so make a commitment now to the single serve (the ham and turkey doesn’t taste any different on the second helping). Another hot tip: re-gift chocolate. A jumbo box of Favourites from your colleague makes a great gift for Aunty Jane.
  1. Hydrate – If you’re having a few cheeky Christmas drinks, you can avoid a large part of your morning struggle simply by rehydrating before you go to bed. Gulping down a litre of water before you hit the hay will do wonders for your morning motivation, and you’ll find yourself in the gym sweating out that eggnog in no time.
  1. HIIT – You can do a seriously effective workout in just 20 minutes with high-intensity exercise, so if you’re calendar is chokas with holiday hoedowns, leverage this time-efficient way to exercise and squeeze a little HIIT session into your daily schedule. This is also a great way to keep fit whist travelling, as burpees, squat jumps and wall sprints can all be done in even the pokiest of hotel rooms, without any equipment. 

Happy holidays!