Staying Fit With Interval Training Throughout the Holiday Season

At-Home Holiday Fitness Solutions

Laura Williams

If you're going to ditch your workout, you're probably going to do it during the holiday season. Between travel plans, kids' school activities, family gatherings, shopping, cooking, and attending various holiday parties, everyone's schedule gets slammed with new obligations, making it easy to push workouts by the wayside.

But here's why you shouldn't ditch your workout this year:

  1. It's a stress reliever. Even if you love the holiday season, it can be stressful. See the list of reasons above.
  1. It helps counterbalance wayward nutrition. The holiday season is the time when you're most likely to enjoy a few extra cocktails, a smorgasbord of Christmas cookies, and your fair share of turkey and ham. While you should still exercise moderation, as long as you're actually exercising, you can feel confident that your extra calorie consumption won't undo all the good you've done throughout the year.
  2. It keeps you centered and on track. When everything in your life gets thrown a bit off-course, it's incredibly balancing to have one or two go-to routines that help you maintain a sense of normalcy. By maintaining your weekly workout, you'll be able to comfortably carry yourself through the holiday season and into the new year without having to try to re-calibrate your life after January 1st.
  3. It boosts mood. Sure, the holidays should be happy, but how often have you found yourself snapping at your spouse or feeling irritated with your kids, just because your life feels out of whack? Exercise releases endorphins that can boost mood and help you maintain a positive outlook.
  1. It improves productivity. Individuals who exercise regularly have better mental focus and are more productive than those who exercise infrequently. When you've got a lot on your plate, squeezing fitness into your day can actually help you tackle everything else more efficiently.

How to Make a Holiday Fitness Routine Work

  • Choose Short Bursts of High Intensity Intervals. The good news is, you don't have to commit to long workouts. Short, intense bursts of exercise can be more effective than longer, steady-state training. By aiming for three to five workouts a week, each lasting between 20 and 45 minutes, you'll reap the benefits of exercise throughout the holidays while maintaining (or even improving) your current level of fitness.
  • Stay at Home. If you're worried about time, skip the drive to the gym. That alone can shave off 10 to 40 minutes of your designated workout time, depending on where your gym's located. And believe it or not, you don't have to have a gym to stay fit (just check out the rest of the articles here on the Alternative Fitness site). You don't even need any special fitness equipment to do the job. Focus on bodyweight training exercises that significantly increase your heart rate and challenge your major muscle groups.
  • Follow a Program. Your best bet for sticking to a workout routine during the holidays, especially if you plan to workout at home, is to follow an actual program. It can be tough to plan and execute your own workouts, especially if you're not quite sure how to perform a high intensity interval routine. Check Pinterest and YouTube to seek out free programs, or head to Girls Gone Sporty to grab the free, 28-day program I designed for my followers (just subscribe to have it delivered to your email). It's seriously tough, but it's also seriously effective. The program I designed uses nothing more than body weight exercises and a jump rope. While I used the CROSSROPE system throughout the routine, you can use any jump rope you have on hand. And if you prefer to follow an instructor, I put together five, full-length videos of some of the workouts on YouTube.

    Use This Sample Interval Workout

    As an example of the type of interval training program you should follow, check out this workout taken from day 3 of the 28-day interval training routine:

    Tabata Workout

    When performing a Tabata workout, set a Tabata timer on your computer or smartphone so that it gives you 8 interval periods, each with 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. In other words, you'll perform 20 seconds of work, then you'll rest for 10 seconds, repeating this cycle eight total times. Each Tabata lasts a total of four minutes.

    This Tabata workout includes four, four-minute Tabatas.

    Tabata #1: Skaters

    • Perform 8 sets of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

    Tabata #2: Mountain Climbers

    • Perform 8 sets of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

    Tabata #3: Moguls

    • Perform 8 sets of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

    Tabata #4: Bear Squats

    • Perform 8 sets of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

    To get the full, 28-day interval training program for free, head to Girls Gone Sporty.

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