The holiday season can be a stressful time. With time off work, family reunions, and Christmas parties to attend, it’s easy for most of us to have our fitness routine derailed over this time. As a personal trainer, it’s important to help motivate your clients to incorporate ways to stay healthy over Christmas so that training continues to be a priority.
4 ways personal trainers can motivate clients during Christmas
1. Encourage shorter, more intense workouts
One of the biggest excuses for not working out over the holidays is being too busy. It’s true that with all the commitments and social obligations we have, it leaves very little time to fit in an hour-long workout.
One of the ways you can encourage clients to maintain their fitness and exercise regime over the busy holiday period is by encouraging shorter, more intense workouts. By cutting workout time in half and increasing intensity levels to 70% of their maximum capacity, clients will be able to manage their pre-Christmas weight and fitness levels while not having to sacrifice too much time out of their day.
Provide your clients with a HIIT workout they can complete at home or while on holiday. All they need is 10-30 minutes of high-intensity training each day to prevent them from derailing their hard-work and gains from over the course of the year. Also, encourage regular walks or yoga sessions to keep the body and mind healthy.
We’re fortunate that it’s Summer during our Christmas, which helps to motivate clients that don’t feel like a work-out to get outdoors and enjoy physical activities..
2. Provide healthy meal swaps
A good idea to keep clients making healthy meal choices over Christmas is by providing them with a list of meal swapping ideas. For example, encourage them to select carrot or celery sticks with hummus over potato chips.
For drinks, encourage naturally flavoured mineral water over soft-drink. For alcoholic beverages, encourage clients to watch their serving size and to not mix alcoholic beverages. Also, encourage drinking a glass of water for every glass of alcohol consumed. Other healthy meal swap ideas include:
- Fresh fruit instead of a trifle
- Pavlova with fruit toppings instead of plum pudding and custard
- Roasted vegetable salads instead of creamy salads
- Ham or lean turkey instead of turkey with stuffing and gravy
For Christmas parties or get-togethers, clients can make healthy meals and snacks to take with them to be shared, which not only helps them to stay on track with their healthy diet but also gives other guests the option of choosing a healthy meal too.
3. Remind your clients how exercise makes them feel
You have a job to encourage your clients to celebrate and actively partake in the festivities over Christmas. It’s important for them not to be made to feel guilty about having the occasional treat or missing a workout. But it’s also important to remind them now more than ever they should be sticking to their workout plan.
Since the holiday season can become stressful, motivate your clients to break a sweat and remind them of the positive impacts exercise has on their mood and well-being. The trick is to encourage clients to look at exercise as not being a chore but a way to boost their mood, self-esteem, and as the most effective way to reduce stress levels.
4. Create an online support group
As a personal trainer, you should have your own social media channel or profile in order to help your clients remain motivated outside of PT days. If you’re on Facebook, consider creating a private group for you and your clients to share motivational posts, fitness goals, and to communicate ideas and fitness challenges that you can all get involved in to keep fit over Christmas.
Why it’s so hard to stay healthy over Christmas
For most of us, Christmas revolves around food, drink, friends & family. Between work Christmas parties, end of year celebrations, Christmas Day and New Year’s, there doesn’t leave much time or opportunity for hitting the gym or making ‘health’ a priority. There’s a lot of commotion in between planning get-togethers, being invited over for dinner parties, and organizing the family Christmas lunch or dinner.
While clients are persistent with their fitness program for most of the year, come Christmas time it usually takes a back seat to all of these other commitments.
Here are some of the 3 most common roadblocks to staying healthy over the Christmas period:
1. Food & alcohol
It’s not hard to imagine that food plays a big role in standing in the way of clients and their health & fitness goals over Christmas. No matter what the event is over the holiday season, it’s sure to involve copious amounts of food; and quite often it’s food that has little nutritional value.
In a study of 120,000 American adults, the foods associated with weight increase include potato chips, potatoes, sugary beverages, and unprocessed and processed red meats. Over Christmas, these foods are readily available. Chips, rich potato salads, candies, chocolates, fruit mince pies, Christmas puddings – the list goes on and on when it comes to the usual foods that fill a Christmas party table.
Another huge roadblock to keeping healthy is alcohol. Alcohol is quite energy-dense and can lead a person gaining weight due to its high kilojoules, it can make them feel hungry leading to poor food choices, and it also stops the body from burning fat.
2. Not enough sleep
A lot of people become sleep-deprived over the holiday season which can increase hunger, leading to people reaching for a quick energy hit in the form of sugary snacks. A small study conducted by Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory saw athletes do nothing but increase their sleep which resulted in increased performance, faster sprint times, more endurance, and an overall better workout.
3. Change in routine
All normal routines are thrown out the window over the holiday season. Even for the most disciplined of us, there’s always a commitment that springs up and forces us to either change or forgoes our scheduled workout. Because of this our lifestyle habits change, which leads to possible weight gain or skipping workouts altogether. On average Australians gain 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period.
Why it’s so important to stay healthy over Christmas
We work so hard committing to our health and fitness regime throughout the year but as soon as the Christmas season arrives it becomes easy and often tempting to become a bit more relaxed. Many of us like to reward all our hard work throughout the year by indulging in the festive cheer, and why not?
The problem is, by putting off a workout or forgoing our healthy eating plan, it’s easy to get into the habit of skipping workouts altogether or getting into ‘holiday mode’ and eating foods – and amounts – we wouldn’t normally consume. Everyone knows how hard it is to get back on the wagon after falling off it.
On average, we don’t burn off the kilos we gain over Christmas. If we’re taking a break and becoming more relaxed in our fitness and diet, we are making it harder to get back into our normal routine once the holidays are over. Research has shown that more than half of the weight we gain during our lifetime is amassed in the period between mid-November and mid-January.
Even for those of us who don’t completely go ‘carefree’ over the holidays and still manage to keep a regular exercise program happening can still gain weight over the Christmas period. In fact, recent research has found that even those health-conscious and active individuals gain at least 0.3 kilograms over the holidays.
Being sedentary or eating more energy-dense foods without exercising not only leads to weight gain but other health risks such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Anxiety & depression
- Loss of muscle strength and endurance
- Weaker bones
- Slower metabolism
- Impacted immune system
- Heart disease
Stay healthy over Christmas with the help of a personal trainer
Sometimes we find it hard to motivate ourselves to stay healthy over the Christmas period, which is where a personal trainer comes in. Personal trainers can help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals and avoid getting into a slump around Christmas time. Get in touch with Bailey Fitness to find a local personal trainer in Perth for you.