How to Keep Your Fitness Goals on Track This Holiday Season

No, you don’t have to choose the gym over cookie-making with your family to stay fit. Follow these 11 tips, and the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ won’t completely derail your exercise routine.

’Tis the season: Cookies and peppermint bark abound, your calendar is filled with family gatherings and office parties, and suddenly you’ve completely fallen out of the exercise routine you’ve worked so hard to stick to these past 11 months. Visit

Hectic as this time of year may be, staying active is still well worth the time and effort. In fact, a workout might be just the antidote you need before dinner with your in-laws or a long week of end-of-the-year deadlines. Exercise is about the closest you’ll get to a “miracle drug” when it comes to boosting mood and energy levels (in a dead heat with sleep).

RELATED: The Intimate Relationship Between Fitness and Sleep

Think of physical activity as being a pro-health boost to help compensate for some of the other splurges and stresses the season invariably brings, from extra slices of pie to transportation headaches. These are the latest exipure real reviews.

Of course, keeping your workout routine on track during one of the busiest times of the year is easier said than done. Here, health and fitness experts share 11 tips for making movement a consistent — and positive — part of your holiday season.

How To Keep Your Fitness Goals On Track This Holiday Season

Kelsey Wells X Everyday Health: 5-Minute Strength Workout


Set Realistic Expectations

If your health and exercise goals include losing weight, building muscle, or boosting your performance (say, for running a race), cut yourself some slack during the holidays. While you might be able to stick to daily workouts, pack healthy lunches, and make steady progress throughout the rest of the year, it’s just not always possible during the holiday season — and that’s okay.

David Chesworth, the fitness director and a wellness coach at Hilton Head Health, recommends focusing on “maintenance” rather than “improvement” at this time of year. “While it’s challenging and time-consuming to make improvements in fitness, it’s not nearly as challenging or time consuming to maintain fitness,” he says.

By resetting your expectations for your routine and fitness during the holidays, you can stay active and enjoy all the festivities without feeling overwhelmed. “The holidays are hectic, so thank yourself for still incorporating exercise and not giving it up altogether,” says Chesworth, who is certified as an exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine.


Plan Ahead

During busy holiday weeks (especially those that involve travel), look ahead and map out when (and where!) you can fit in some exercise.

“Figure out where you are going to work out, whether it’s a relative’s house, outside, or at a hotel gym,” Wickham says. This way, you can prepare for what workout equipment may or may not be available to you (and what apparel you may need to pack) and head into the week with realistic expectations and the comfort of having a plan.


Schedule Your Workouts

To help ensure that you prioritize those workouts, schedule them in your planner or phone calendar, right alongside work meetings and family gatherings.

“Studies have shown that scheduling workouts increases the likelihood that you will do them,” says Grayson Wickham, CSCS, who holds a doctorate in physical therapy and is the founder of Movement Vault, an online platform offering videos to improve flexibility and mobility and prevent injury.


Rise and Get to It

Whether you’ve got an office holiday party or just a million errands to run after work, there are plenty of holiday events and to-dos that threaten to derail afternoon or evening workouts.

“Moving my body first thing in the morning guarantees exercise gets checked off my list before other demands of this busy season get in the way, says Karena Dawn, a cofounder of the workout app Tone It Up and a yoga instructor certified by Yoga Alliance, the largest nonprofit yoga association that certifies teachers and schools. It also helps set the tone for a productive and stress-free day, she adds — two major perks if holidays tend to be nutty for you.