Tis the season for falling off the fitness bandwagon.
Office parties and weekly mates-mas knees-ups wreak havoc with your gym routine and any hangover-guilt-made intentions quickly go out of the window after that first glass of mulled wine — according to class booking app Mindbody, December sees the biggest spike in class cancellations of any month over the year.
Don’t be a statistic: keeping the year’s hard (sweat)work going over party season isn’t impossible, as your perma-hungover deskmate will have you believe — you just have to know how. From choosing your workout buddy wisely to seeking out the hottest festive deals, these are the five rules of fit-mas.
The key to party season sweat-work is not to put too much pressure on yourself, insists star Kobox trainer Toby Huntington-Whiteley, brother of supermodel Rosie. Don’t try to keep up your five-weekly gym sessions — “instead go for maintenance and wait for the new year to go for it again”. The trick to the maintenance approach is organisation, agrees Orangetheory coach Vero Walker.
“Book your classes in at the beginning of each week so these times are protected from your festive social plans”, and download Fitu for last-minute inspiration. The workout-discovery tool finds reduced-price, unsold spots in popular classes so you can capitalise on other December dropouts if you find yourself with a free hour.
According to latest ClassPass data, 6pm and 7pm are (unsurprisingly) the most common class times to be cancelled, so don’t join the club. A lunchtime class means you can still make that post-work pub session, plus you’ll (hopefully) be over the worst part of your hangover. SoulCycle recently introduced a 30-minute lunchtime blast to its ride menu — post-workout smoothie included — and Barrecore has condensed its workout into a 45-minute express class to give you a pre-afternoon boost. If the timings don’t fit, take Cirq’s bespoke approach — the Fleet Street studio offers 40-minute, pre-programmed cardio circuits with on-screen coaches, so you can start and finish at a time that suits you.
Sticking to your normal gym routine in December will get stale, quickly — to keep things fresh, you have to mix it up. Fitu will be your alternative workout guide if you’re bored: the app suggests classes from twerking workshops to disco yoga and is running a seven-day challenge from next week — try something new each day and tag #FituChallenge to be in with a chance to win free workouts.
Frame is putting on a festive Beyoncé workshop in Shoreditch on Saturday and Reset Lab is offering adult gymnastics classes at Crossfit in Bethnal Green with ex-national squad gymnast Claire Heafford.
Friends who sweat together
To hold yourself accountable, select a festive season workout buddy, suggests Huntington-Whiteley, who runs personal training sessions for pairs of friends at his luxe new training gym, 13, in Chelsea. Not only will you force each other to turn up, but you’ll push each other too — according to Mindbody, 34 per cent of us work harder when exercising with a friend. You can go for your pre-Christmas catch-up afterwards — one way to solve the stream of “I must see you before Christmas” WhatsApps. Sign up to ClassPass together: the app gives you £40 for every friend you refer, plus they get £40 off any ClassPass plan when they join. All you have to do is text them a link.
Keep in cheque
Money talks — especially in the run-up to the festive season — so hold your account accountable, too. Boom Cycle has a 10-rides-in-14-days promotion from next week — you will receive a three-ride gift card if you complete all 10 — and Kobox is offering 12 days of £12 classes across all of its studios from December 12. Your very own fitness advent calendar.
Elsewhere, Fly Ldn is doing £25 for unlimited yoga classes all month; Orangetheory is offering your first month at half price for new members in December.
Raw Pilates, meanwhile, has a festive package of eight group classes and four private classes for a reduced price of £300 — that’s a saving of £200 to spend at the pub.