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holiday fitness survival guide: 7 tips for staying on track

Brent Holten

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If you're like most of us, the holidays are typically the time of year we fall short in the gym and slack off from our typical fitness routines. With family obligations, holiday shopping, traveling and delicious food at almost every turn, it's no surprise that many of us end up shocked by the ground we need to make up in January. But that doesn't have to be the situation this holiday season!

You aren't destined to gain holiday weight. With the right workout strategy and some proper planning, you can maintain your fitness levels while still enjoying time with your friends and family.

As part of our annual holiday fitness survival guide, we put together these simple tips to help you stay on track throughout the holidays.

1. Plan your training: If vacations and family trips are especially frequent, schedule your workouts around your travel plans. If you know you'll be out of the gym for a few days, use those days as recovery time and amp up your training regimen before and after your trips. 

2. Get up and go early: While work schedules become less hectic during the holidays, family commitments ramp up, so you should set aside time for the gym in the early mornings. This way, you get your workout and still have time for everything else.

3. Get a training partner: It's often hard to motivate yourself on cold, wintry mornings, but it's easier if you aren't doing it alone. Find a workout partner to stay motivated, since you'll be less likely to skip a workout if it means you're leaving your partner on his or her own.

4. Use bodyweight: If you can't make it to the gym as often as you want, you can get a great workout by just using your bodyweight. Bodyweight workouts -- the core of functional training -- can be done anywhere using little to no equipment. 

5. Accumulate volume: If you aren't able to squeeze your entire workout plan in just one trip to the gym, try small, shorter workouts throughout the day. For instance, perform 20 push-ups and 20 bodyweight squats  every hour, on the hour, from 8 am until 8 pm. By the end of the day, you'll have done 260 reps of each!

6. Evaluate yourself: You should continually monitor your progress to make sure you're on track. If you're losing ground, take steps to correct your course -- recommit to working out and skip that extra slice of pumpkin pie -- so you won't find yourself so far behind in January. 

7. Indulge, but resist: With all of those tasty treats on the holiday table, it's hard not to give in. You don't have to deprive yourself -- pick one treat to indulge in, and stick to one serving. Once you're done, put the rest in a container and slide it in the fridge.