Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy? A Holiday Guide to Keep You from Packing on the Pounds

pushup

You know it’s coming. The elevator carols are playing, sweets are tempting you at every check out register and desk at work, and you barely have time to sit down for a real meal.  Sometimes it becomes nearly impossible to avoid gaining weight around the holidays.  The weather’s a little drearier, your family is gallantly catching up over a mountainous feast, and you cannot possibly turn down the festively decorated cookies, pastries, and other goods. So how can you enjoy the holidays without packing on the extra pounds? Try this at-home full body workout that’s effective and easy to fit into an already jampacked holiday schedule. In between schmoozing with the folks and setting the good silverware out, you might even keep your jeans buttoned all the way through dessert.

For a photo guide on how to do these exercises, CLICK HERE

 1.)  Find a relatively open space (it can be the living room floor, the backyard, or even the rug in your bedroom) and lay out a mat or a towel.

 2.)  Warm your body up by doing some simple jumping jacks (or add weight with dumbbells or water bottles) and some high-knee in-place jogging.

 3.)  Get your core warm with a simple plank.  Place your forearms and elbows down on the floor-the elbows should line up underneath the shoulders- and put your toes back as if in push-up position.  Lift up on your toes (or toes up, knees down, for a modified position) making sure that your body is in a nice straight line with your hips even and hold for 30-60 seconds.

Watch a video on how to perform a plank hold

 4.)  Shift positions to continue with some classic push-ups.  Come up onto your hands, keeping the feet or knees exactly where they were for the plank, and slowly lower down and up for a push-up. Try and do 10-15 all the way toward the floor-you can even lift one leg up for an extra challenge- and again, make sure your body stays linear. Click HERE for photos

 5.)  Come down into a table top position with your hands, knees, and toes on the floor.  Make sure the spine stays straight while kicking one leg back (like a donkey kick) and then out to the side (the movement is 2 separate kicks, not one quick motion), and then come back to starting position.  Repeat on each side 10-15 times. Click HERE for photos

 6.)  Flip over onto your back to do some bridges with dips. Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent and your palms resting face down.  Push your hips as high as you can so you create an incline from your head to your knees.  Hold for about 3-5 seconds before slowly lowering your hips back down just before they rest, and then lift back up and into the bridge position that you began with.  Continue this movement about 12-15 times.  Again, lift one leg up for an extra challenge, or just hold the bridge for a slight modification. Click HERE for photos

 7.)  Sit up and get in position for tricep dips.  Keep the knees bent or straight (a little tougher) with your fingers facing the same direction and your hands slightly behind you.  Lift the body off the ground so only your feet and hands are holding you up, and then bend the elbows to lower your hips toward the floor, pushing back up before they touch.  Repeat 10-15 times, making sure your hips stabilize while your arms create the movement.Click HERE for photos

 8.)  Go ahead and stand up for some jump squats.  With your feet shoulder width apart, squat down as if you were sitting in a chairpushing your weight toward your butt and away from your knees.  Explode out of this position into a jump, landing right back in the squatting position-be sure to keep the knees soft! Repeat 10-12 times.  (You can do this without the jump as well, just come to an upright position after each squat).

 After the first set, your body should be feeling good and working hard.  Go ahead and and repeat the steps a second (or even a third) time.  Add a jump rope or some sprints in depending on what your space allows. Now you have barely lost any time with the relatives, and you are toned and prepped for mealtime.  Try not to let the dinner table leave you in a funk-go on a group walk after dinner or brunch to avoid simply eating and sitting.  Grab a family member to do the workout with you or put on some tunes and dance around.  So eat, drink, and be merry, but be sure to grab some extra helpings of health, too, and enjoy a fitter, slimmer holiday season.

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