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Fitness motivation: 6 trainers on how they stay inspired during the festive season

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Ever find yourself struggling for fitness motivation during the holiday season? Well, you’re in good company. Six fitness trainers tell us about their festive slumps, and explain how they keep themselves going regardless. 

The year is (finally) coming up to its closing month, and we all know what that means. It means it’s time for mince pies, cosy winter coats and Christmas plans with our nearest and dearest (tweaked this year to comply with social distancing rules, of course).

However, between the packed out calendars, the festive food and the cold, wet weather, there is very little room left for our fitness motivation. But while few of us will want to stall the progress we’ve made in our strength training or cardio programmes, it is often more difficult once the holiday season hits to stay on top of our exercise routines.

This is a problem that many people face – fitness trainers included. For one reason or another, even the pros sometimes have to work a little harder to keep their workout motivation up through the winter months. 

For some, wanting to be social and indulge in all of the delicious holiday food and drinks is something that may tempt them away from their training routine, while for others the problem lies more in the change of seasons having an adverse effect on their mental health.

But in spite of all this, they still keep at it, and we wanted to find out how. So we asked around and found out exactly why some top fitness trainers struggle with motivating themselves during the holidays, and pulled together their tips for maintaining a fulfilling fitness regime through the festive period. 

Do you struggle to keep yourself motivated during the holiday season?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, FITNESS TRAINER AND MEMBER OF THE STRONG WOMEN COLLECTIVE

“I, like many, do struggle to keep up my workout motivation during the holidays, but to be honest I don’t put too much pressure on myself about it. The holiday season is so important for resting, reconnecting with other people and taking time out for yourself. So instead, I change how I work to ensure my activity doesn’t entirely go out the window.”

Exercise motivation
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JANINE GEORGE, PERSONAL TRAINER AND MEMBER OF THE STRONG WOMEN COLLECTIVE

“I do struggle sometimes, and I have to remind myself that it is okay to take time off, especially during this season. The days are short and the nights are long, so it is challenging to be as exuberant as I am throughout the summer. As a result, my mood can dip and so my attention turns towards comfort, hibernation and looking internally.”

KERRY DIXON, PERSONAL TRAINER AND FOUNDER OF THE ATHLETE METHOD

“Even as athletes we are still human, believe it or not, and we all struggle with workout motivation from time to time. As much of the year is spent being disciplined and structured, there is temptation to relax with friends and family and enjoy the festivities once the holiday season rolls around.”

NAZIA KHATUN, BODY TRANSFORMATION COACH

“Personally for me, triggers of a past eating disorder creep up on me during the holidays. I get tense when it comes to meal times, because I have previously over-exercised and punished myself for eating too much. So one of the best ways I keep myself motivated is by creating a plan for my meals and exercise. I also know I have to be even kinder to myself and accept the fact that maybe I will eat more than usual, and that’s okay.”

RISQAT FABUNMI-ALADE, ATHLETE AND TRAINER

“As an athlete, winter training for me started in September, so I’ve been pushing my body for upwards of eight weeks now, and sessions are getting tougher and tougher. It can be hard to drag yourself to training when you know it’s going to hurt or when you’re already sore and exhausted. I’m also somebody who seems to be affected by seasonal changes.”

TASHI SKERVIN, TRAINER AND FOUNDER OF FITNESS BOOTCAMP TSC METHOD

“I do struggle with motivating myself at this time of the year. Especially when it’s cold and dark outside I really find it hard to get up and run. During the holidays I also sometimes have to train earlier than I’d like to, to fit in holiday activities with friends and family as my calendar gets busy.”

How do you keep up your motivation to exercise during the holiday season?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, FITNESS TRAINER AND MEMBER OF THE STRONG WOMEN COLLECTIVE

“I change how I usually work out and structure my workouts around my environment and mood. I ensure that I walk a lot, too, and keep my step count up every day – we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of long daily walks!

Winter running
“I change how I usually work out and structure my workouts around my environment and mood."

“I also do more mobility work and what I call yoga movement “snacks”. I call them snacks because during the holiday season it can be hard to fit in full 45 minute classes and workout sessions. Instead, I find that 20 minute sessions throughout the week are easier to work up motivation for.”

JANINE GEORGE, PERSONAL TRAINER AND MEMBER OF THE STRONG WOMEN COLLECTIVE

“I enjoy music, so creating an extensive playlist is key to keeping my body moving. I also love the arts, and watching films and choreographies keeps me inspired to stay active and creative.”

KERRY DIXON, PERSONAL TRAINER AND FOUNDER OF THE ATHLETE METHOD

“If you have a training goal, you should follow your routine as much as you can and try to do your workout first thing in the morning. That way, you get it out of the way and you have the rest of the day to relax. If you don’t have a training goal, though, just workout when you can, and remember not to be too hard on yourself if you take some time out. The holidays are a great time to physically and mentally reset, so it’s important to enjoy the moment – you can get back into a routine after the festivities have passed.”

NAZIA KHATUN, BODY TRANSFORMATION COACH

“I motivate myself by making it fun, and I usually get together with my siblings to work out for at least 30 minutes every day. I also make sure to challenge myself, so that I don’t fall into the trap of feeling bored because I’m always doing the same thing.”

RISQAT FABUNMI-ALADE, ATHLETE AND TRAINER

“Having training partners can be highly motivating, because it makes working out more fun and it means there is accountability. The fact that I have a coach also means there’s someone to push me if I’m feeling demotivated, so I have some accountability from him, too.

“I make sure I have specific goals that I work towards, because I know that I won’t achieve them if I don’t put the work in. I also train on certain days and follow a training programme. Having a plan means I don’t have to think too much about what I’m doing and can just get on with it. So try to have a plan for each week of what classes or activities you want to do.

Woman listening to music during workout
“I make sure I have specific goals that I work towards, because I know that I won’t achieve them if I don’t put the work in.

“I listen to my body, too, because you’re unlikely to have good sessions if you don’t feel good, and this can demotivate you even further. Taking rest days and taking care of your body so you feel able to work out in the first place is a good step to take.”

TASHI SKERVIN, TRAINER AND FOUNDER OF FITNESS BOOTCAMP TSC METHOD

“I try to stick to my routine as much as possible. This means I’m not doing an increased amount of cardio to offset Christmas treats, and if I miss a day due to being hungover I don’t beat myself up about it. The holiday season is just a few weeks, and my body could probably do with a rest after a hard year of training.” 

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Getty

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