We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and we all know staying healthy, and motivated may be a bit of a struggle. Not only do more gatherings with friends and family lead to temptation, but the hustle and bustle of holiday travel can result in you questioning where your hard work from the Summer went. Crowded airports, parking lots, stores and streets can not only lead to increased stress but also decreased the availability of time and options when it comes to working out and nourishing your body. That’s why we’ve developed some tips on how to stay true to your fitness goals while away from home this holiday season.
- Prepare & Plan.
Traveling comes with its challenges, and they’re mostly a result of circumstances being out of your control. For example, finding fresh, wholesome food, either in an Airport, onboard a flight or while on a road trip to visit Grandma can be tough and time-consuming. However, you can beat the system with some preparation and nutritional planning. Packing a cooler and mini backpack with healthy and filling snacks will help keep you satiated until you can get more supplies on your trip. A homemade trail mix of goji berries, coconut and raw, mixed nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews will provide healthy fats, protein, and some carbs to give you lasting energy and feel full. Also, research restaurant menu and grocery store options surrounding where you’ll be staying. That way, you can conjure up meal ideas before you even get there!
Water comprises 70% of our body, so it’s critical to make it a priority even when it’s not convenient while traveling. You can’t bring liquid through the security checkpoints at airports, but you can buy bottled water once you’re in your terminal. Drinking lots of water not only hydrates you but mitigates hunger and energizes your cells. (Read more about the benefits of hydration here.)
When you’re on vacation, you might find yourself without your own transportation. This is a great excuse to get out and move more. When you’re waiting for a flight, you can see it as an opportunity to move because you’ll be stuck sitting for the duration of the flight. When out shopping for holiday gifts, look for options to get a little more exercise; park as far away as you can, take the stairs and walk with a little pep in your step to burn extra calories. Host a family competition to see who can burn the most over the course of your time together! – You can even use the FitTeam app to track your exercise AND food!
- Minimize/Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol has no nutritional value, and most find they don’t make the best food choices during or after drinking. Your guard may come down when you have a drink, resulting in mindlessly adding empty calories to your holiday repertoire. If you do choose to indulge, save the sipping for the actual holiday celebration.
- Be your own fitness coach.
Traveling causes our daily routines, especially healthy diet, and exercise habits, to go to the wayside. Even though your favorite gym or yoga studio isn’t nearby, you don’t always need a gym to get your body moving and burning calories. Besides walking/running, body weight movements are challenging and effective— lunges, air squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups (assuming you have a bar or a tree) are all amazing strength building exercises that can be done anywhere. Even dancing in your hotel room or the living room with the kids for a few minutes can do wonders and make your heart and mind happy.
- Set your intentions.
Everything mentioned—from deciding to drink water to ensuring you make time and put forth the effort to exercise—will be more likely to happen if you think about it ahead of time and set your intention to commit to being healthy during the holidays. This helps you remain in control, rather than automatically reacting to circumstances as they happen. Feelings of stress during travel and the holidays is inevitable. Make the decision to avoid fitness pitfalls ahead of time by visualizing your day with a healthy trail mix snack, plenty of water, and movement breaks. You might be pleasantly surprised how effective visualization and intention setting techniques can be.
- Chill out.
Traveling and the holidays can be exhausting, mentally and physically. Whether it’s a delayed flight, traffic jam, or someone angry about not getting the latest and greatest holiday toy, take some deep breaths, and realize stressing out will only make things worse. Being conscious about how you’re feeling and the awareness that much of what happens is actually out of your control can lower your heart rate almost immediately. Be sure to balance all the good times with friends and family with plenty of relaxation and recovery. You’ll feel better and be more empowered to stick to healthy choices.
-Health & Wellness Coach