December is always a bad time of year for fitness.  With holidays looming and vacations booked, the fitness commitment you were so dedicated to in January is all but forgotten.  “What’s the point,” you think to yourself, “I’ll get back after it in the new year.”  After all, maybe you worked hard for eleven months and you feel you deserve a break.  But when you slack off in December, you don’t return to routine in January at your peak.  It takes you a few weeks – okay, to be honest, a couple months – to get your groove back.  So now you’ve lost a quarter of a year.  This describes 90% of the population’s approach to fitness (and every other aspect of life) in a good year!

But 2020 has not been a good year!  With COVID fears, impending gym closures, confusing health orders, masks, group classes banned and intensity shunned, this December is more demotivating than ever before.  After the year we’ve had you may feel you deserve a few weeks of crawling into your cave to sulk.  So in the midst of a global pandemic, at a time where your health is more important than ever, you feel less motivated than ever to take care of it.  You’re even discouraged from pursuing it.  You can go to the bar for a drink without judgement but go to the gym and family and friends accuse you of reckless endangerment.

Every year I write a December blog post about stealing a march.  Usually it is about getting a step up on the competition, making fitness gains in the gym while everyone else is using the holidays as an excuse to slack off.  But this year it is also about getting ahead of COVID.  If November’s long dark, rainy days got you down, think about the long cold darkness of January and February when we’ll all be trapped inside for much of the time.  Winter is coming!  Drinking and depression-eating your way through December is not the way to arm your immune system to defend against viral pathogens.  And COVID isn’t the only thing out there trying to kill you.  Hiding in your home awaiting a vaccine is not the answer, you have to take charge of building up your own natural defenses!

I know it’s not easy.  It isn’t for any of us.  We all have 100 ready excuses to take December off.  But remember that excuses are just lies that we tell ourselves wrapped in reasons to make them palatable.  For every excuse you give for not training, somebody else is out there training through the very same obstacle.  That was actually the point of our Unstoppable 20 in 2020 Challenge.  Every reason you have for missing a workout applies equally to our Empower challenge contenders.  They are still today, 12 months into the year, overcoming closures, COVID fears, depression, anxiety, masks and a host of other problems that you didn’t have to overcome such as multiple surgeries, illness, injury and family strife in order to get their 20 workouts per month done.  For every excuse you give yourself for not training, there is someone else doing it anyhow. 

Maybe you need to reframe it.  With no out of town vacations, with fewer social events or recreational options, with the convenience of Zoom, this December is the easiest December ever to keep up on your fitness commitment!  It has never been easier to keep up your training consistency through the holidays!  We’ll even lend you equipment to help you through it. 

For perspective, my son frequently reminds me of how much tougher previous generations were.  My great grandparents for instance lived through two world wars, the depression, and the worst global pandemic of the modern era: the Spanish Flu.  And they complained half as much about how tough life was because for them life had always been tough.  Nobody expected it to be anything but.  And here’s a secret I’ll share with you that very few people have clued into: people don’t overcome hardship because they are strong, people are strong because they have overcome hardship.  Nobody out there was born tougher or more resilient than you.  Challenges aren’t easier for you than they are for me.  Just some people have more practice facing and overcoming obstacles. If that’s not you then 2020 provided a perfect opportunity to practice!

So this holiday season you get to choose for yourself: curl up in a ball of self pity with all your new convenient COVID excuses and surrender once again to the holiday slump or step up and prove to yourself that you are capable of overcoming and use this season to charge ahead!

Friday Workout
No equipment required for this one!

Warm Up
3 min AMRAP
20 Cross Crawls
5 Squat Jumps

Box Jumps or broad jumps

10 Rounds:
30 sec unbroken L-Sit Hold
10 Box Jumps

Cool Down
Pigeon Pose
Cobra Pose