Today's holiday training tip is from TRX triathlete and holder of the world record for fastest ironman bike split (4:42.40) Tyler Stewart, who shares her secret for making time for fitness during this season of merriment and excess.
If anyone tells you it's easy to exercise during the holidays, well, they probably need to drink more eggnog! It's just plain hard to stay motivated, keep your sweet tooth in check and not feel guilty about time you should be spending with your family instead of working out. So, what's my answer to just about everything in life: MULTI-TASK!
Over the holidays, I make my exercise about family and friends. Since I’m in the offseason from triathlon, it's a nice time to go for runs without looking at my watch or try some new exercise routines or help my family and friends to stay active with me. OK, I know you want examples!
A couple of years ago, my whole family headed to Asia to visit my brother for the holidays so packed inside my bag was my trusty TRX. Little did my family know we would be using TRX on the beaches of Bali, but we had fun, got a good workout in and did quite a bit of laughing as everyone was forced to do a sub TRX Atomic Push-up – my favorite TRX exercise! The family that stays healthy together stays together, right?
Recently, my brother and I really put this holiday time “togetherness” to the test when he decided he wanted to run the NYC Marathon, and I tagged along for the ride. He lives in Hong Kong and always travels to see me race, so I saw this as a perfect way to help support him on the way to finish line and allow us to spend the week together in NYC. I’m not gonna lie – less than a month after Kona, that race was hard!! But I was a very proud big sister with him at the finish line in Central Park.
But what if your friends and family aren’t tackling marathons? Be flexible and willing to change your routine for your family and friends. I like getting my exercise outdoors rather than at the gym, but over the holidays, I always make it a point to go to the gym with my dad. His routine is to use the elliptical machine and then hit the spin bike. Not my favorite activities but a perfect opportunity multi-task as we both get to sweat a little while getting some quality chatting in as well.
My mom on the other hand isn’t a gym person at all, but she still likes to stay active. We typically go for long walks, which usually involve some shopping too – bonus! That’s a triple multitask: quality time with my mom, exercise and shopping! We park the car at the top of the hill, then walk up and down the avenue, trying on clothes, chatting and in the process fit in about five miles - PERFECT!
The holidays can be stressful, so it’s important to remember that exercise makes you feel better, puts you in a better mood and therefore makes you better equipped to deal with all of the holiday festivities. So grab a family member or a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with and get your move on!