5 Tips to keep consistent during the Holidays

5 Tips to keep consistent during the Holidays

Set, swing, hit, split. Set, swing, hit, split. Two small logs chopped, not even a fraction of what I need to heat the cabin and cook the day’s food.

Dragging fallen trees through the forest had already worked up a sweat. Pushing and pulling the saw through the logs even more so, but hoisting the 8lb sledge hammer over my head with power and accuracy was brutal. After two hours of twisting, swinging and slamming the hammer I was exhausted and I really stunk.

There is maybe an hour before dark sets in, if I am to wash up before dinner I have to go now, the swimming hole is a 20 minute hike away.

It’s 2 degrees Celsius outside (I’ll never get used to Fahrenheit), the only way I will bear this cold is to practice some fire breath I’ve learned from the Wim Hoff technique. 30 seconds, maybe a max of 60 and I’m out, feeling clean and fresh. Naturally I shake, bounce and breath with focus and intention. I can feel my metabolism going into overdrive. It needs to, my core temperature is so low that aggressively burning calories is the only way my body will bring it back up.

Hiking back to through the forest is like floating. My skin is tingly, my heart rate slow and my muscles relaxed.

I et back to the cabin with just enough light to get the campfire going. Squatting, kneeling and bending. I can feel the stretch in my calves, my hips opening slightly to let me sink lower into my squat and closer to the fire. Feeding the kindling oxygen by blowing as hard as I can on it is hard work on the old core muscles. The pot is heavy, lifting the cast iron around the fire is awkward. It almost feels like pushing and pulling some kettlebells.

After dinner it’s time to relax. With no sell service a long of chess forces me to concentrate and be patient. I fail to do either and loose. Staring into the fire my mind drifts and flickers with the flames. The mesmerizing embers naturally lull m into deep through.

I contemplate consistency, dedication and motivation with regards to an exercise routine.

At Hanuman Health Club, I and many of our members train for long term health and longevity of movement. Our goals are often decades from now. While this is a very sustainable from of exercise it can be hard to stay consistent without shorter term goals. We see ‘6 week beach body’ programs all over social media. They are deceptive but at lest they give us a definitive time line. It can be hard when starting out, to think this is going to be a life long pursuit rather than a quick endeavor.

Inconsistency or feeling like you want to quit is normal. Voluntarily choosing physical pursuits goes against our biological make up. Physiologically we are designed to to rest and save energy, as food was hard to come by.

In my little Adirondack allegory the constant moving and working is obvious. Simpler times forced physicality without the need for dedication or consistency.

I didn’t want to pull, drag, saw and chop wood, but I didn’t want to freeze more.

I didn’t feel like hiking, doing some fire breathing and taking an ice bath but I really didn’t feel like being covered in dirt and sweat all night.

I didn’t particularly want to stretch, squat and lift but I really did want to eat.

I didn’t want to exercise my brain or meditate but a game of chess and gazing at the fire did it anyway. Our lives no longer gives us the natural movement and meditation we need. Nowadays we have to recreate these scenarios artificially in gyms and meditation centers or with yoga classes and ice baths etc.

Going to the gym, lifting, swinging, twisting, pushing, squatting, stretching can sometimes feel pointless. It doesn’t have the immediate outcomes as splitting timber or lifting stones, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. In fact it is more necessary than ever.

Loosing motivation is natural, the gym is a relatively modern concept in our evolutionary time line. Before it was a choice between physical effort and death, now it is a choice between physical effort and DoorDash.

How to fight the biological preset to be lazy?

I have found that the easiest way to stay motivated is to be consistent, just keep showing up, good days and bad.

Here are some tips to help keep consistency through busy periods.

No.1 Plan:

Look ahead. If you know some thing is coming up plan around that. Big party on Saturday night, plan to get your activity in before. That way if you feel good on Sunday you can do more, if you fee a little ropey then nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying it. Don’t over estimate your ability to fight through.

For example I am working on a 3 month strength program now. I have planned my deload weeks to fall on Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks because I know I wont stay consistent then. I also plan my hardest workouts for my easiest work days.

Plan, don’t leave it up to chance.

No. 2 Look at your month not your week:

When looking back at an inconsistent week, you can beat yourself up and think ‘ugh’ I only got one exercise session in. This can make it very easy to pack it in and quit, but if you look at a longer period, maybe 10 days, 2 weeks or a month you will find that you are consistent more than you are not.

No. 3 Change your routine:

If there are some busier periods coming up, you might get motivation by doing something new. Changing how you exercise, the modality, the volume, the short term goal etc. If you don’t have an hour, maybe you have 20 minutes and you just work more intensely. Maybe you start running or walking to work. If you are very stressed then taking less physically stressful sessions like recovery yoga or saunas and ice baths.

No.4 Accountability:

Get a partner, someone you commit to meeting. Cancelling is much harder when someone is relying on you. Even signing up for a class, if you cancel it is another step in the process. It forces you to stop and think for a second.

You don’t have to do it alone.

No.5 Remember your why:

Don’t forget why you started. What ever reasons got you to originally commit to an exercise and movement routine are still there. They don’t change just because it gets hard. For most of us it is literally a matter of life and death. While that may be a bit dramatic, there is enough research out there to make it indisputable. Maintaining physical activity that taxes the body in various ways is vital in maintaining health as we age.


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