Tis the season…you’ve got a ton of things on your “to-do”
list, and time is running is short. The
holiday hustle and bustle can be enough to stress anyone, but here are four
quick stay-fit tips to help stop unhealthy weight gain before January 1.
You have about million things to do for the holiday season,
with only a fraction of the time you need.
This is dangerous. How?
Dangerous, because it is EASY to skip your workouts.
EASY to start making poor food choices.
It is a huge mistake to put your precious lean muscle tissue at risk. Whether
you are just starting a new fitness program or you’ve been working at it all
year, there is no reason to start fooling around with that valuable muscle you
are now trying so hard to protect.
Why is lean muscle tissue so important? Simple. You lose muscle, you lower your
resting metabolic rate, which typically accounts for about 60-75% of your total
daily calorie burn. This means that everyday you will be burning less and less
calories which will put you on the fast track for packing on ugly, unwanted
body fat during the holidays.
So let’s look at it like this. There are a number of ways to maintain or even
increase the number of calories your body will naturally burn each day, both
from exercise and from your normal daily activities.
The result? Your body becomes a much stronger, lean, fat-burning machine. Use
the simple strategies below to maintain and even increase your current amount
of lean muscle mass, maximizing your daily calorie burn. In the end, you’ll
feel a lot better than one of those “holiday food hangovers”.
1.) Perform at least one intense strength training session per week.
It has been proven that even ONE intense, well structured total body workout
per week is an effective way to maintain current fitness levels when you can’t
exercise during really busy times (like the holiday season). So, to best
maintain your strength and lean muscle mass, shoot for at least one,
concentrated strength training workout during the week to keep strong and
prevent unwanted fat from catching up. If time allows, perform up to three
total body strength workouts per week with three cardio interval workouts on the
non strength training days for total body fat domination.
2.) Score the Magic Numbers.
No offense, but your body is a moron. In other words, it cannot differentiate
between 100 lunges performed in a row versus 100 total lunges performed in a
When you honestly cannot find a five to 20-minute time slot to complete an
effective total body workout, look for hidden chunks of time during the day to
get in a certain number of daily repetitions for a certain number of exercises
that work your entire body.
Got a free moment before bringing the kids to band practice?
Great, crank out 10 push-ups, 10 rows, and 20 squats.
Using this method throughout the day will lead to big numbers by the end of the
day that will burn the same amount of calories in addition to creating similar
muscle building effects as if you did all of the exercises at once during a
It is important to note that this “Score the Magic Numbers” routine is merely a
preventative back-up option to an ideal 20-minute interval training workouts
which are scientifically proven to burn nine times more fat than ordinary
exercise (like the ones we use in our boot camp program).
Short rest periods between exercises create the optimal hormonal environment
for rapid fire fat loss and lean muscle gains, as opposed to taking much longer
rest periods between exercises. So, be sure to get score your numbers this
“What exercises are most effective?” Glad you asked.
Make sure to pick multi-joint, compound movements that hit as much of your
body’s major muscle groups in the shortest amount of time possible (e.g.
squats, lunges, push-ups, rows, etc.). Use the plan below as guide to build
your own “Score the Magic Numbers” workout. Adjust the repetition ranges
accordingly based on your current strength levels. The only thing you need is
your body weight and adjustable dumbbells and/or resistance bands. Perform this
plan up to three times per week, resting a day between workouts.
Make sure to alternate between Plan A and Plan B for more variety. You can
either hit your magic numbers by doing one exercise first (e.g. perform
push-ups rest-pausing as needed until you get 100 total), or by simply employ
circuit style training (e.g. 20 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 rows, repeat 10x throughout
the day to hit your totals).
“Score the Magic Numbers” Holiday Workout Mixer
Plan A- Body weight Squats or Double Leg Hip Extensions: 100-200 total
Push-ups: 50-100 total (knee pushups ok)
DB/Band Rows: 50-100 total
Plan B- Body weight Lunges or Single-Leg Hip Extensions: 50-100/total per leg
Off Chair/Couch Dips: 50-100 total
DB/Band Curls: 50-100 total (feel free to swap pull-ups or pull-downs here if
you have access to the equipment)
3.) Rage Against Those Pesky Machines
Machines have made us an incredibly lazy, out of shape and overweight society.
This holiday season make it a point to not use them! Now I don’t mean to say
that you cannot drive to the mall during the holidays. However, when you get to
the mall, don’t sit there and wait for the spot right next to the door. Park
down the isle and briskly walk the rest of the way. Skip the escalator, take
the stairs. Little changes with all those extra steps will add up quick and
burn the calories.
4.) Get moving, get outside and get fit!
I remember growing up in North Dakota,
snowdrifts, igloos and snowball fights. Running up snow covered hills with your
feet sinking into the snow with every step…it’s was fun, but exhausting! Now, I
know unless you are in the high country, Phoenix
doesn’t get to see a whole lot of snowdrifts. But, you can still enjoy the
pristine, cool outdoor air by hustling up Camelback
Mountain or follow the paved trail up North Mountain.
Point is…shut the TV off, grab the family, get some fresh air and have some outdoor
Enjoy this time, everyone...it only comes once a year! ;)
Curtis Hoekstra, CFT is the founder of the wildly popular
Arizona Fitness Boot Camp. The program provides rapid fat loss and strength
gain in less time for a third of the cost of one-on-one personal training. For
a NO RISK TRIAL to the Phoenix or Scottsdale boot camp
locations, please visit http://www.ArizonaFitnessBootCamp.com