Setting Yourself Up For Success: A guide to a healthy, happy, holiday season

We all know the realities of January 2nd. Everyone makes a mad dash to the gym or jumps into the latest fad diet in an attempt to reverse the month(s) of indulgence. Here’s the thing: you can still enjoy the holidays without losing sight of your goals. Set yourself up for success this year and make this holiday season your healthiest yet!  With a few simple steps you can come through the next few weeks not only looking your best, but also with more energy and vitality. It all starts with movement and nutrition. November is the new January, so let’s get started!

Do you have a cubicle or office? Do you sit at your desk for long periods of time? Do you find yourself reaching for coffee or sugar at various times during the day? Include these three activities for 10 minutes during a busy work day or when you wake up in the morning and see results. You may not see a change right away in the mirror or on the scale – but you will notice those “non-scale victories”: more energy, less 3 PM slumps, more mobility and strength, and even less cravings!

The goal is to do these three, big-muscle, calorie burning movements 3-5 days per week. You will not only burn calories while performing the movements, but also after. The so-called “afterburn effect” is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply, EPOC. Essentially, the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward.

Stand in front of a chair or bench. Push hips back as if you are going to sit down on the chair while keeping head and chest position straight up. Tap butt on chair and stand back up,pushing through your heels and driving the top of your head to the ceiling, then squeezing glutes at the top. Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds.

Start in neutral high plank position, with arms straight, hands under shoulders, and a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Keep elbows tight to sides of body as you lower yourself down and push yourself back up to high plank position. Keep core locked and glutes contracted. Keep neck relaxed and head position neutral, no drooping the belly! Repeat 10 times for 3 rounds. ***Modification: Raise your hands to a bench or wall and complete reps as normal. 

Lie face down with your forearms straight out on the floor and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor — your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet. Lock your core  and tighten your buttocks. Look at the floor to keep your head in neutral position and breathe normally. Hold for 30 seconds, lower yourself to the floor and rest. Complete 3 rounds. ***Modification: Drop knees to floor and complete plank as normal.

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