Holiday Workout Plan


So, do YOU have a holiday workout plan?

Did you notice that the day after Halloween, stores had all the Christmas and holiday merchandising up?  Yep, Holiday season is upon us so it’s a good idea to be proactive and have a plan for maintaining your health and fitness during the festive season.  I had a client ask me the following…

“During the holidays I am so busy. So what’s the least amount of exercise I can do to maintain my fitness so I don’t have to start all over come January?”

It’s true that during the holidays we can get so busy decorating the house, buying presents, attending parties, and entertaining guests that the last thing on our minds is our exercise program.  But, if you’ve worked hard all year to achieve your current fitness level, the last thing you want to do is take the “all or nothing” approach during the holidays and let it all go to pot.  Starting from scratch come January is never fun! 

Having a few days off from exercise over the holidays is OK.  It may help give your mind and body a rest and help to motivate you to work harder in the New Year.  But, if you don’t want to get out of the rhythm of your exercise commitment, here’s a few tips to help you stick to your program when there are so many other responsibilities demanding your attention:

  • Reduce your frequency and time:  If your program usually calls for 5 workouts a week, reduce it to 2 or 3 good, solid workouts during the busy weeks ahead.  If you normally perform an hour workout, reduce it to a 30-minute hard effort.  If you normally do 3 sets of each weight lifting exercise, reduce it to one good, challenging set.  Studies show that if you just do 1-2 hard workouts a week during a busy season, you can maintain your current fitness level for a number of weeks. So instead of doing nothing, do something. Just remember that intensity is the key factor!
  • Exercise in the morning:  If you wait to do your workout later in the day, it’s more likely that an errand will surface that needs to get done.  Your workout will be put on the back burner and you’ll most likely skip it all together.  Instead, set your alarm a half hour earlier and invest this time in yourself.
  • Move more:  When you can’t commit to your normal exercise routine, continue expending calories by ‘exercising’ when you’re not really exercising.  Take the stairs instead of the escalators at the mall.  Park at the edge of the parking lot.  Walk to perform a number of your errands.  All these extra calories add up meaning you’ll be less likely to put on the additional 8-10 holiday pounds that most people experience.
  • Active quality time:  You’ve got family visiting, kids are home from school…how in the world are you going to fit in your workouts?  Schedule a family snowshoe trip on Mount St. Helens, a tobogganing outing at Government Camp, a ski day at Timberline, a walk along the Columbian river, a hike through Forest Park…there are so many active adventures awaiting you here in the Northwest.  Take advantage of the mild winters and get outside and enjoy!

We are hosting a FREE Holiday Cooking workshop on Tuesday November 19th from 7:00-8:00pm.  This will help you surround yourself with healthy food options during the holidays and help keep any holiday weight gain in check.  Call 360.574.7292 to reserve your spot.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at or

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.  

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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