No Excuse Holiday Workout

‘Tis the season to eat all the things! From office bake sale goods, festive holiday drinks, countless marshmallows in your cocoa to dinner party after dinner party, drinking champagne and consuming endless amounts of snacks. It’s a time filled with glutinous consumption well-before the big night, leaving you with a month filled of indulging and missed workouts! But it’s not about feeling guilty, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t indulge (especially during the holidays)?! This is about fitting all of those events into your already busy schedule and still managing to maintain regular workouts. Sure, burning extra calories will be helpful during this time, however exercising will also help reduce the stress and tension you’ll inevitably endure by dealing with family politics or making sure your first time hosting Christmas dinner goes smoothly.

I’ll be honest, I personally don’t spend an hour at the gym. I’m usually in and out within 30 minutes unless I’m hitting an evening yoga class and get to enjoy 60-75 minutes of uninterrupted bliss. First of all, I have the attention span of a goldfish. Second, I stick to plans that get me out of the gym in less than an hour and away from the grunting man on the bench press (Fitazfk's plan is currently my favourite!). Lastly, I truly don’t have the time! Especially now that the holidays are here I’m lucky if I even get those 30 minutes at the gym. If I miss a workout I end up feeling tired, my mood drops drastically, and I just don’t care to indulge as much - which is absolute nonsense this time of year (and even surprises myself).

Thankfully, I have found six exercises that cover a large number of muscle groups I typically want to train. So, when I’m running short on time and want to squeeze in a workout I’ll go through the below exercises at 10-12 reps and repeat the set 3 times:

Start by hopping on the treadmill for 5 minutes to break a sweat and bring that heart rate up. Then, follow the below six exercises:

Kettlebell Squat: We all know squats help to build strength in your leg muscles and tone that booty! To add another layer to the workout, grab a kettle bell (I use 10-15 pounds) to work those muscles and add a bit of a challenge when it comes to balance. This movement will also engage the shoulders muscles. Start by standing with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward , and with your chest lifted. Keeping the kettlebell in front of your chest, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground and then come back up and squeeze those glutes. Posture in this one is everything so go slowly and ensure you aren’t causing any lower back pain – engage that core and keep your chest lifted.

Tricep Raised Dip: This lovely exercises not only works your triceps but also engages your forearms, chest, and lower back. Use a bench and place a chair in front of you (or a box, another bench, etc.) and get into position. Once there, place your hands behind you on the bench and begin to bend at your elbows, slowly lowering your body down into a dip. Ensure that you keep both your core and glutes tight, keep a slight bend in the elbows at all times (*cringe* poor form on my part below), and feel each targeted area of this exercise work a little harder as you press back up.

Bicycle Crunch: This exercise helps build that six-pack and tightens the waistline by getting at your external oblique’s. I love this abdominal exercise the most! Start by bringing those hands to touch or cradle your upper neck, knees starting at a 90-degree, take your right elbow to touch your left knee while you simultaneously extend the right leg out parallel to the floor. Be sure to move slowly and touch those elbows to knee for muscle activation. It’s not a race.

Forearm To Plank: In this exercises you’re engaging those triceps, shoulders, chest, and abdominal muscles. Your lower back will also benefit from this one, as will your hip flexors and stabilizers to encourage a strong core. Start in plank position and then take one forearm down to the mat at a time until you’re in half plan position. Bring yourself back up by lifting off from one forehand onto your palm, followed by the other, to push yourself back up into a full plank. Keep that core engaged, glutes tight, and avoid swinging those hips from side-to-side.

Booty Lift + Kick Ups: Feel the burn. This exercise will get your glute muscles firing! I see far too many people rushing through this one but it’s best to be mindful of keeping your back straight, engaging the core, and feeling each rep. You can add weighted ankle bands if you’d like, but I tend to feel the burn without them! Start on all fours with your knees directly under your hips. Lift your leg so that it’s parallel to the floor and keep those toes pointed. Lift your leg up nice and high and then come back down so you’re in line with your back and then go straight into a kick up (yes, that counts as one). A kick up is when you bring your leg back up to parallel with the floor (in line with your back), bend at the knee, and then push the sole of your foot up as if you were pushing against the ceiling.

Weighted Lunges: In this one you’re working on your balance, increasing that hip flexor flexibility, activating those glutes, and building core stability. By adding dumbbells in with your lunges you’re strengthening your hips, ankles, and core as well! With this exercise I always like to check my form. I make sure my knees stay in line with my feet , confirm that my knees don’t bend beyond the tips of my toes, and then engage my core and keep my back straight! I also like to stay do all 10 reps on one side and then switch.

Your booty will be sore, your legs burning, arms feeling strong, and your core tight! Take a sip of water and grab your mat for a good stretch. It’s key to hydrate and to ensure you stretch those muscles to avoid muscle fatigue, eliminate the lactic acid, and to help the blood flow (amongst a handful of other benefits)! In and out within 30, hop in the shower, and off to your dinner you go. It may not seem like a lot but hey, you’re getting in an workout, you’re breaking a sweat, and all within a reasonable amount of time – no excuses!

Wearing: Sneakers by APL, Leggings by 90 Degree by Reflex, Sports Bra by Aritzia, Bottle by Pure Yoga.

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