Cadets have a rigorous daily schedule to keep up with the demands for excellence that the Academy expects. Everything from studying to physical exercise routines have a specific time, place, and source for motivation. However, with the arrival of the winter holidays, students may begin to replace the discipline that they have learned at school and return home with over-indulgence and relaxation on their minds.
While the holiday season is certainly a time to relax, have fun, and reunite with family, it’s important not to let the spirit of the season eradicate good habits. After all, keeping to some form of exercise program while you’re at home should be enough to keep your fitness in check, give you more energy, reduce stress, and ensure you’re on track with your peers when you return to class.
Start By Planning Ahead And Setting Goals
The best way to keep on top of a successful fitness regimen is to plan ahead, set goals, and hold yourself accountable. If you’re planning to travel with the family this holiday season, be sure to look for any opportunities that can help you to stick to your routine. After all, travel allows for various workout solutions that you may not think to include as part of your average workout, such as:
- Hotel gym facilities and exercise rooms
- Family walks in parks and hikes around new locations
- Group activities such as sledding, skiing, or even ice skating
Even if you’re not travelling anywhere, the typical holiday routine can be enough to help you maximize your exercise opportunities. For example, when shopping for gifts at the mall, use the stairs instead of the elevator and walk instead of taking the car. Volunteer to take the dog out, even when the weather starts to get colder, or meet up with Cadets from your class for festive sports and trips. While everyone is sitting around watching television, you can take the opportunity to hit the floor for a quick set of pushups, sit-ups, or stretching exercises.
Remember, whether your goal is to be able to run farther, be more flexible, lift more weight, or even be better at a sport you play at school, a good cardio routine should help you to achieve your goals. Take a hike and grab some photos to show your friends, go jogging, or join friends and family on trips to the gym. All of these activities are a great way to get your heart pumping, and create some wonderful holiday memories.
Establish a Routine
The biggest reason Cadets generally find it easier to stay in shape at school is that they’re expected to stick to a strict routine. From getting out of bed a certain time each day, to engaging in group sports, completing chores, and getting to sleep at the right time every night. That also means that one of the best ways to stay in shape over the holidays is to maintain a routine when you’re away from your typical environment.
Visiting old friends and family, running around to parties, and completing last minute shopping trips can make it easy to fall out of rhythm, but establishing a routine that you stick to each day can help you keep track of your fitness efforts amid the chaos. Assign a task for yourself to complete everyday, whether it’s twenty minutes of cardio, a game of football with friends, or a pre-assigned number of pushups. Because it can be much harder to exert a great deal of effort during the winter holidays when all you want to do is spend time with loved ones, it’s worth noting that you can condense your workout to make it shorter, but still just as effective.
For instance, you can customize your daily workout routine by combining three upper body exercises, such as chair dips and pushups, with three lower body workouts, such as lunges or squats. Warm up by jogging in place, then engage in ten to twenty repetitions of a lower body exercise, followed by another ten to fifteen repetitions of an upper body exercise. This should help you to maintain an intense and varied exercise regimen within a shorter space of time.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Without your fellow Cadets and coaches to watch you, motivate you, and push you if you are falling behind on your goals, it can be easy to let everything slide during the holiday season. This is why it’s essential for you to hold yourself accountable for your fitness efforts. Carve out a certain amount of time every day and stick to it, without excuses or exceptions. Keep a daily journal of your routine. After all, discipline is crucial for young men.
If you struggle to stay motivated yourself, try making a regular exercise time with a fellow Cadet from school, or a local friend at home. This will give you someone that you need to answer to beyond yourself, and someone who can provide encouragement to help you meet your goals.