Most of us dread the effect that the holidays always seem to have on our waistlines and overall physical fitness. Even if we don’t gain weight, it seems like Thanksgiving, religious holidays and New Years’ slow down our progress and render us immobile while we’re traveling to see friends and family, lounging with loved ones or simply opting to stay in, in front of the fireplace, on our days off from work.

While there’s no shame in living up the holiday season to the fullest, when sticking with your fitness plan and continuing weight loss or maintenance goals is a priority, it can help to consider what makes us fall off of the proverbial healthy-living wagon in the first place, in order to begin to figure out what we can do to avoid these negative consequences.

Your routines have been turned upside-down.

One of the reasons many of us can stick to our workout routine is because it has simply become a part of our regular day. It isn’t difficult to find time for the gym once we’ve settled on a schedule, and there’s few distractions that can outrank the importance of getting that workout in. Come the holiday season, however, there seems to be nothing BUT distractions – visitors from afar, kids (and spouses) home on break, shopping trips for gifts and planned occasions; all of these can feel like they should take precedence over sticking to your normal routine.

While it might not be possible to always attend the same classes or keep to the time you’re accustomed to, planning in advance can at least ensure you make it at all. Have family members let you know their schedules – when they’re arriving and departing, and who needs rides, when and to where – and find out when you’ll have the appropriate amount of time available to hit the gym, without missing out on crucial fam time or cutting your workouts short.

You’re sluggish from overeating and under-exercising.

It’s a vicious cycle: you skip a workout, you feel extra tired (since working out is known to raise overall energy levels), and it’s harder to get into the groove the next day when your energy is lagging. Throw an overabundance of food and too many calories into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for lethargy.

Unfortunately, the cure for this one is heavily preventative, unless pre-workouts with plenty of caffeine are a part of your routine: take care to keep yourself in the groove as much as possible, and it will be easier to avoid falling off the wagon entirely.

You’re subconsciously waiting until the New Year.

Even if you’re not the “New Years’ Resolution” type, many people end up shifting fitness to the back of their minds until the end of the Thanksgiving – Christmas – New Year’s trifecta, simply because January 1st marks the end of all the celebrating. Because everyone else is doing it, and because the season only comes one time per year, it’s easy to get into the “I’ll start after this last event!” mindset of fitness and weight loss.

Any other time of year, this sort of thinking could be pretty readily weeded out as an excuse – so viewing it as such, and treating the holidays like you would any other special event, can help you indulge with care instead of viewing it as a free-for-all. Check out our blog on making sound diet decisions for help in this arena!

Along with offering a variety of group exercise classes, including yoga classes, in South Jersey, we also give all of our members free access to a Registered Dietitian and personal trainer. If you’re concerned about making your diet and workout routine amenable to the upcoming holidays, set up an appointment with either or both of these resources to brainstorm a customized plan to help you make it through to the New Year.