How to Structure a Holiday Workout Schedule You’ll Actually Stick To

Going into the holidays when you’ve finally mastered your workout routine can feel a bit like entering a minefield. After all, between holiday meal prep, catching up with friends and family, and the various holiday activities, creating a holiday workout routine can seem impossible. 


But the good news is that keeping a holiday workout schedule doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems!


I know I know, you’re thinking,

“But, I won’t have time for a 30-45 minute workout three times a week. And because of all the parties, everything showers post-workouts will be an absolute necessity. So that’s even more time!”


I hear you. 


But what if I told you your workouts didn’t have to be 30-45 minutes to be effective?


What if I told you your workouts could be as short as 5-10 minutes and still keep you on track?


Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down. 


Two major things tend to throw off consistency in a workout routine during the holidays:

  1. An All or All-Or-Nothing Mindset
  2. A Perceived Lack of Time 



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Let’s tackle number one first.


All-Or-Nothing Mindset

When we finally find a workout routine that works for us, it’s very easy to be wary of any diversion from the plan. And let’s face it, no matter what your routine is, the holidays present a major diversion from routine. 


When your routine gets out of whack it’s very easy to think,

“Well, I can’t do a real workout. So, is it even worth it?” 

The answer is, Yes! Yes, it is worth it!


Something is better than nothing when it comes to consistency in fitness. And as you know, the Dancers Who Lift motto is, “imperfect consistency > than perfect inconsistency.” 

This is largely because half of the consistency battle in fitness is mental. Studies have shown that showing up, even for a short amount of time, trains your brain to prioritize workouts. In other words, if you make the effort to complete a workout-even a micro workout-you are more likely to continue to adhere to your workout routine. 


 Another fear that creeps in during the holidays is that you will “lose your progress” if you’re not getting in a full workout. But this study proved that a short, “holiday workout,”  is plenty to maintain the hypertrophy you’ve built over the last few months.

Not to mention the mental refresh a mini, holiday workout will give your brain when dealing with various personalities throughout the holiday season. That’s worth it right there!


Now that we’ve shown that a little bit, is still plenty! Let’s dive into number two.


A Perceived Lack of Time

The idea that you need to be accomplishing three or four forty-five-minute workouts a week to make progress on your fitness goals has largely been debunked!


This study shows that accumulated workouts (small workouts scattered throughout the day or week) have similar results to continuous workouts. (Traditional 30-45 minute sessions.) That means that you could do three, ten-minute mini workouts throughout the day and see the same progress as you would have had you carved out an hour or two for the gym! 


What a liberating discovery!


Okay, so now that we know this. How do we build a holiday workout schedule we can stick to?


I’m glad you asked.


There are three tools I use to plan a holiday workout routine: 

  1. Plan Ahead
  2. Be Flexible
  3. Don’t Overthink!

Let’s Break it down


Plan Ahead

Odds are during the holidays you have a rough idea of the various activities, parties, and meals you need to be present for. 


So, take a look at the week ahead and identify little pockets of time where you could get a workout in. 

For me, it’s often right before I hop in the shower. I’ll just go into my bedroom, do some push-ups, dead bugs, and air squats, then hop in the shower and no one is the wiser that I’ve taken any extra time than normal. 

Other useful pockets of time can be those random hours in between events. Remember, these are short workouts, so you’re less likely be a sweaty mess afterward, allowing you some flexibility as to when you can accomplish them!


Once you’ve made the plan, stick to it! Remember that study above that said these mini-holiday-workouts help us cognitively adhere to our fitness plan? Do yourself a favor and show up for yourself this season.


Be Flexible

Oh no! You had a plan to fit your holiday workout in before your shower but your mom surprised you with a trip to the salon for mani-pedis! Now you won’t have time to fit that workout in. 


First, take a deep breath and think about the lasting memory here- what a sweet opportunity! Then, take a moment and think about your day. Odds are, there’s another 10-minute window you could squeeze in those lunges. 


And if not, remember, accumulated work is just as effective as consecutive. So, do 10 air squats when you go to the bathroom. Drop and do a few push-ups before you change clothes for dinner. Or, ask your mom to go for a walk with you after the salon! Extra steps are a great way to keep your body moving and you’ll get bonus time with your family member! 


Don’t Overthink

It can be really easy for us to have analysis paralysis and overthink exactly what we should do in our mini holiday workout. 

So, an easy rule of thumb:

Choose an upper-body exercise, a lower-body exercise, and some type of abdominal or plyometric exercise. 

Here’s a list of exercises that hit each of these categories!

Not feeling like creating your own workout?

Here are five micro workouts that we’ve already written just for this occasion!

So what do you think? Will you be incorporating micro workouts into your holiday workout routine? 

If you do, let us know! We want to celebrate your consistency and dedication! And if you want more workouts, check out the Dancers Who Lift blog every Wednesday for a free workout!


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