5 Best Holiday Workouts: It’s Crunch Time


Despite all of the good intentions to workout during the holiday season and to not overindulge and expand out waistlines, it always seems to happen somehow! Between holiday parties with co-workers, family, friends, and then the actual holiday celebrations themselves so close together, it seems like there is no time for working out… but there is!

Just because you may not be crushing your normal routine at the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout, often you actually get a better workout by switching routines and working different muscle groups. And, you don’t need a gym for a workout (gasp!) you can get a great cardio and muscle workout right in your own home, and you just need to be able to find 20 minutes in your day.

Most people tend to focus on a minimum of a solid 20 minutes of cardio with their workouts to get their blood pumping and see the benefits with their heart and also with their waistline, and then people tend to lift weights or do resistance training for another 30 minutes (or more.) What you can do at home is a mixture of both in half of the time: think circuit training!

All you have to do is strengthening and toning exercises back to back without stopping to also get a cardio effect, just remember to keep a pace so that you are out of breath, but not light headed or feeling faint, just like a hard workout (and keep reminding yourself that you are only doing this for 20 minutes!) Do each one of these exercises for 1 minute (at first, as you become more comfortable you should increase to two minutes each exercise) and alternate between all of them until you hit 20 minutes, and then you are done! If you are able to push yourself more and go longer, go for it.

If you don’t have weights, you can always make your own by filling an empty plastic bottle from your recycle bin with water and if completely full, it is too heavy for you, just pour some out until the weight is appropriate for you. It’s actually a better workout the less stable your weights are, so if there is sloshing around of the water inside your homemade “weights” your muscles will work harder to stabilize them! Here are a few other best holiday workouts to try:

Straight Back Crunches

This exercise helps to focus completely on your core abdominal and back muscles both to strengthen and tone. You want to make sure that your hands are interlaced behind your head, that you are not putting any pressure or pulling on your head or neck, and keep your knees bent and back flat on the floor as your starting position.

You then want to crunch yourself up, using your core muscles to as close to a 45-degree angle as you can get, and release back to the starting position. The key is to move in controlled movements to help to tone and strengthen your muscles, and taking slow controlled breaths will help you to keep a good pace and stay controlled. If you have an exercise ball, you can also perform your straight back crunches on that.