So we ate a little too much turkey and stuffing? Still snacking on the leftover pumpkin pie (I am)? Feeling a little snug in those jeans? That’s okay! Don’t throw in the towel now and say you will wait to start over in the New year… start now! I know I wrote about how to have a healthy Thanksgiving, but I also know that sometimes the day just gets the best of us! The following is a quick and dirty fitness/diet blitz to get you over the Thanksgiving weight gain and even a few pounds lighter before Christmas. It really isn’t that hard. Just follow a few dietary suggestions and do the following fitness routine over the next week or two and you can be well on your way to starting the Advent/Christmas season off on the right foot!
Cardio and body -weight exercises: For your workout today, perform a 30 minute cardio session (could be exercise bike, run, elliptical). During that 30 minutes, do five 4 minute intervals. In other words, if you are on the bike, increase level for four minutes to bring up the heart rate. Then bring it back down to regular pace (level) for five minutes, and bring it back up again…do that five times. Afterwards, hit the weights (using a few 5-10 lb. weights and your body):
Body- weight exercises: Squats, Calf Raises, Push ups, Shoulder Press (5-10 lbs) and Dips (can be done with a chair). 3 sets of 8-10 exercises for each. Increase the weight if too easy, decrease if you struggle to complete 8 repetitions.
Cardio Only day: Warm up first with 15 minutes of light cardio (jog, exercise bike, elliptical). Then perform 20 minutes of intensive interval training (30 second sprint followed by 90 second recovery. Ten 2 minute intervals with 10 sprints.) You can do this with any exercise – running, swimming, cycling, elliptical etc. Work as hard as possible, then do a 10 minute cool down. 45 minutes total.
Walk / Jog day: Go for a long (90 minutes) or a gentle jog of 45 minutes. Eat lots of protein to help muscle recovery and less carbohydrates (maybe eggs for breakfast and a small salad with plenty of chicken, pork, beef or fish for lunch and a light dinner). All portions should be small.
Body weight exercise day: After a 15 minute warm up on the exercise bike, elliptical, or running, do the following for one minute each three times through: eight count body builders, plank, push-ups to fatigue – then small rest and start again, squats. About 35 minutes total.
The other side of the equation is the nutrition component (I believe its about 70% diet and 30% exercise). Exercise alone often does not bring about the results that many people are looking for. However, when we combine the nutritional changes with the fitness component, results are much more likely.
I believe what we eat is the most important part. Here are a few things that can make a difference: Eating plenty of protein can speed up our weight loss by helping us to build and/or maintain lean muscle that also raises our fat-burning metabolism and helps to keep us fuller longer. Drinking lots of water, eliminating many unnecessary starches (especially white bread), and eating plenty of fiber can help to keep our digestive system running well and can keep our blood-sugar levels from spiking. Purging our refrigerator and cabinets of those sweets and snacks that we like to eat (I realize this is hard to do if we have kids around), and replacing them with healthier snacks like carrots, hard boiled eggs, celery, etc. keeps us from eating unnecessary calories and fills us up with healthy foods. Finally, not eating after 7 pm gives our bodies a good “fast” before breakfast and keeps us from eating empty calories at night.