Challenge Yourself and Stay Motivated this Winter and Holiday Season!

 

homealone

Winter is coming, we all know it. The days are getting shorter, and colder. It is during this time of the year that I find motivation to do any sort of physical activity other than Christmas shopping or baking, to be at an all time low. I used to work at an all women’s gym, and during this time of year it was basically a ghost town. Especially after work! This was because the majority of the clientele were moms, and moms have the special task of making Christmas happen for their families. I’m the biggest fan of Christmas! However, I do know that it can be a very stressful time of year. This is why keeping up with your exercise during this time of year is so important, and I’m here to give you some ideas on how to do just that!

I do understand that it’s cold outside, there’s less light, and this can all have an affect on your energy levels. However, there is nothing better than exercise to help with your stress, fatigue, and overall mood. Here is an idea on how to keep yourself active during this time of year:

Sign up for, or create your own fitness challenge! 

I have personally signed up for a fitness challenge this Christmas Holiday with two of my good friends from university. I have my own personal fitness goals that are forever changing to help me grow as a person, and as a fitness professional. I also think it’s important to try new things, and to meet new people. Plus, signing up for a fitness challenge with friends holds you more accountable to your goals, and to the challenge itself! If you’re wondering what challenge I signed up for? It’s the BOND X RIDE CHALLENGE. It’s a  5 week challenge that started on December 1st. Basically, you have to complete one 5K run, and one cycle class a week for 5 weeks. Now, this may seem really easy to some of you, and you’re right. It’s not a super hard challenge to complete. However, I personally hate running, and I’ve never done it in the winter. To me, that is a challenge! In addition, I picked this challenge because it’s fun! And because it’s totally possible to complete it during the holidays! There’s no reason why I can’t fit one class  and one run outside with BOND running a week.

So, my advice to you is sign up for a challenge this winter! A lot of gyms and studios run challenges during this time of year to help keep members motivated and engaged. If you’re not a member of the studio or gym, sometimes they have discounts to join the challenge, or other incentives. If there isn’t a challenge available to you at your local gym or studio etc, then create your own! Challenge yourself to attend at least two fitness classes a week for the next 5 weeks, or to go for two runs/walks outside. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is, just pick an activity that you enjoy doing, one that gets you moving, and make sure that you are making it a priority to complete the tasks you have set out for yourself every week. Also, it is much more fun to conquer any challenge with a friend, but if you can’t find someone to commit? Then commit to yourself! Make this a Christmas gift to you! Because you deserve to make yourself a priority!

I’m sure we have all at least thought about our bodies recently, and the effect the holiday season has on it. Or maybe we have fitness goals of our own, and we’re afraid of getting derailed? At the very least, I know that many of us have weight loss goals for the New Year, but why wait until then? Start working on your goals now! If you can commit yourself to your goals now by creating or joining a fitness challenge for yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve those New Years Resolutions! Especially if you complete the challenge! Now, don’t expect miracles for yourself this holiday season. Pick or create a challenge that is “challenging” for you, that is totally possible to complete, and that it is something that you enjoy doing! You will not make time for your challenge if it doesn’t meet these requirements! Also, if you are creating your own challenge? Have a reward for yourself at the end! If you worked hard, and met all the requirements of the challenge, then you deserve to celebrate!

To recap, these are the things you need to motivate yourself to stay active this holiday season:

  1. You need a goal, or a “why.” You need a reason why doing this challenge is important to you. Maybe you have an overarching goal, like to loose 10 lbs and completing this challenge will bring you one step closer to that goal. Or maybe the goal is to keep your sanity this holiday season? Whatever the goal it needs to mean a lot to you.
  2. Pick an activity that you ENJOY! It can be anything! But you have to like it enough to want to do it more than once a week. If you don’t love the activity, you may find things that you like about it. For example, you may like the music the instructor plays, the instructor themselves, or the people who attend the class. Either way, there has to be something that motivates you to do it in the first place.
  3. The frequency and time frame for your challenge needs to be realistic for your current lifestyle. If you haven’t set foot in the gym in months, then don’t think a 30 day challenge where you have to go everyday is going to help. Choose a frequency that is challenging for you, but that you are capable of adopting into your current fitness regiment or overall schedule. I would say you should be doing this activity at the very least, twice a week for about 4-6 weeks. That will give you enough time to maybe see a difference in your fitness or to find yourself a new hobby. The idea is to continue being active once the challenge is over…
  4. Schedule out your activity into your everyday life. You need to make it a priority by adopting it into your current schedule and holding yourself accountable to that appointment. You are far more likely to be successful if you make the time for your physical fitness. Plus the entire holiday season will seem a lot less overwhelming if you set a schedule for yourself, or at least daily tasks to complete.

For those of you who are leaning more towards hibernation this winter season, I strongly urge you to resist! You will most likely regret it. Just because winter invites you to hide behind a frumpy sweater, doesn’t mean you should! Exercise shouldn’t just happen during the months when people are more likely going to see your body in public. Yes it’s cold outside, there’s less light during the day, and this can all affect your energy levels and your mood. But exercise is the best method to combat these issues! Exercise boosts your mood, your energy levels, you will sleep better, and you will perform better during the day. If you’re already stressing out about all the obligations you have this holiday season? Then you need to make self-care a priority, and I am looking at all of those moms out there! Trust me, you will be better able to take care of everyone else once you have taken care of yourself first! But enough ranting, some form of physical activity everyday is important for maintaining or improving your overall well being. Get moving this winter, I promise you won’t regret it!

 

 


Day 5 of the 12 Days of Fitmas: Sleep and Stress Management During the Holidays

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited for Christmas! It’s about 11 days away, and I’m ready to go! Gifts are bought and wrapped under the tree, all I have to do is get things ready for my Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party this coming Saturday 😀

For this blog post, I got inspired by watching one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, Home Alone Two, Lost in New York. The holidays can be a very stressful time. Probably not as stressful as losing your son for the second time LOL Especially in New York City haha but either way, the holidays can feel quite overwhelming. Even though you may have a million things to take care of in the last two weeks before Christmas, shopping, baking, wrapping, cooking, holiday parties, school exams, end of the year work projects, whatever it may be, please remember that Christmas happens every year, and some how you seem to make it through 😛 So don’t stress!

LOL This is a scary photo right? hahahaha

I know this is easier said than done, and sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that may make this holiday season a little more stressful than usual. This is why I am writing this blog post. No matter how out of hand your life may be, you must take care of yourself first. So many of us get ourselves sick with the cold or flu at this time of year because we have not been sleeping properly, or managing our stress, and eventually our immune system breaks down, making us susceptible to the common cold.

In addition, if we don’t manage our stress properly, or get enough sleep, we tend to over eat. Emotional eating is a real thing! Many of you may think that you don’t change your eating habits when you’re stressed out but you do. I didn’t realize how much stress affected me and my eating habits until I was on prep for my first show. When I had a rough day at work, and then I came home, ate my last meal, I thought, “that’s it?!” I was so disappointed. I ate my fish and asparagus and thought, “that’s really not what I wanted.” 😦 I wanted chocolate in that moment so bad LOL and there was nothing I could do about it except for going to bed, because I was prepping for a show. That’s when I realized how comforting food can really be. When you’re really upset, tired, stressed out, or all the above, you tend to crave “comfort foods.” That’s why they’re called “comfort food,” they make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now I can get all scientific on you and explain to you how these foods release certain chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy, and warm inside but I really don’t want to get into that. Basically the foods we eat can have a major effect on how we feel.

The Christmas holidays happen in the middle of winter for this reason actually. Usually the cold dark winters bring people down, and because we do not know the exact date of Jesus’ birth (if you celebrate this part of the holiday), Christmas is celebrated in December. Celebrations like Christmas bring people together, they lift our spirits, and help us cope with a lot of the doom and gloom that comes with the winter season. Along with all the celebrations, come all of the fantastic comfort foods. I think Thanksgiving is like the trailer for Christmas LOL Thanksgiving really feels as though it is just preparing you for the crazy feasts, and parties that are soon to come your way! However, high stress, lack of sleep and the holidays are a lethal combination! If you’re tired, and upset, you will be craving high calorie foods, and because of the holidays season, there will be plenty of these sorts of foods at your disposal.

Please don’t let this be you! LOL You WILL eventually regret it! Even if it’s not at first…

I already wrote a piece earlier about nutrient timing, and how long hours of not eating will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, as well as your energy levels, which causes you to crave high calorie foods. Well so does lack of sleep. Lack of sleep causes low energy, and because you feel sluggish, you reach for the coffee, energy drinks, and carbohydrates to give you a boost. In addition, if you’re having the Christmas blues, you will eat your feelings. It’s so easy to reach for a shortbread cookie at this time of year when things are getting rough. Plus if you’re stressed out, running around trying to get everything done, a lot of us forget to eat properly. Most people are not like me, they do not prep their meals ahead of time, weigh and measure them so that they hit all their macro-nutrients properly. Especially at this time of year, it seems as though nutrition flies out the window, and  it’s a free for all, where people grab whatever they feel like eating, or what ever happens to be available. And 9 times out of 10 it is high calorie comfort food, from either a fast food restaurant, company Christmas party, staff potluck, or any holiday party you go to.

So please guys, no matter how busy you are at this time of year, make sure you don’t forget to eat, and you let yourself get enough proper rest!! You will eat less junk and you will feel so much better! There are better ways to deal with your stress, and lack of energy, and that is proper nutrition and regular exercise. It may not be the “easy” thing to do, but it is the option that is most worthwhile. Comfort foods are a quick fix, but at the end of the day they will have you feeling worse than when you started. Enjoy the holidays! But don’t let it become an excuse to derail your fitness completely! You will regret it trust me!