Working Out During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a busy time for many people, but this doesn’t mean you have to limit or even forego your workouts in the gym.  Here are a few tips to take with you to the gym to make your workout more effective and efficient during the busy holiday season.

 

1. Plan ahead

If you are planning on working out today in the gym, what exercises are you going to do?  Do you have them written down?  Writing down your exercises not only helps you track your progress, but also helps organize your training sessions.  Instead of having to think about what you are going to do next in your workout session, writing down your workouts will save yourself some time as well as help mentally prepare you for your upcoming workout.

 

2. Incorporate supersets into your workout

Many people like to do a set of one exercise, rest, and then do a few more sets before starting their next exercise.  While straight sets have their time and place, it may be a more efficient use of your time if you utilize a concept called supersets instead.  The idea here is pretty simple.  Instead of going from one exercise to the next, you would instead do a set of one exercise, rest, and then do a set of another exercise right after.  You would then repeat this process for however many sets you have chosen to do.  Here is a good example of how I would write this up for a client.

1a. goblet squats 3×12 (translation: 3 sets of 12 repetitions)

1b. push-ups 3×12

In this example you would do 12 repetitions of a goblet squat, and then after a short break do 12 repetitions of a push-up.  You would then repeat this superset 3 times.  It may be best to think of it as a mini circuit.

Supersets are a great way of increasing your workload, and therefore calorie burn, all the while spending less time in the gym.

 

3. Choose compound movements

Bicep curls. Tricep push-downs. Calf raises.

All of these activities may have their time and place in your workout, but if you are limited in time it’s best to utilize multi-joint compound movements.  For instance, while bicep curls and tricep push-downs target and strengthen your biceps and triceps respectively, your time would be better spent doing a rowing variation and a push-up variation instead.  Rows targets not only your biceps but also your back and core as well.   When done correctly, the push-up targets your chest, triceps, and core.   Instead of isolating muscles think about how you can combine muscle groups in the safest manner possible.

 

 4. Try Cardio Strength Training

As the name suggest, this method of training emphasizes both strength and cardio at the same time.  For instance, instead of separating your workout into a cardio session (i.e. running, rowing etc.) and a strength session (i.e. lifting weights), combine the two.  While strength training mainly targets your anaerobic system, Cardio Strength Training targets both in a more even fashion.

While it may seem complicated, the concept is pretty simple and straight forward. Instead of lifting only 1 rep to failure (as advised in most strength training programs), you would instead drop the weight for a selected exercise a little bit, so you are also targeting more of the cardiovascular system at the same time.  For example if you’re doing goblets squats, and you normally do 50lbs for 12 repetitions, you could drop the weight down to 35lbs, and possibly increase the volume or time spent doing the exercise.  So instead of doing 3 sets of 12 repetitions at 50lbs for goblet squats, you could do 3 sets of 20 reps at 35lbs. You may also want to regress the push-up as well to make it a little easier (i.e. incline push-ups).  This is just one example of many ways you can modify an exercise routine to help it target both your aerobic and anaerobic system.

 

 5. Keep it Simple

The holidays can be a stressful time so it makes sense to not allow your workouts to become too stressful both psychologically and physiologically.  For instance, if you are a heavy lifter, the month of December may be a good time to deload, or put another way, back off from strenuous training.  Walking is an incredibly underrated activity as are most forms of lighter intensity activity like yoga and pilates.   If you can’t make it to the gym, find ways to stay moving.  It could be a hike, or a simple walk around your neighborhood.  January will be here in no time and you will be fresh and ready to tackle a new workout challenge.

 

These are just a few examples of how you can make your holiday workouts more effective and efficient.  If you are interested in learning more about how you can make your workout routine more efficient, email us today to set-up a FREE assessment and consultation.

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