Now that we are smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season, you might feel like the size of your to-do list rivals Santa’s “Naughty v. Nice” one. Fortunately, having less time doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice fitness.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to trim your workout time (and your waistline) along with your Christmas tree.
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Circuit-style weight training and combination moves: Instead of resting between sets, perform exercises one after the other to effectively rest muscle groups without losing time. Work opposing muscle groups back-to-back, such as chest and back, or alternate upper and lower body exercises to ensure adequate recovery time.
You can also combine upper and lower body moves, such as a squat with a biceps curl. Just make sure the “up phases” of the exercises are done at the same time to maximize effort. And here’s an extra benefit - the lack of rest in this style of training gives you a little cardio boost!
Interval training: You may think interval training is just another buzz word fitness professionals and heart rate monitor aficionados throw out to make you sweat more, but the cardiovascular benefits of this training method are proven. The basic idea is to increase your effort to near-maximum exertion for a period of time, followed by a recovery period.
For example, perform one minute of running (or stair-climbing, or jumping rope, or spinning, etc.), followed by one minute of walking, or some other lower-intensity version of the same exercise. You can also intersperse cardio moves (high-intensity interval) with strength-training moves (recovery interval). Make sure you adequately warm-up and cool-down when performing this type of training to help the body adjust to the intensity.
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Creative Combos: Get creative by completing your workout and your holiday to-do list simultaneously. Power walk while shopping at the mall. Do squats or hold a wall-sit while putting finishing touches on your decorations. Dance, lift cans, or do push-ups on the kitchen counter while cooking. Practice abdominal contractions while driving in the car. Choose a new exercise for each of the 12 days of Christmas. It’s up to you!
Bonus Tips: Stick to a plan and use your time wisely. If you want to continue your structured workout, try to find uninterrupted time by turning off your cell, or doing your workout while your kids are at school. If it’s too hard to find a set time, break up your workout by starting your day with a brisk walk or core work. Get in as much as you can in the time you have, but don’t forget your cool down.
Any activity you do this season will add up to help you trim your waistline (or at least hold off the effects of that extra glass of egg nog). So what are you waiting for? Get excited for your new plan and get ready for a new you come January!
Have you changed your workout routine because of the holidays? What are you doing differently?