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Keeping Your Health and Fitness a Priority During the Holidays

November is upon us and December is right around the corner…yikes!
Where did the year go?!  Do you have a game plan to stay healthy and energized?

I completely understand that the added activities and stress during these two months (not to mention the additional sugar,alcohol,and highly-caloric / nutrient-deficient foods) can make it feel near impossible to stay healthy and fit.  When I was looking at our schedule, I almost feel like I only have 3 weeks left to the year that does not involve family and social activities.  However, I am here to encourage you to WRITE DOWN what you are going to do to stay ahead before January 2012 is upon us. 

This year’s transitions have reminded me that giving myself at least 30 minutes to get my heart rate up and move my body in other directions besides stand-up/sit-down and walk forward….actually GIVES me MORE ENERGY.  If you can not create 30 minutes to nurture yourself, schedule two 15 minute time slots to stay healthy and energized!

It doesn’t have to be complex. You can use your favorite exercise DVD to get moving; or simply alternate jumping rope with reverse lunges and push-ups. If you do not have a jump rope, use your invisible jump rope! If you are not ready, or strong enough, to do push-ups with straight legs then start at your kitchen counter, work your way down to a STABLE coffee table and then the floor.

PUSH-UP TIPS…remember that your neck is an extension of your spine…no bobbing chicken heads! Your body moves as one plank from your toes through your spine and out the crown of your head. Do not look straight in front of you, look at the floor. Squeeze/ contract your quads (front of your thighs) to help keep your knees straight. When you are strong enough to do them of the floor, I like to start clients with their legs together and feet against a wall. This is to teach your body how to lengthen through your spine and wake-up your stomach muscle that FLATTENS your tummy (transversus abdominis). It is easiest to press your heels into the wall and lengthen from your tail bone through your spine and out of the crown of your head. Think about stretching in opposite directions from your waist, as you slowly bend your elbows to 90 degrees and then push your body away. 

If you have access to a treadmill, but desire some variety add one the 3 Treadmill Makeovers I designed.

Upper Body Blast
Walk or jog at a 5 percent incline for five minutes.
Decrease to a walk at 2.5-3.5 mph, pick up weights and perform each exercise for one minute: tricep extension,bicep curl, shoulder press. Pause treadmill, hop off and do one minute of push-ups.
Repeat two more times.

Hips Slimdown
Jog at a 1 percent incline for six minutes.
Slow to 1.5-3 mph and run or walk backwards for one minute.
Rotate left and do a side shuffle for 1 minute.
Rotate forward to re-balance, then rotate left and side shuffle for one minute.
Repeat two more times, increasing incline by 1 percent with each round.

Heads or Tails Total Body Toner
Jog at 4.5-5 mph for 3 minutes.
Pause treadmill, hop off and flip a quarter.
Do 16 reps of each exercise from appropriate group:
Heads: Push-up, woodchop (holding one dumbbell), row.
Tails: Alternating reverse lunge with bicep curls, squat jumps, alternating side lunge.
Hop back on treadmill and repeat three more times.

If you have a Stair Case, try the workout I created for Women’s Health Magazine
If you are still feeling at a loss, add the DVD I designed. It will keep your lower back, neck, spine and shoulders loosened; up as well as, keep your legs and core strong and burn some extra calories. All in 30 minutes. This is great because you can do this even when you travel ! All you need is your body. 

Wishing you the best this week!!  Stay in touch and let me know how you are doing. Remember to WRITE or SCHEDULE your time. You are an important priority.   I will continue to post ideas that can keep us ALL active for the rest of this year.  Just imagine if you started your New Year a few pounds lighter?!