24 Ways to Fit Fitness Into the Holidays

At a certain point, you'll need a break from the family, anyway.
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As fall becomes winter, those easygoing days of slipping on sneakers and going for a quick 5k before the family gets up are a thing of the past. Fitness is more deliberate. It takes 10 minutes just to gear up for an outdoor jog, and going to the gym is both about lifting weight—and trying to game out when the crush of crowds are the lightest. Then the holidays come around, and we’re given a free pass to put off fitness. If you’re choosing between a HIIT workout and eating apple cider donuts with your favourite cousin, it’s no contest, right? Well, it turns out you can have your donut and workout, too. 

And if you’re looking for some tips to keep you both fit and festive, keep reading. Because we’ve asked our fit-but-still-fun colleagues at foodspring for their favourite tips for staying in shape this holiday season. Best part: you’ll have a head start on your New Year’s resolutions!

  1. “When you’re spending time at home with family, it’s all too easy to revert back to your teenage ways and let the wheels completely fall off. Before long, you’re watching movie marathons on the couch and forgetting that your metabolism isn’t what it used to be. So I implement a policy of ‘half-holiday’ days: having productive and active no-TV mornings from 8am to lunchtime—doing HIIT sessions in the morning, going for a run, or a combination of both—along with the usual meditation and a healthy breakfast. I can’t explain it, but I find it effective and weirdly fun to run as an adult through areas I once went to as a kid. Then I’m free to be a little lax in the afternoons.”
    – Keenan, Consumer Engagement, golfer
  2. “I know how easily I can fall into a rut when the weather turns and even the sun is too lazy to show up for my early morning reps. So I make sure to prioritise morning rituals—there are good for my physical health, of course, but also help with my Seasonal Depression. One of my favourite morning rituals in December is to create a kind of fitness advent calendar for myself with little challenges I have to do before I take my first sip of coffee. It makes waking up more fun, but it’s also nice to set my New Year’s Resolution knowing I’m not starting from scratch.”
    – Hannah, Editorial Content, amateur ping pong player
  3. “Every morning I look in the mirror, and tell myself that I can accomplish what I’ve set out to do. It’s about reminding myself that I’m in control. That way, it’s not so difficult to fight against the darkness or cold weather. When I get out of my comfort zone I grow not only physically strong, but mentally strong too.”
    – Kevin, Warehousing and Logistics, sports lover
  4. “Don’t aim to break any new personal records when training during the holidays, but just see this season as a way to stay fit without pushing too hard. The number one way to fail is by setting up goals that are too big to obtain, so just take it day by day.”
    – Kristina, Magazine, yoga instructor

    women holding foodsprings protein cream
  5. “Cold weather is like coffee. I wake up so tired, and the second the cold wind hits my face on my morning run, I’m wide awake. So a morning run is definitely a great way to shock the system and get some movement in. To motivate yourself even more, have something nice and warm waiting for you at home when you’re done! My favourite is pumpkin-spice oven-baked oats with a scoop of Vanilla Whey Protein.”
    – Pauline, Social, runner extraordinaire
  6. “Try training first thing in the morning. I block that time for myself, so I can spend the rest of the day with my family knowing I’ve prioritised my well-being and can therefore give all of my attention to them. When I know I’ve always worked out it helps me enjoy the day even more.”
    – Clemens, Brand Marketing, skier
  7. “It might be unconventional, but I try not to think about a routine during the holidays too much. When I do, it stresses me out. So focus on staying active in ways that bring you joy and balance. I get random bursts of motivation to move: like being in nature, doing a yoga class, or going for a run. It doesn’t always have to be scheduled and checked off.”
    – Lara, HR, marathon runner
  8. “I really do feel that my motivation is lacking during the winter, but here’s my trick: Tell yourself that you will feel not only happier, but also WARMER, after a nice workout. The hardest part is just getting out the door. It also helps to lay out all your gym stuff in advance so you feel more committed.”
    – Marlene, Consumer Research, group fitness aficionado

    happy women holding christmas presents
  9. “Make yourself a special fitness playlist (or find one your love—we’ve got you covered) and reward yourself with listening to your favourite songs while being active, either at the gym, on a run, or even while doing some serious house cleaning that counts towards low intensity, steady state cardio.”
    – Margaux, Brand Marketing, hasn’t met a sport she doesn’t love
  10. “Cooking a hot meal is my saviour when it’s dark and cold. Make curries, stews, and soups that are full of veggies and protein to make the positive connection between warmth and good nutrition. (Eating a steady stream of holiday favourites is not going to give you much oomph for getting in some exercise.) Plus, if you have a sweet-tooth like me, baking sweets later that day feels totally fine because you got your nutritious meal taken care of.”
    – Emanuele, Translation, football fan
    RELATED: Your Christmas cookies can get a healthy spin too.
  11. “I really am a chocoholic! Cravings always increase during the winter, so reach for something with a high cacao content or add Raw Cacao powder to a Whey Protein Shake for a really delicious combo.”
    – Adam, Brand Marketing, cycles everywhere
  12. “If you live somewhere like Berlin—where the sun sets before 4pm—choosing an after-work fitness class can help you find ways to enjoy a little separation from the office while ensuring you use up enough energy to sleep well, because getting enough sleep is key if you want to avoid afternoon slumps.”
    – Olga, Retention, football fan

    men with zinc and magnesium on this biceps
  13. “Set up a goal and keep yourself accountable. Book workout classes in advance so you have to go. I make a plan to meet up with friends there as much as possible, that way I really have to go!”
    – Chloe, Social, passionate about power pilates
  14. “If it’s not possible for you to perform a proper workout, that’s completely fine. Go for a walk with friends or family, or even alone—it gives you time to introspect. I love bringing along a thermos of tea or coffee for some extra warmth (and motivation!).”
    – Matt, Retention, semi-retired football and cricket player
  15. “Don’t forget your dose of vitamins! It’s easy to get sick in winter. So I prioritise fuelling my body with fruits and veggies which are packed with nutrients that help regulate your mood. I also like to take our Daily Vitamins for full-spectrum coverage, especially great on the days that I don’t get too many veggies in.”
    – Barbara, Social, dancing queen
  16. “Don’t eat less—just use healthier substitutes. For example, I use yoghurt instead of mayonnaise, or Stevia instead of sugar. My meals are still 100% to-die-for!”
    – Urszula, Influencer, football player and dog mom
    happy women is holding protein cream and peanut butter

    Related: Need some healthy recipe inspiration? We’ve got you covered.

  17. “Stick to your training plan as much as possible. It’s all about perspective: see the different weather as a new challenge. If you are training harder in the cold, the warm days are going to be easier.”
    – Ignacio, Magazine, Jujitsu obsessed
  18. “In the colder months we usually eat a lot more. And for me, that’s a good thing. It gives me more energy to train when the conditions are unforgiving—the weather is cold and unpredictable, and the daylight is way too short. Put on some weight. Your body will appreciate it.”
    – Laurence, Creative, runner & gym goer
  19. “Sometimes my workout for the day is chasing my nieces and nephews around in the park for a couple hours. Be kinder with yourself during the holiday season. Movement is movement.”
    – Pam, Retention, yoga lover
  20. “I turn hangouts with friends into workout sessions. It can be hard to motivate myself to make it to the gym and do something social, so I try to structure some of my social plans into my gym time. It’s really fun and even my friends who don’t hit the CrossFit box as often as I do enjoy it. We laugh through our workout of the day, and toast one another with Energy Aminos.”
    – Leonie, Athlete Management, CrossFit devotee
  21. “Never restrict yourself when it comes to Christmas cookies. They are only here once a year. A few extra cookies will not have a bad impact on a whole year’s fitness journey.”
    – Margaux, Sales Planning, multi-sport enthusiast
  22. “No need to wait for the holidays to end or the new year to arrive to re-start exercising. Starting fresh is arbitrary! I remind myself that I can always restart my journey today. But I make sure to not pressure myself too much. Holidays are for enjoying and letting loose, too.”
    – Javier, Translation, basketball player
  23. “For me, the holiday season is always filled with excuses to drink with friends. I’ve found it easier to ease the alcohol by drinking one glass of water for each serving of alcohol. Or ditch the booze altogether and go for sparkling water with some lemon for that gin-tonic feel.”
    – Camila, Magazine, boxer
  24. “ If you’re not from a fitness-first family, it can be uncomfortable to sneak away for exercise while everyone else is hanging together. So maybe skip the barbell routine for a few days and opt for group activities. An all-ages football game in the park, an hour long easy hike, or create your own Family Olympics. Bonus: this cuts down on family bickering, too.”
    – Jeri, Magazine, tennis fiend

More fun ways to stay fit during the holiday season:

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