Helping Clients Handle the Busyness of December


The last month of the year is upon us and it will be good to see this year from a rearview mirror. As we navigate through December, most of us face cooler weather, holidays, food indulgence, and celebrations (most likely scaled down due to the pandemic). Regardless, it is a month of busyness– perhaps the busiest of the year. Trainers can come to the rescue by helping clients handle the hullabaloo without sacrificing exercise goals.

Training Adjustments

It can be tempting for clients to cut out training sessions during such a hectic month. Rather than having them put exercise on hold, try making a few adjustments.

• Shorter sessions – you can get a great workout in under 30 minutes
• Go virtual – virtual training eliminates travel time
• Fewer sessions – cutting back on the number of sessions during the month

Quick Exercises

A busy schedule may not allow for trips to the gym in between training sessions. Incorporating daily exercise goals that do not take much time can be just the ticket to stay on track. Clients might celebrate 12 days of Christmas, 9 days of Hanukkah, 7 days of Kwanzaa, or 31 days counting down to the end of this bizarre year of 2020. You can use that number as a guide.

For example, have a client choose 12 days to add suggested exercises to their schedule, like planking 12 different days or jumping rope 7 days. Setting reachable goals instills commitment in between training sessions.

Doing quick movements or exercises that are short in duration can be helpful on the busiest days. At the end of the month, the client can look back realizing even if they did not make it to the gym, they got in “X” number of burpees, hill sprints, etc.

Trainers can be certain to show technique and proper form ahead of time, while making suggestions as to how long to hold a pose or how many sets and reps should be done for an exercise.

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Here are a few to try that do not require much, if any, equipment:

jumping rope
• planks (forearm, straight arm or a combination)
• holding a wall-sit
• burpees
• hill sprints (weather-permitting)
• push-ups in any form (regular, knee, incline, wall, close or wide grip)
• walk-outs
• jumping jacks
• crunches (combination of regular, sit-up, and reverse)

Or fill in the blank! If clients prefer certain exercises, they are more likely to do them.

Reducing Stress During the Busyness

Experts and fitness pros find that exercise in general helps reduce stress. Keeping up with exercise during the busiest times is a great stress reducer. Get the endorphins ramped up and the whole vibe changes.

Plus, focusing on the workout has meditative benefits. For many of us, just getting in the zone is meditation. Remind clients to put exercise as a priority in spite of, and especially because of, busy and stressful schedules.

Certain types of exercise, including yoga and tai chi, are said to have anti-stress benefits. Time may not allow for taking a class, but there are still ideas to consider including:

• legs up the wall (Viparita Karani yoga pose)
• walks (especially outside, ideally in nature)
• boxing (punch out frustrations)
• water-related activities (swimming, kayaking, water aerobics, paddleboarding)

That’s a wrap for 2020 (Thank goodness)! Keeping a fitness focus during a pandemic brought challenges, but we did it. And now we conclude the busy month of December in the driver’s seat ready for what’s ahead.

The calendar flips to January – a month full of intentions, resolutions, and the welcome of a new year. Stay tuned!

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Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer with more than ten years of personal training experience. Certified through NFPT, she is a Functional Training Specialist and holds a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance and sports nutrition. Kim has written two books including Gym Etiquette 101. She enjoys writing a variety of lifestyle articles and fitness blogs.
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