The holidays are a busy time of year for almost everyone. Learn a beneficial — and practical — approach to training through the holiday season via a healthy balance of gym training and holiday cheer!

(This article was originally published in November of 2021.)

If you’re like me, the holiday season can trigger a wide range of emotions—from stressful to joyous—and overwhelmed to grateful. Exercise is a useful tool to modulate these feelings, maintain a sense of centeredness, and avoid the “bah humbugs.” At the same time, this festive season can get incredibly busy. Keeping up with your typical training routine might add even more stress to your plate.

Here are four tips to help your holiday season training best serve you.

Escaping the chaos for a bit of climbing time can help ease stress levels during the holiday season. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself to keep up with intense training.

1. Take a Break from Intense Training

Consider going to the gym and climbing for fun more than performance. Rather than obsessing on absolute difficulty, dial back the intensity and ramp up the volume a bit—this approach can be therapeutic and renewing, leaving you ready to fire in the New Year.

2. Let Yourself Indulge, Within Reason

Don’t feel guilty…about having a slice of your grandma’s famous apple pie or enjoying your favorite Christmas cookies or holiday drink!

However, you should intentionally choose your indulgences and try not to go overboard. Strive to maintain a performance nutrition focus on the majority of days.

3. Diversify Your Training

Add a few new exercises to your routine; for example, antagonist muscle training, rotator cuff exercises, yoga or flexibility training, and perhaps even running a few days per week. This added variety gives you a mental break from your normal routine, helps build new motor skills, and improves muscle balance.

4. Be Consistent with Your Training

Try to do something physical every day throughout the holidays—at the very least, go for a short walk or do some floor exercises (push-ups, planking, etc) for 10 or 15 minutes. If possible, engage in two or three gym climbing sessions per week (as mentioned above, focus on fun volume-focused climbing rather than absolute difficulty).

Of course, we all have unique holiday obligations, travel requirements, and climbing/training habits—your best holiday program is one that’s highly personalized. Consider your obligations, talk with your family members and climbing peers, and determine a schedule that works for your priorities.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

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