Reader Q & A : Staying In Shape During the Holidays

After the  Holiday balance post, many readers wrote in with specific questions on how to maintain your fitness during the seasonal craziness. I get it, busy holiday schedules make it  challenging to fit in great workouts.But believe it or not, investing just a little time in exercise this December can reap big rewards. In fact, even 10 minutes a day, three days a week can go FAR in maintaining your fitness level. Anything counts and I can guarantee each workout session will help offset stress and provide the consistency that makes it easier to resume your regular routine in the new year.  I want to help you survive the season in great shape. Read below for my answers to all your holiday health and fitness concerns.

Q: What kind of workouts should I do during the holidays, when Im more likely to be indulging a little (lot)? Is it all about cardio and calories? Or should I try to do strength and intervals? 

A: When you are tight on time, go for workouts that involve interval training. Research shows that interval training—workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods—increases fitness and burns more calories over a short period of time than steady-state cardio. You can incorporate intervals into any of your favorite workouts. Use sprints during cardio, add total body burpees to bootcamp, or try plyometric (jumping) exercises during strength training workouts. Click here to view some of my favorite quick, intense exercise routines. They are perfect for solo gym time or at home training. If you like taking classes, look for high intensity group workouts that involve short bursts of energy. My Chiseld or Cycling classes at EQUINOX Pine street are a great option if you live in the area.  Less time in the gym doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fitness. Work hard and make the MOST of every minute!

Q: When you’re short on time, should you minimize your whole routine (cardio for half the time, lift half the time) or just focus on one thing?

You could do either, just try to get both cardio and strength training into your weekly routine. But when your schedule is super tight, combine your cardio and strength training into one intense and effective workout. Choose compound exercises (exercises that target more than one muscle group) without rest between sets, and you can squeeze in a workout in as little as 10 minutes. Ideally, it’s best to spend more time on cardio or strength training, but ANYTHING is better than nothing. Focus on quality over quantity  One of my favorite time-saving total body workout is called the “Spartacus Workout”. Before you write this off as something reserved for “spartans”, hear me out. This routine is EXCELLENT for those days when you need to make EVERY second count. It works well for everyone – modify or intensify the below exercises to meet your needs and you’ll enjoy a great total body workout session. As always, check with a doctor before starting up a new exercise routine. This week, I challenge you to take 10 minutes to try the below. Let me know how it goes!

Time Saver TOTAL BODY workout:

Perform the following 10 exercises in succession for 60 seconds (as many reps as possible), with good form.  Give yourself 10-15 seconds to switch stations.  Once the circuit is done, 2 minute rest.  Repeat as many times as your schedule allows.  Great endurance/strength test!

Station 1- Goblet Squats
Station 2- Mountain Climbers
Station 3- Single Arm Dumbbell Swing
Station 4- T-Pushups
Station 5- Split Jumps
Station 6-Dumbbell Rows
Station 7- Dumbell Side Lunges
Station 8- Pushup Rows
Station 9- Dumbell Lunges [with rotation]
Station 10-Dumbell Push Press

Click HERE for images and descriptions of EACH exercise. Let me know if you have any questions and ENJOY your workout session!

Q: What’s the best workout to do when you’re traveling and don’t have access to your regular gym?

My favorite way to workout when traveling is to explore the city with a walk or run. Its a great way to enjoy the place you’re visiting and will guarantee an extra calorie burn while sightseeing. If the weather limits outdoor workout opportunities during your stay, bring your gym in your suitcase. You can easily get a full body workout with resistance bands or simply utilize hotel room furniture as gym equipment. A chair can easily be used for triceps dips and a strong table is the perfect place for step-ups. A jump rope is also a light tool to pack and a great way to incorporate cardio. If your hotel has a lot of levels, take the stairs and make them into a serious stepping workout. Climbing up and down all the flights will get your heart rate up and your butt in great shape! For more of my travel fitness tips, check out THIS POST. 

Q: Favorite workouts for keeping stress-free?

When you are stressed, choose to do the workouts you ENJOY the most. The last thing you need when you are busy is feeling obligated to add another thing to your to-do list. Make working out something you look forward to by choosing activities that allow you to forget your worries and feel good. You’ll stay consistent with exercise if you engage in workouts that make you happy and help you de-stress. It also helps to have a playlist that makes you FEEL happy. Choose songs that give you energy and make you smile. Here’s what I’ve been jamming to lately for extra “feel good” energy:

Caroline’s De-stress December Playlist.

1. Criminal / Britney Spears 3:45

2. In The Dark (Main) / Dev

3. Without You (feat. Usher) / David Guetta

4. Pumped Up Kicks – Remix / Pmoney

5. T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) / Will I Am feat. Mick Jagger

6. Good Feeling / Flo Rida

7. You Make Me Feel / Cobra Starship ft Sabi

8. Talk That Talk (feat. Jay Z) / Rihanna

9. Pass At Me (feat. Pitbull) / Timbaland

10. Superstar (feat. Pitbull & Qwote) / Avicii

12. My Delirium / Ladyhawke

13. We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)/ Rihanna

14. Domino / Jessie J

15.Took My Love (feat.RedRoo,Vein &David Rush) / Pitbull

16. Every Tear Drop Is a Waterfall / Coldplay

17. Electric Relaxation / Tribe Called Quest

Q: Any other tips on staying healthy through the holidays?

My #1 suggestion for feeling healthy and balanced  during the holidays is to put aside the notion that “you don’t have enough time”.  Honor your physical, mental, and spiritual needs and establish a sense of balance for yourself during this time of year. Schedule in exercise, nourish your body, and take time for relaxation so that you can feel your best all season. Embrace imperfection and take pressure off yourself by not trying to be everywhere at once.  I believe doing this will allow you to stay healthy and truly appreciate the beauty of the holidays.

Dont give up your health and fitness during the holidays. You are NOT a quitter. Move to feel good and power your life with energy and health. I know you can DO IT.  Get inspired. Be willing to perspire. Stay strong, focused, motivated, and DEDICATED. Tis the season to stay fit – lets do it! 

I LOVED hearing your fitness questions and I hope the above answers help you stay strong this season. Always feel free to send your questions and comments my way – I am here to support you in finding your happiest and healthiest self. Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday full of fitness!!


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