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Health and Fitness: Healthy Holidays

Credit: TATOMM (THINKSTOCK)

The holidays is a time for gathering with friends and family, while also eating great food and catching up on some rest. However, even with all these fun activities, it's still important to workout and munch on some healthy food.


Karen Nixon-Carroll | Interrobang | Lifestyles | December 11th, 2017




This time of year, it’s easy to hang up your health and fitness goals and say, I’ll get back to it in the New Year. It may seem easy, but it actually makes it 10 times harder in January.

You may say to yourself one of the following, “There’s no time”, “I can’t get to the gym”, “I’m not motivated”, “I’m too tired”, and “I’m stressed”, etc. and it’s the truth! So how do you overcome this?

The best thing you can do is make a schedule. Write it down in your calendar the times you can fit in a little fitness and healthy meal prep. You may have to split up your workout into smaller segments (i.e. 20 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes late afternoon) which is better than nothing at all. You may also need to ditch your current workout routine and opt for something shorter or that more efficiently uses your time. Circuit training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) are great ways to do this.

An example of circuit training would be to alternate resistance with something aerobic. You can do as many sets as you like and then move to the next exercises (i.e. squats and jumping jacks for two to three sets then push ups and jog on the spot for two to three sets, and so on). You could also make a circuit station workout where you do each exercise for so many reps and sets and then repeat the whole sequence again (i.e. Squats, Push ups, Side lunges, Ab curl, jog on the spot, etc.). Circuit training can be done in timed segments or you could decide on a certain number of repetitions for each exercise before hand.

HIIT training is typically a timed workout and should include periods of rest or active recovery. For example, you could choose two to four high intensity exercises for 20-30 seconds each, performed one after the other and then rest or actively recover (something slow and low impact) for 30-45 seconds, then repeat the sequence over again. You could also try a Tabata style workout where you go really hard for 20 seconds then rest or active recovery for 10 seconds for a few minutes then rest for about a minute before going to the next set of exercises.

The benefits to these types of routines is that you decide how much time you have and then map out the exercises. If you need help with ideas, you can come to the Wellness Centre and ask me for help or you can use an app such as Sworkit, Nike Training Club or Fitbit. Circuits and HIIT routines are also great for maximizing your metabolic activity, helping to burn fat more efficiently long after your workout. You are in charge of the exercises and you can certainly work in some heavy weight lifting as part of the routine. If you are at home and have little to no fitness equipment, find things in your home you can safely workout with. I’ve done squats with cinderblocks and patio stones and shoulder exercises with grocery bags full of heavy items.

Don’t forget about healthy holiday eating too. Make a plan and stick to it. Eat as many vegetables as possible and choose only one to two indulgent foods that you eat in small amounts. If you overdo it one night, hit the gym harder the next day or anticipate this the day of and go really hard that day and allow yourself to rest and recover the next day.

Here is a great, take anywhere, circuit:

Perform each for 30-40 seconds each and repeat two to four times:

  • Jog/run on the spot
  • Squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Forward lunges
  • Rest
  • Scissor run
  • Push ups
  • Skater step
  • Side lunges
  • Rest
  • Side to side shuffle
  • Dips
  • Side to side hurdles
  • Suitcase crunch
  • Rest
  • Burpees
  • Plank
  • Football jog (fast feet) and touch
  • down
  • Plank with alternating leg extension.
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