It’s the festive season so it’s time to treat yourself to some well earned rest and over indulgence. Sure, within reason of course.
We generally work so hard throughout the year to stay in shape and look our best, and then when it comes to the end of year, we throw it all away because ‘it’s holiday time’.
Though a good enough reason for most, you can still do some exercise to keep things ticking over so to speak. Remember that your calorie intake is going to increase through festive eating and drinking, so a little bit of balancing of the equation is needed.
For a couple weeks of downtime you may not think it necessary, but then you start the year on the back foot, and sometimes a ‘couple weeks’ becomes a ‘couple months’ before you get back into the gym.
So let’s keep a few basic exercises in mind for you to ‘earn’ your mince pies and gin and tonics with. The selections below are not just easy to do, but may even make you realize a thing or two about your body and exercise.
An upper body essential, but you must do them right. Technique is key here so get onto your knees, place your hands with fingers pointing forward, shoulders length apart, elbows by your side. Then assume the rest of the push up position with legs straight and away you go. Nice and easy tempo wise, feel the easy burn in your chest region, plus your arms.
Advanced: Take it a notch with some explosive force at the bottom of the movement, enough to get the hands off the ground at the top of the movement.
With you getting your push up form just right, the progression into good burpees is a great progressional move. From push up starting position, brings the knees towards the chest landing on your feet, then jumping up vertically. This full body movement may not be the most fun one to do, but that provides enough proof as to why you should be doing it!
Advanced: For a bit of extra onto your burpee, find a suitable surface to jump onto. A small ledge, a bench, reinforced box, whatever you can find. The explosive movement is great for burning some holiday fat and keeping your muscles in check.
Get back into that push up position again, this time just hold that start position while contracting your core muscles. Create a plank to be proud of and you can proudly feel that holiday body doing the right thing. Mix it up from there with some side planks where the torso is rotated onto one arm supporting your weight. Swop sides after a sufficient time and consider the core worked.
(You can also do these from your elbows instead of hands)
Advanced: Keep track of your plank times each day, and add a little each new session. See how long you can hold it by the end of the holidays.
Targeting that core again and bringing in the lower body, get stuck into some well performed lunges in a straight line. Alternating with each stride, make sure the knee doesn’t pass the leading foot as you extend, tensing the core for good posture.
Advanced: Once you get the lunges going, try add some jump lunges whereby instead of lunging in a straight line, you jump up in between to alternate the legs. Go slow in the beginning, then work into a quicker rhythm. Focus on keeping the core strong, and you will feel like you are becoming more Bolt like with each move.
The squat movement is such an essential no matter what your exercise goals are. Warm up with some basic squats, lowering into a position where the thighs are parallel to the ground, driving up with the heels. From there really focus on being explosive from the bottom of the movement, bringing yourself into the air at the top of the movement.
Advanced: Adding a bit of weight to your shoulders will make this a little more difficult. Keep the movement exactly the same, consciously keeping that core strong as you drive upwards.
All of the above are dynamic movements that lead us into the sprints. The best exercise you can do that requires nothing other than you and a bit of open space. Small distances with high intensity will do wonders on the fat burning, and together with all the other exercises combined, keep your whole body firing over the holidays.
Advanced: More sprinting less resting will up the intensity in this one, but see how you go. Really focus on each stride, and pumping the arms to drive you forward.
The great thing about these exercises are that they don’t require you to have anything extra in your luggage. No matter where you go you can get these exercises done, and all of them incorporate your own body weight. If you are struggling with them, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your current exercise regime and incorporate such movements into your 2017 workouts.
For some extra exercise motivation, here’s a couple’s workout video which could add another element to staying in shape these holidays.