For a happier, healthier you join My Health & Wellbeing for unlimited free access.

Get Started

January Download our guides now!


Are you a wellness warrior?

Vote today

Listen to our podcast today


6 Festive Excuses We’re All Guilty Of Making

5 MIN READ • 7th December 2016

We've called upon the experts to help us beat the December exercise trap

Are you guilty of neglecting your fitness during the festive period and uttering those three infamous words: “I’ll go tomorrow”? Here at YF HQ we’ve been known to blame a lack of exercise on Christmas stress so we put our favourite excuses to a panel of experts. Spoiler alert, they weren’t impressed…

  • “I don’t have time to go for a long run tonight, I need to wrap some presents”
    “It is so easy during the lead up to Christmas to put your workouts to the bottom of your list,” explains Lucy Mecklenburgh, founder of Results with Lucy. “If you are really busy during December and a long workout seems impossible, remember you can easily get results from your training by doing a HIIT session. It’s a sure fire way to get your heart rate up and your muscles working. Plus, teaming 30 seconds of intense exercise with 30 seconds rest, actually burns more fat.” Studies suggest female runners burn an average of 105 calories per mile, and 250 calories during 15 minutes of high intensity interval training, so if you don’t have an hour spare to dedicate to running, try a HIIT session instead. “Mix up dynamic moves such as jump squats and explosive jacks with toning moves such as press ups and crunches to get the most from your workout,” Lucy suggests. “It is also really important to remember that exercise is key for the mind, so a short run or HIIT workout can be effective at helping you to banish festive stress too.”

  • “I have too much planning to get in the right head space for yoga”
    “If you’re breathing, you are always in the right space for a simple practice,” states Tara Stiles, yoga expert and author or Strala Yoga (£12.99, Hay House). “If the Christmas period is leaving you feeling tense, tired or disconnected, it’s the perfect time for a few easy-going movements to help you feel better fast,” she adds. Routine yoga sessions can improve coordination, reaction time, memory and even your IQ score, plus it stimulates focus so can actually aid your festive planning. “By regularly practising yoga, you’ll get more done with less effort, avoid burnouts and feel great in the process of whatever your day brings you,” Tara explains. “During the festive season, I recommend having a mat rolled out somewhere in the home, so it’s easy to hop on and get in the flow, even if just for a few deep breaths.” Your mind will thank you for it.

  • “There’s a pre-Christmas sale on in town and I could do with saving a few extra pennies this year”
    “As the festive period fast approaches, working out seems to become less and less of a priority. In fact, once November arrives we tend to spend more time picking up presents than we do dumbbells,” comments Chris Wharton, director at Better Body Group. But instead of ignoring your fitness regime simply adapt your workouts in order to get the most from your limited time. We like to think of it as the best of both worlds. “You don’t want to undo all of the hard work you have done in the build up to ‘little black dress’ season,” Chris adds. So why not turn your shopping trip into a mini workout? “Try to increase your pace on your trips, always use the stairs – say no to escalators – and avoid the half time flapjack and latte. Also, give the ‘Suitcase Carry’ a go. Hold your shopping bag(s) in one hand, stand tall with a neutral spine and brace your abs. As you walk from shop to shop, you will feel the one-sided weight working your trunk muscles, especially your obliques. For added difficulty, slightly raise the bags away from your body as you walk.” Multi tasking at its finest.

  • 6 Festive Excuses We’re All Guilty Of Making

  • “I’ve got multiple events coming up and I want to enjoy myself. Might as well just write December off”
    “Whoever said it had to be all or nothing?” asks Bear Grylls’ personal trainer Natalie Summers. “In fact, writing the month off completely will only add pressure to you in the new year. Find a balance and have a few days off here and there, but still stick with your training,” she advises. Rather than using December as an excuse, make it the start of a new you by altering your nutritional habits to help beat over indulging. “Use December as your foundation to make a few small but healthier changes. “Maybe add an extra weekly training session to compensate for the extra social events, or commit to leaner lunches Monday to Friday. Add to your arsenal awareness and eat more on active days and less on inactive days – a simple but effective method to help you avoid over indulgence on days where you’re going fitness free,” Natalie explains. Another way to avoid the temptation of ruling out fitness over Christmas is to partake in activities where you don’t even realise you’re exercising. “There are lots of way you can get engaged with fitness,” Natalie says. “Trampoline parks, such as Oxygen Freejumping, provide a great environment where you can train whatever the weather, working every muscle without even knowing it.”

  • “Just one more episode on Netflix won’t hurt – I need to be up-to-date in time for the Christmas special”
    “Watching TV is never a good excuse to skip a workout,” states fitness blogger Zanna Van Dijk. “Which one is better for your body; sitting down for an hour or getting moving? I think we all know the answer to that one.” However, there are a host of ways you can work out at home whilst still catching up on your favourite series. “Whether it’s an at home HIIT circuit in the living room or doing treadmill sprints with your iPad in front of you, you can hit two birds with one stone,” Zanna says. Want to know the best part? You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment, you can simply use your home furniture. From tricep dips off the edge of a chair to crunches with your feet secured under the sofa, you can train just as hard at home as you can in a gym. Team this with planks, squats and lunges and you’ll soon whizz through all four seasons of Orange is The New Black guilt-free.

  • “I need to see [enter friend’s name here] to exchange presents”
    “It’s really important to remember that you can always fit an effective workout session in – even if it’s just for a few minutes each day,” explains Sam Eastwood, celebrity trainer and creator of the Get Set Body Program. “If you need to exchange presents with a friend, why not meet at the gym and go for a run or find a boxing bag and punch away any Christmas stress? You’ll both feel better for the cardio and can exchange gifts at the same time,” Sam says. But what if you don’t have time to get hot and sticky then shower before picking the kids up from school or running another festive errand? “For a sweat-free option, go for a low impact Pilates or yoga session to stretch out your muscles and leave you lean and energised,” Sam states. “Exercise powers the brain and will leave you feeling balanced and ready to face anything the festive season throws at you.” So next time you even think about skipping exercise for a Christmas-themed excuse, remember it is just that… an excuse! If anything, keeping up your fitness can help aid a stress free season and in our eyes, that’s the closest we’re going to get to a Christmas miracle.

Show your inbox some love

Get a weekly digest of Health & Wellbeing emailed direct to you.

Next up

Access everything, free!

Unlock the website for exclusive member-only content – all free, all the time. What are you waiting for? Join My Health & Wellbeing today!

Join the club today
Already a member? Log in to not see this again
Join My H&W