The holidays are here! Your calendar is full of holiday parties, family gatherings, New Year’s celebrations, and countless other special events. For many, this is a time when exercise takes a backseat and we eat many more treats than we usually do.
While there’s nothing wrong with taking some time off to enjoy the holidays, taking an entire season off from working out can derail your exercise routine. You lose muscle mass and endurance, gain weight and build up a lot of resistance to returning to the gym come springtime. Maintaining an exercise routine during the holidays can provide huge benefits mentally and physically, but it can be difficult… so how can you stay motivated through the holidays?
Motivation is the reason behind acting or behaving in a particular way. Finding motivation to exercise can be difficult during the holidays when there are a plethora of reasons not to. Excuses that create a departure from normal exercise routines are easy to find this time of year. Do some inner reflection to find out what motivates you to finish the year strong.
One holiday meal can range from 2000 to 4500 calories! That is beyond a normal day of calories in a single meal. Fear not… kettlebells to the rescue! The American Council on Exercise (ACE 2010) tested the caloric expenditure of kettlebell swings and found that swings can burn 20 calories per minute. Lifting kettlebells are not just a great way to burn calories, but also the best way to combine strength and cardiovascular training into one workout. Most people are pressed for time during the holidays, which makes kettlebell workouts the most efficient and effective tool to use to keep your workouts on track.
Swing Through the Obstacles
The kettlebell swing is a great compound exercise that works the body from head to toe. The hands, forearms, abs, hips, and legs all work together to perform the movement. As mentioned above, you can burn 20 calories per minute by swinging a kettlebell – which is the same caloric expenditure as running a 6-minute mile. Check out the workouts below that you can use to swing through the obstacles during the holiday season.
Workout 1: Complete 3 sets of 1 minute and repeat 3-5 times.
Minute 1: 45 seconds kettlebell swing; 15 seconds rest
Minute 2: 30 seconds kettlebell snatch; 30 seconds rest
Minute 3: REST
Workout 2: Complete 4-5 rounds of the 3 exercises below, with 60 seconds of rest between rounds. Choose a kettlebell weight with which you can use the good technique for all rounds. Going too heavy will cut the rounds short; going too light might not get the desired physiological effect.
- 20 kettlebell swings
- 10 kettlebell snatches
- 5 heavy suitcase kettlebell deadlifts
- Use Goals as Motivation
Another great way to find motivation is short-term goal setting. Take what is left in this calendar year and pinpoint one or two new goals for your kettlebell lifts. The goal could be as simple as adding 3-5 reps of an exercise with a heavier kettlebell or as intense as a new one-rep max for the Turkish Getup. Keeping short-term goals simple, attainable, and measurable helps keep you motivated and accountable during the holidays. Here are a few more examples of short-term goals you can set related to your holiday training routine:
- Set a goal for a number of workouts to complete from now until December 31st
- Workout with a partner. Accountability is a huge motivator.
- Learn a new kettlebell movement and practice it daily.
- Set a new 5 rep max kettlebell snatch personal best.
Some people are driven to exercise because they need to lose weight, while others exercise to perform, to support other physical pursuits, to stay healthy for themselves and their family. With the end of the year fast approaching, ask this question; “Why to exercise?” The beauty of this question is that no matter the answer, it is correct! Use your individual answer to make a change, to change focus, to reinvigorate – and don’t wait until the new year to make these changes.
Make them now, and you’ll jumpstart the path to your goal. Take this holiday as a challenge to grow personally with a fitness program. Start the change in December. Be successful during the holidays and hit the ground running in the new year.