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Maximize Your Time & Fitness During the Holidays!

Brian Calkins - NSCA-CPT, ACE | Cincinnati, Ohio

As we celebrate Thanksgiving next week by sharing our gratitude with those we love, one of the holiday traditions often neglected is our fitness routine. But ignoring physical activity between now and January 1st makes for a much more challenging uphill climb come January. 

In the spirit of keeping on track during this busy time of year, below are the 6 timesaving tips to keep you moving throughout the holiday season:

1.      Save Time by Exercising Correctly!  

Instead of abandoning exercise and all of its stress reducing benefits, condense your time by increasing the intensity of your workout. Research shows that you can maintain your muscle tone and strength with 2 short workouts per week with only one set of each exercise. During the holidays, this short term strategy will pay nice dividends.

Interval cardiovascular training is another economical form of exercise. Rather than 45 minutes on the treadmill, you can get better body fat reduction with 20 minutes of intense interval training.

2.      Eliminate Inefficient Movements!

Eliminate isolation movements like the inner/outer thigh machines, triceps and biceps movements. Focus on compound exercises like squats, presses and pulling movements and then perform some intense cardio immediate following. Whether you workout at home or a gym, get in and get out in minimal time.

3.      Warm-up as a workout!

We don’t need to spend 5-10 minutes on the treadmill before a workout. Instead, grab a medicine ball and pretend like you are chopping wood with it by raising the ball over your head and quickly down between your legs.  Then use the medicine ball to rotate around your core back and forth.  This is a much more functional warm up and far more efficient with only 2 minutes of time invested.

4.      Work Your Entire Body with Each Workout!

Plan your holiday workouts to work all of the muscles of your body in one session. This will allow you to minimize your time and maximize the benefit. Remember, in life we use our entire body as one cohesive unit and thus we should train it to replicate our real word activity.

5.      Train your abs with every exercise!

Investing 15 minutes performing crunches is a waste of time.  We use our abs with almost every exercise that replicates real world movement.  Focus on your core with each exercise you perform by contracting your abs (almost as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach) and drawing in your navel toward your spine. This will allow you to work your abs without having to isolate them and waste time.

6.      Plan your workouts!

Now that you have some valuable strategies to improve your workout efficiency, now we need to put them into action. Always have a step by step plan of your routine before you hit the gym so you stay on target and eliminate unnecessary time. Remain focused, be efficient and you’ll be finished in minimal time!

Remember, exercise substantially reduces stress, enhances energy and the feel good hormones, and allows us to be far more productive and balanced. More than any other time of the year, consistent, yet time efficient exercise during the holidays will allow us maximum enjoyment of this wonderful time of the year.