Maintaining Your Fitness Routine During The Holidays

How to maintain your fitness or workout routine during the holiday season with help from Orangetheory Fitness - Webster Gym.

Thank you to Orangetheory Fitness & Intergate for partnering with me for this post.


 When I look back on this year, I can't help but look at how far my fitness has come. At the start of the year I didn't even have a fitness schedule, whatsoever. If you've been here since January though, you've seen how I've gone from fit-less to accomplishing my first sprint triathlon. This year has been remarkable for me and next year I hope it is even better.

Since my triathlon in September I've been keeping up with my fitness routine in an effort to not lose what I had already spent so much time gaining. It's been a pretty easy transition doing so, well, that was until the Holidays started. What is it about the holidays that we get so incredibly busy that we find it hard to keep up with our fitness routines? With a packed social schedule, travel, the time change, and the typical everyday life still happening, it's been hard to be active. So what can you do? How do you sneak workouts in between holiday parties? What about when you head out to travel?

I recently got to talk to the Head Trainer, Tommy DiFruscio, over at the new Orangetheory Fitness in Webster, Texas.  Tommy helped me out by answering some of those questions I've had about achieving my workout schedule through the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 




ET: First, Happy Holidays! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my Holiday fitness questions. Speaking of time, the holiday season is one of the busiest time of year. Work parties, white elephant soirees and family travel, makes it easy to drop off your fitness routine. What is the best way to fit in your workouts in with a packed schedule?

TOMMY D: 1: Happy Holidays to you as well! When you know you have a packed schedule, it is best to plan your workouts ahead of time. Sit down with your calendar and mark off time to exercise. And then stick to your schedule! At Orangetheory, our members pre-book classes, which helps hold yourself accountable for exercising regularly. And remember, every minute of exercise counts, so even if you can only squeeze in 20 minutes, it’s better than nothing. On days when you can’t get a full workout in, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, or try parking your car away from the front door of a store. Remember that maintaining a regular exercise schedule amidst the craziness of the holiday season will help you manage stress – physical activity produces endorphins!

ET: And we all know endorphins make for happy people. We learned that from another Elle! Well, I know I am always off my training routine when I have to travel. How do you stay intentional about your workouts when away from your home gym and common running spots?

TOMMY D: When you’re traveling, it can be difficult to replicate the same workouts you are used to in your home gym, but the first step in staying intentional about your workouts is to pack workout attire and running shoes in your suitcase. If you’re going to be busy with family and friends throughout the day, then wake up early to exercise before the day’s activities begin. For those who enjoy running, research park trails or running paths in your destination ahead of time. Get the whole family involved by going on a morning run with everyone, or incorporating a family walk after dinner. 

ET: I am all about getting the family involved with your routine! What about our friends who can’t get out because of snow and ice? Have any favorite living room or body weight exercises that you love to burn a sweat too? Maybe a snow melting dance, even?

TOMMY D: I don’t know about a snow melting dance, but dancing is certainly a great workout! You also don’t need equipment to have a solid workout; you can simply use your body weight! A great circuit combination that you can easily repeat three to five times inside a home includes 25 jumping jacks, 25 burpees, 25 squats, 25 push-ups, 25 lunges and a 60-second plank. These full-body exercises are things we do in the Orangetheory studio regularly on the strength floor to increase heart rates and help members break a sweat and burn calories without extra equipment. Crank up your favorite workout playlist and you’ll feel like you’re at the gym or your favorite group exercise class. 

ET: In the summer there seems to be an abundance of outdoor activities to help bring variety to a fitness routine. What are some ways to bring variety to your workouts in these chillier months?

TOMMY D: First, make sure that you are wearing proper attire when exercising outdoors. The wonderful part about living in Houston is that our “cold” days aren’t necessarily too cold to be outside. On those occasional chilly days, make sure you dress for the occasion. For the running fanatics, be safe when running in colder weather by wearing protective gear for your hands, ears and face, and layer up your clothes.

You’d be surprised how many winter activities can make you break a sweat! Ice skating is an enjoyable way to socialize with friends and family, and workout at the same time. Take the lead from children and get outside to play! Throw a football with your family, play tennis, ride bicycles, kick a soccer ball or simply go for a walk around your neighborhood to look at holiday lights. If you’re feeling very adventurous, cut down your own Christmas tree and haul it onto the top of your car. I bet you’ll break a sweat!

And while we don’t have the opportunity to do so in Houston, skiing is a full-body workout; so, if you’re lucky enough to travel to the snowy mountains over the holidays, take advantage of this fun mountain workout.

ET: I am loving those ideas, especially cutting down your own tree. I think if you can have fun while working out, you’ll want to maintain the process too! I see a lot of people lose out on the fun when their bodies have not been prepped before a workout. All those milk and cookies! What tips do you have to fuel and hydrate your body in the winter and holiday months for safe and fun workouts?

TOMMY D: The food you eat before and after exercising depends on the intensity of your workout. You need to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially if you are exercising outside. During colder months, your sweat is not as visible as it is during the summer, so make sure you replenish your body with lost fluids.

If you’re eating before working out, make sure you fuel your body with a small snack that includes a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat, such as a piece of toast with nut butter and a banana, or a small serving of Greek yogurt with blueberries. Eat this snack one to two hours in advance of your workout so that your body has time to digest, and keep your calorie intake below 200 calories.

After your workout, your body needs to recover, so eat something within an hour after exercising. For breakfast, try scrambled eggs with egg whites and diced vegetables (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.) or a smoothie with fruit and nut butters for added protein. For a snack, try carrots and hummus, or a handful of almonds. For lunch or dinner, try a salad with grilled chicken, chopped vegetables and fruit, or salmon with brown rice and broccoli.

ET:  Lastly, are there any other tips you’d like to give us about keeping up with a fitness routine during the holidays?

TOMMY D: Making exercise a priority during stressful times of the year, like the holidays, is extremely important. Not only are you busier than ever, but more likely than not, you’re also partaking in some extra eating and drinking, which will derail your health and fitness routine. Look at your schedule before each week begins and set aside time to exercise. The new year will be here before you know it and why not jumpstart your resolution to be healthier and happier in 2017 before January? Keep your workouts fun, don’t be afraid to try new routines and classes, and remember how good you will feel afterward. You can still enjoy the holidays and all the festivities it brings without forgoing a fitness regimen. And if you haven’t found a fitness program that you love, give Orangetheory Fitness a try. Your first class is free and the classes are fit for all fitness levels. With the opening of our new Webster studio, we’ll have ten locations throughout Houston! Find the nearest one to you at

Tommy has some wonderful tips and ideas for really taking on the holidays and keeping up with your fitness. Planning seems to be the number one key to this. Whether it's squeezing in 20 minutes of body weight training in your living room to waking up early a few days a week to take on a few miles. If you sit down with your planner and find the time, it will be there. Taking classes like those at Orangetheory Fitness Webster (which opens December 23!) is a wonderful way to stay accountable, plus you could make a date out of it with a friend! I also love the idea of getting family involved with a family run or maybe even a family fun run! What better way to schedule in a workout than by participating in a race?  Not to mention Tommy's idea of chopping a tree down as a family, something I see easily turning into a tradition. Just be careful and use caution doing so! 

So maybe go out at buy yourself a few extra winter fitness pieces to keep you warm while working out and find an accountability buddy to take classes with! Make a holiday date for ice skating at your local rink and end it with a healthy meal out. If you establish or maintain your fitness routine now, you'll be racing ahead of those New Year's goals.

A big thank you to Tommy DiFruscio for helping us out today! Orangetheory Fitness offers one hour group training classes using heart rate monitors for a high intensity workout! If you want to know about Orangetheory Fitness, you can check out this past post I've done or see their website for classes in your area. The new Webster, Texas Orangetheory Fitness opens December 23rd and VIP Opening Party is December 22nd! 

Do you struggle with keeping up with your fitness during the holidays? How do you manage to keep up during the season? Let's talk about it in the comments below.