5 expert tips on how to fit fitness into your holiday schedule

Yes, you're busy! But you can still squeeze in workouts around the holiday chaos. A time-management guru tells us how.
Holiday workouts
(Photo: Lipstickpowdernpaint.com)


Weekly boot camp and yoga classes often take a back seat to shopping, parties, and decorating this time of year. But the holiday season is no time to start slacking when it comes to sweating.

“You need it more than ever because it’s also the season of high stress, extra to-dos, and high indulgence,” says time-management expert Julie Morgenstern. “There’s no need to throw your hands up in the air and just skip your workouts until January.”

How to make that happen? We tapped Morgenstern for practical ways to have your spin class—and eat holiday cookies, too.

Here are five tips for fitting fitness into your holiday schedule:

1. Keep a master to-do list. “You’ve got to keep everything you need to do organized in one place,” says Morgernstern. So, say goodbye to the thousands of Stickies on your desktop and meld your personal, business, and fitness to-do lists into one, using whatever organizational tool works best for you. (Morgenstern designed a digital-influenced paper planner specifically for this purpose.)

Julie Morgenstern
Julie Morgenstern

2. Set realistic, concrete goals. You may not be able to maintain your normal routine of five Flybarre classes a week, but decide how many workouts you can realistically fit in, and try to stick to that number. “Make a commitment either way,” she says. “When goals are vague, time management systems collapse.”

3. Schedule your workouts weekly. Your schedule will likely be erratic, so sit down at the beginning of each week and pencil in your workouts between champagne toasts and gift wrapping. “Look for the holes or create holes. Then, throw a net around those times and get them into your calendar,” suggests Morgenstern. “When you’ve got the time set aside, you won’t be waiting for a moment to appear.”

4. Have an at-home option. Doing squats between your couch and coffee table may not be ideal, but having a few go-to DVDs or online workouts to call on will help you on the craziest of days by cutting out travel time to and from the gym or studio. “This will be your safety valve, so even if you miss your regular class, your plan won’t fall apart,” she says. Plus, you can take it with you when you’re traveling for the holidays.

5. Stop wasting time. Morgenstern says that people waste tons of time holiday shopping. “If you really stop and plan, you can get 100 percent of your shopping done in two trips.” Social media, she says, is the second biggest time-suck. (And probably not just during the holidays.) Not only will scrolling through high school friends’ wedding photos on Facebook waste your time, it can keep you up until all hours, which steals energy you’ll need for your early run the next morning.

“To make it through the holidays, you have to think of yourself as an energy athlete,” Morgenstern says. “You have to perform this month, and it’s not easy.” But the energy boost and endorphins you’ll get from working out will make it easier. —Lisa Elaine Held

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