With the holiday season there is much disruption of the routine. All of a sudden you have events to go to, parties to be at, special traditions you have to fit into your schedule. All of this can be a struggle if you’re also trying to maintain a new habit.
If you’re getting into the gym and don’t want to disrupt the progress you’ve made. And you also don’t want any regret when the “holiday season” is over, I have some tips to help you be set for success.
Tip 1: Decide if you need to train or just exercise.
This is the biggest one. Are you TRAINING or are you just EXERCISING. If you are Training and you have an event you are preparing or a specific time bound goal you are trying to hit it is more likely that you’ll need to make this a priority.
If you are just trying to maintain your gym habit then there is less priority it may be that you don’t even need to make a plan because it’ll just work out whenever you fit it in. You won’t lose your gains in a month and if you have the habit and routine already you’ll be able to jump right back in when the calendar is more normal.
Tip 2: Plan your training schedule
So we’ve decided we’re doing this. Now we have to decide how much do we need to get done. Like we talked about with motivation knowing how to get to where you want to be is key. This is the time of year to understand minimal effective dose when it comes to training. If necessary plan for workouts to be shorter this time of year. Focus only on the big primary movements and worry less about getting every accessory in.
Tip 3: Find A place to Train
This one is optional, but if you’re like me you may be out of town for an extended period of time. If you are dedicated to your training (or you need an excuse to take a break from the people you’re visiting) you need to research the area. Try to locate a gym that allows you to train what you want, how you want. If you are a member of a national chain see if there are any nearby. If you are looking for something more specific search the area for the specific needs you have. For example I need to train Olympic weightlifting. The area I’m visiting doesn’t have many big gyms but they do have powerlifting gyms. I searched and found one that had bumper plates that I could do my training in, and got a 1 week membership for my time there.
Tip 4: Block your calendar
Now that we have a plan and a place it’s time to make the time. Block your calendar for the training you want to do. Start time and end time should be defined and to survive this season stick to them. It’s not the time of year to be late because the gym session went long.
Tip 5: Communicate your plan
This is huge. This one cannot be understated. Tell your friend, tell your partner, tell your parents, tell everyone that is trying to make plans with you what you’re needing to accomplish. Set the expectation that you’re going to need to train from start time to end time and then you’ll be available to be a part. For most situations this is going to give you a green light to move forward with your plans. On the occasion that it doesn’t match the calendar it gives you the opportunity in advance to make the adjustment so that you can get your session in and get your plans in.
Tip 6: Be Flexible
Like I just mentioned you have to be flexible. It might be a work party followed by a Christmas light tour and it takes up your whole evening and you can’t train. Do it the next day, or wake up and do it in the morning. You make time for the things that are your priority and it can be accomplished.
Tip 7: Be Gracious
Finally be gracious to yourself and to others this time of year. One missed session and really, even one missed whole month is not going to make you lose all your gains. You might come back with a set back, and then it’ll quickly get back to the strength levels you were at before.
We are in the slow cooker business. Slow and steady and consistency are the biggest winners in this lifestyle. Be kind and enjoy yourself then come back and get into the habits again after the season. I honestly am tougher on myself in January than Thanksgiving to New Years. It’s about how you are when it’s time to get back to work that matters. Prioritize your values and you’ll be able to look back on your holiday season with pride and gladness.