You can’t go very far in the health, fitness, and/or psychological wellness worlds without running into articles and information touting the importance of focus and presence in everyday activities. During the holiday season, I work especially hard at this to enjoy the moments with friends and family. The holidays always feel so fleeting and frenetic that I find myself making an extra effort to focus on the present. For example, my husband and I often ditch our phones when we do holiday activities or errands together because there are so many distractions from our digital devices. Considering my renewed emphasis on staying present during this time of year has prompted me to contemplate the impact of this strategy on my workouts.
Lately I have noticed that some of my clients are struggling more than normal in some of their workouts or with specific exercises. Many of them have been visibly frustrated or have flat out told me they are frustrated. They have lamented the impact of the holidays on their workout. With that, I’m sure you are ready for me to lecture you on maintaining your exercise program without a blip at the holidays. At my core, I am a realist so I know that is not a likely outcome. The holidays are a special time of year and many of the activities are sacred; you can and should enjoy them. I’m not one to tell you to ditch your holiday fun so you can perform at 100% in your workout. I have been repeating the same phrase quite frequently these days…
“Stay focused. Give 100% even if you’re not performing at 100%.”
Basically this is a form of reiterating that you are where you are that day. It’s not worth beating yourself up because you are not improving your max plank hold or nailing all of your mile repeat paces. Sometimes working hard and giving your all is enough, even if the outcome is not what you were hoping for.
While I don’t always practice what I preach, I try to appreciate my fitness and the opportunity to become and stay fit through my workouts. Even when I am not feeling 100%, I do my best and try to maintain the integrity of the intention of the workout. For example, if I planned an intense cardio workout, I seek to do that even if my paces or resistance are not my personal best. It can be easy to dismiss an unanticipated outcome without realizing that each workout brings you closer to your goal. Stay focused on the workout at hand and you will make progress, even if you are not performing at 100%.
Throughout the holiday season, embrace each workout – the gift of sound body and mind, the gift of time to engage in physical activity, and the gift of health.