If you gym or train regularly to keep in shape, it is likely you would suspend your fitness workouts at Christmas. You are not alone. Many fitness buffs tend to put aside exercises just to enjoy Christmas with friends and family.
Unfortunately, there are tales of people who did just that with a promise to resume in the New Year. Getting back never happened. Somehow, our psyche seemed conditioned to just stop exercising altogether.
The end result is that all the hard work and gains you made would just go down the drain. And it doesn’t take long for your body to start losing strength and stamina.
And there is even worse news: if you suspend your fitness workouts long enough, it would take a longer time to get back into shape. That is, if you actually decide to resume.
Some key things you need to deal with
1. That you would suspend your fitness workouts during the Christmas holidays is a given. The key question is how long you intend to stay away from your exercises.
Anything longer than four weeks is too long. After that time, your body would settle into a pattern you don’t want. Basically, your body’s metabolism would slow down considerably. At the same time, your body’s ability to store fat would increase.
2. What kind of exercises you are into affects your body differently during the break.
For instance, if you’re into endurance training, you would lose your stamina faster than if you were into strength training. In other words, if pumping iron for strength is your thing, you have more leeway.
3. Another factor to consider as you suspend your fitness workouts is the length of time you have been training.
The simple rule is this: the longer you have been training, the more difficult it is for you to lose your strength or stamina. To put it another way, if you are new in the game, it is not advisable to take long breaks.
You would lose far too much compared to those who have been in the game longer.
Tips on preventing losing what you gained when you suspend your fitness workouts
1. Fit in some workouts
This is the best course of action if you don’t want to start from ground zero again.
Try as much as possible to look for time to fit in some exercises. You don’t have to do as much as before. The trick is to make the training as intense as possible for the short duration.
For instance, instead of taking daily runs, you can cut it down to three times a week. However, try to keep the same intensity. That is, try and stick to the same distance or length of time.
And if you are into strength training, the same thing applies. Cut the training by about half to fit in the Christmas holiday activities.
2. Surprise your muscles by doing unusual exercises
Taking your body out of its comfort zone in terms of exercises has a lot of benefits for your body.
In the first place, your body would burn more calories as it tries to come to grips with the new exercises. Secondly, new neural pathways are developed by the system as new sets of ligaments and tissues are brought into use.
Also, there is the added advantage of learning something new. Who knows, you might even enjoy this new exercise so much that you’d include it in your regular fitness schedule when you finally resume.
3. Cardio vs. strength training: go for cardio if you have to chose
If you are a bit confused on what exercise to chose if you suspend your fitness workouts, simply do cardio exercises.
The reason is simple. Your general stamina, relating to endurance, deteriorates faster than your strength. Since your strength can hold up for a few weeks longer, endeavor to keep your stamina at a decent level.
After all, if you don’t have adequate stamina, you won’t even be able to do your regular strength exercise without getting tired fast.
Optimally, you should be able to break as much sweat you possibly can. This is all about getting ready and staying fit for the time you have to get back to full training.
A note of warning: if you suspend your fitness workouts due to illness, check with the doctor first before doing some exercises. Find out what kind of exercise you are allowed to and the intensity.
So, what are your fitness workouts plans for the holidays? How do you aim to fit in exercises with all the festivities going on? You can share your thoughts here in the comments section below or on our Facebook and Twitter handles.