You know what this means: Endless shopping and other holiday activities will consume so much of your time, while regular exercise will be put on the back burner — or forgotten altogether.
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During this time of year, our lives can get extremely hectic, so quit trying to get quality gym time. It's easy to say, "A few weeks without exercise won't hurt me" or "I'll catch up after the New Year." However, it will be more difficult to restart your training later, when you might have a few post-holiday pounds to lose. And, by the way, running from store to store is not exercise.
Here are six of my top tips for fitness after Black Friday.
1. Try a bit of visualization. Imagine yourself on Jan. 1 and beyond after not having exercised for several weeks. How much heavier will you be? How much harder or longer will you have to work out to lose all the weight that piled on during the holidays? Often, when you think of the consequences of your actions ahead of time, that will be all the motivation you'll need to keep exercising.
2. Break your usual exercise routine into a couple of small sessions throughout the day. For example, two or three 10- to 15-minute workouts might be more manageable than an hour-long session.
3. Exercise in the morning. It might mean getting up earlier than usual but at least you'll be done for the day. Plus, you'll be more energized for all the other activities. Another possibility is to use part of your lunch hour for a mini-workout; even a short session is better than none.
4. Choose the right type of exercise. Use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is shorter in duration, but extremely effective at burning fat and keeping you in shape.
5. Ban all the "But I don't have time" excuses. Don't fall into a trap of coming up with reasons why you can't work out. Tell yourself right now that exercise is an important part of your healthy lifestyle, and that you can and will fit it into your schedule, no matter how hectic it gets.
6. Work out with a buddy or in a group. Statistics show that people who exercise with a friend or in a group are more successful at exercising consistently. Make a pact with friends to encourage each other should one of you feel like slacking off.
Following all these points will help even the busiest people keep up their fitness game. When all the holiday bustle is over, you'll be glad you did!
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, radio show personality, and author of www.hometeamfitnessblog.com. Find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.