Healthy for the Holidays: Use The Time From Thanksgiving to Christmas to Look and Feel Better


The holiday season takes our routines and habits that we’ve worked all year to develop and shakes them up, and sometimes even rips them apart. Travel, stress, family, the awkward rainy cold before the snow and getting dark around 5pm can put Ohioans into a dark state throughout these 6-weeks…if we let it. For the past 9 years I’ve been working with large groups of people and it is truly amazing how often the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas leads people to make decisions, invoke laziness and take multiple steps backward after months of progress. Fitness and Nutrition are consistency games, even the best first 10-months out of the year can be undone in just a brief 6-weeks of bad decisions, so let’s talk about some meaningful ways to help combat this.

  1. Bet a family member or friend. Find someone else in your life who you have a good, friendly competition with and invite them into a friendly wager regarding health or fitness. You could wager on how many workouts you will do in the time from now until the New Year, body composition improvements or nutritional habits. The wager doesn’t have to be money either…my personal favorite story involves a sister making her brother sing a “Oh Holy Night” in front of the family a capella after he lost their wager of who could have less desserts (it also made for great social media posts that are a gift that keep giving).
  2. Give the gift of exercise. Many fitness facilities will allow you to purchase small-group trainings of 4-6 people with a coach for around $100-150/session. You could knock out your entire families gift by purchasing a months worth of exercise sessions on Saturday’s leading up to Christmas. If you’re anything like me you struggle to find gifts for your parents or family, and oftentimes what your parents want most is just more time with you. This is a great way to both engage in a healthy activity and also spend time together, often at a lower cost than buying everyone a new sweater or work pants. You can also do team-nutrition coaching at Friendship where you and a partner, parent or son/daughter can engage in a personalized nutrition challenge together – This helps with accountability, excitement and can be a great gift idea.
  3. Engage in Charitable Events. All throughout the holiday season there are charitable events to participate in. Many of these will involve being active, on your feet and meeting new people. While this might not necessarily help your figure come January, this will do wonders for your mental state. It will help keep you motivated, happy and excited throughout the dark, cold days and leave you feeling optimistic about the community you live in. It will also expose you to new relationships that can develop into amazing things in the future…this power of community is what has made Friendship such an incredible place. Here are a few examples with dates and times: Firefighters 4 Kids | Mid-Ohio FoodbaThis image is of Mr. T predicting painnk | YMCA events
  4. Set a new Personal Goal. If you’ve been involved with CrossFit or fitness for an extended period of time, hopefully you have sat down and created a list of goals. If you haven’t done that ever, your first goal would be to meet with a coach and develop a short-term list (1-2 goals) and long-term list (2-3 goals) together then develop a plan to achieve those. If you do have that list and there are some goals still sitting on there, take the next 6-weeks to devote some extra time to that goal. Some of my favorite holiday goals are: Row 10,000m per week (I do this as a 2k everyday I train – 5x/week) for 5 weeks, the 1000 Calorie Challenge (Bike 1,000 calories per week), the Tabata Air Squat challenge (do Tabata Squats every day — for an added challenge to bottom-to-bottom tabata) which also works well with Tabata Push-Up challenge (also works with bottom-to-bottom). Test out each of these on New Year’s Day, then create a new long term goal to beat that in 2019.
  5. Read or Personally Develop. If you have listened to our podcast at all, you know that a major secret to happiness is the constant pursuit of development, both mentally and physically. Often, the holidays grant us more free time than we know what to do with. Our kids are off school, we get chunks of days off work, things slow down a bit. That time is either going to be filled with productivity and development, or screens & stress. What an incredible opportunity it is for you to spend time teaching your kids a new card game, doing a puzzle together or teaching them about personal finance (Take a Udemy course together). If you don’t have kids yet, ask others about podcasts they like, follow a new passion and start a side-hustle or read books that will help promote motivation. This “snowball effect” on strengthening your mental game and de-stressing yourself will help you stay more sharp and healthy throughout this tough season.
  6. Meditate. Working out, eating healthy and exercising your brain will get you pretty far ahead in this world, especially if you’re able to do it throughout most people’s most challenging time. However sometimes the overwhelm is just too much, the noise of a big family or your kids being home more often, the stress of the end of the fiscal year/quarter or maybe a negative transition period is upon you. Whatever the case may be…sometimes just taking a moment to relax, quiet the noise and let your brain figure itself back out is what we need. I’ll take my additional time throughout the holiday to take an extra nap here or there, and anytime before I go into a family situation or large group of friends out and about, I take a moment to sit in silence so that I can be present for the people I get to be with. If you struggle with this concept, check out Headspace and look into some of their programs.

Our concept at Friendship is simple: Treat yourself as your most valuable asset, invest in your mind and body and then share that with others. You will develop better relationships, be happier and healthier if you do that and that’s what we think the key to life is. Many people think about de-committing over this period, and all that does is crush that gigantic snowball of momentum you’ve been rolling and growing all year long. Now is the time to double down, commit more and move that snowball into 2019!

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