Too many goodies and too little activity have taken their toll. Not only do you feel out of shape, but the number on the scale is up, too. It’s the dreaded holiday weight hike!
Maybe you have only gained two or three pounds but this is still cause for concern. Studies show that most people don’t lose the weight they put on during the holiday season. Try to stomach that thought as you remember the extra helping of Christmas pudding you had - you might have enjoyed it but you don’t want to wear it for the rest of the year!
With winter weather, the last thing you want to do is head outside for a jog, walk or cycle. Well, you don’t have to brave the wind, rain and snow. Here’s a 20-minute indoor workout which will increase your metabolism and help you burn calories. Enjoy the effects of both a strength-training session and cardio exercise in one workout.
Beat the holiday bulge by performing this workout two to three times a week, with 48 hours rest between each session. You don’t need any equipment. However, you can use weights (use dumbbells, cans of soup or filled water bottles) to increase the intensity of the routine.
Perform two or three sets of each of the following exercises, resting for one to two minutes between each set. Shorter rests between sets will promote more fat burning, while longer rests will tend to create more strength and muscle. Once you’ve done two or three sets of each exercise, go on to the next movement. You should see results in as little as a month!
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold dumbbells at your sides. Hold your head straight while you maintain the natural arch in your back, knees soft. Inhale as you bend at the knees and hips to a sitting position, or as low as you can comfortably go without pain or discomfort. Allow the arms to swing forward for balance. Your buttocks never drop below the level of your knees, and your knees do not extend beyond the toes. Exhale, slowly rising to a standing position with your knees and hips straight, allowing the arms to drop back to your sides. Ideally, select a resistance level (body weight or dumbbells) that enables you to hit muscle fatigue in the 12- to 20-repetition range.
Intensity Booster: Hold dumbbells (as shown) or perform this exercise at a slower pace to increase intensity and overall results. Squat down to a slow count of eight, and back up to a slow count of four.
Lie face down on the floor or mat, hands on the floor, palms down, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and toes curled under on the floor. Your back and legs are straight. Exhale as you slowly straighten your arms and push your body away from the floor. Inhale, lowering yourself back down to the point where your chest comes within a few inches of the floor. Repeat to the point of muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).
Intensity Booster: Elevate your feet on a step or bench (while your hands remain on the floor) to increase intensity. To reduce overall intensity, perform the Modified Push-Up instead of the classic version.
Upper Body/Core Everything remains the same as in the regular push-up, except your knees are bent and remain on the floor throughout the movement instead of the feet. Repeat to the point of muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).
Lie supine on a mat or padded carpet, legs straight, both hands under your buttocks to help maintain the proper pelvic tilt (engages abs). With your head held off the floor a few inches, exhale and slowly bring your knees to your chest. If necessary, support your head and neck with a folded towel. Inhale as you straighten your legs (make sure you keep the lower back pressed firmly onto the floor), then return to the starting position. Repeat to the point of muscle fatigue (in the range of 20 to 30 reps).
Intensity Booster: Kicking your legs straight out and near the floor will increase intensity (as shown), while kicking higher up, and away from the floor will reduce it.