The five simple exercises you must do before Christmas
With Christmas less than six weeks away, shopping isn’t the only thing you should get an early start on. Since Christmas celebrations tend to spill over to New Year’s Eve, we’re looking at a week filled with rum cakes, wine and some gorgeous food.
Feasting with friends and family is a big part of the celebrations. But it could cost you a lot in terms of fitness unless you start with a focussed workout.
Thankfully, it’s not too late to follow our specially designed workout plan that’s not only very easy to follow but also tackles problem areas and includes metabolism-boosting activities that’ll make sure your one week of indulgence doesn’t result in your favourite pair of jeans turning tight.
Fat is mostly focussed around mid-body, legs and shoulders. We’ve selected routines that focus on toning these problem areas and steadily build up your endurance so that your body is prepared to process and use all the carbs you throw its way.
The great news is that these are all bodyweight exercises so you don’t need to invest in fitness equipment. On top of that, it’ll fit easily in the hectic weeks before the holidays. After a few rough runs, you can get this routine done in less than 30 minutes.
EXERCISE 1: THE BUTTERFLY CRUNCH
A butterfly crunch requires a mat and some determination. Lie down on the mat, with your toes facing each other and your knees turned out. Place your palms behind your neck and slowly raise your upper body towards your legs. Go as close to your legs as you can with your back absolutely straight and once you’ve reached that point, lie back and repeat.
The butterfly crunch is the easiest and one of the most effective exercises for toning abs. Get at least 15 reps done daily.
EXERCISE 2: SQUATS WITH A TWIST
You know these. Everyone does. Because nothing trims down thigh and butt fat faster and better than squats. Working on your quads, squats are one of the safest lower body exercises out there and cause no injury to your lower back or your ankles. But to take it to the next level, we suggest you do squats with a resistance band.
Place the resistance band below your feet, with the handles in both your palms and pull it upwards as your rise from the squat. This will get in good work on the arms while burning more calories.
Try 10 squats with resistance bands to follow the butterfly crunches. As you settle into the routine, keep increasing the reps one by one.
EXERCISE 3: SEATED DIP
You can do this with or without a resistance band, depending on how much the first two exercises exhausted you.
A seated dip requires a chair. Sit on a chair with your palms gripping the seat of the chair on both sides and your legs extended straight outwards.
Join your feet together and slowly raise yourself from the chair without removing your palms from the seat. Bring your butt in front of the chair and your back straight against it. Then lower yourself without shifting the legs or removing your palms from the chair.
It’s a push-up but against a chair and it only stresses out your arms and shoulders. Engaging nearly every muscle, it’s a great way to keep your shoulders and arms toned through the festive season. We suggest working up from 5 reps to 10 as you get more comfortable with the exercise. Add in a resistance band, as seen in image, to get more out of this rep.
EXERCISE 4: KICK AND CURL
This one’s a favourite. It’ll get your arms, lower body and back toned all together.
Rest on all fours as you would for a push-up. Rest your elbows on the mat and raise yourself slightly, keeping your spine and legs straight. Don’t keep your feet legs too far apart.
Now, as you’re resting on your elbows, curl your left leg inwards by bringing the knee towards your belly. Then fling the left leg upwards and outwards like you would if you were kicking something in the air. Return back to the curl and repeat with right leg. Get 8 reps on each leg.
EXERCISE 5: RUNNER’S KNEE WITH A TWIST
At this point your arms probably cannot support your body anymore and you’re tired from the workout so we close with a simple exercise that’s also a classic.
Stand straight with your elbows on the sides and feet close together. Then, while staying on the spot start jogging and bring your knees to your waist. Get at least each knee up 20 times before calling it quits.
That simple and easy routine is runner’s knees. To make it interesting, hit each knee as it comes up with your corresponding hand. As the right knee is coming up, make sure right palm touches it and the left palm should touch the left knee as it rises and before it falls down. It’ll help you keep count and engage your arms.
We suggest doing at least 10 reps of each exercise daily to ensure you’re burning calories. Fat burns faster if all muscles are engaged rather than just one. If you have a specific problem area, like legs or belly, increase the reps for that exercise.
And then feel free to eat big and keep the wine flowing with friends and family on Christmas and New Year’s Eve!