We are officially in the battle zone. Training through the holidays means balancing our exercise routines with seasonal culinary temptations so we can maintain muscle and weight. Every year at this time, I find myself bracing – and planning for – all of the treats and goodies I will undoubtedly consume.
The most important holiday training tips to remember are balance and focus. We need to remind ourselves to think through our training, our goals, how far we’ve come, and where we want to be when January rolls around. There’s no sense in sacrificing the hard work we have already put in to a plate of holiday cookies or a Thanksgiving meal bender.
Holiday Training Tips
The focus during the next six weeks – where caloric intake will be higher – should be on exercise duration and aerobic intensity. Our objective is to burn fat as our primary fuel source and to strength train in order to maintain muscle mass.
Here are my tips to get you through the holiday season without gaining weight or losing muscle. Pick your favorite cardio activity. Run, bike, walk, hike, jump rope, whatever it is. Perform this activity for 40 minutes at a moderate pace. In other words, you’re pushing your heart rate up past a stroll in the park.
Plan to strength train in circuits. For the first two weeks, do 1 set of 15 repetitions of each of the following exercises. After two weeks, progress to two sets. And in the final weeks of the holiday season, plan on completing three sets of each exercise.
This way, you progressively increasing the energy output load as you also enjoy moderate consumption of holiday goodies without all the guilt. P.S. – Have an extra cookie for me!
Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press
Lying on your back on a bench or stability ball, with dumbbells perform benchpress movement with alternating arms.
Prone Alternating Dumbbell Row
Standing with knees bent and upper body parallel with the floor, perform a single-arm dumbbell row and alternate.
Medicine Ball Seated Twist
Begin in a seated position, legs raised off the floor. Rotate the ball from side to side.
Dumbbell Squat With Overhead Press
Standing with feet slightly wider than your hips, perform a three-quarter squat and then press the dumbbells overhead on the way up.
Featured athlete: Adrienne LeBlanc, current world champion triathlete, Olympic Distance, women ages 40-49.