Everything is done at a faster pace and bigger fashion at the holidays. You eat more, drink more, spend more money and sleep less. You feel time crunched; you do your last minute shopping; and as fast as you create the holidays, they disappear.
Many of us let the holidays leave us exasperated, exhausted and a few pounds heavier. Well, you aren’t alone. Most Americans gain about a pound between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that pound doesn’t come off — and this adds up over the years. Yugh! Believe me, I enjoyed a few extra gingerbread cookies (my favorite) and eggnog lattes. So today, I ditched the cookies for cardio! Yes — don’t spend the next week talking about how you need to get moving. In the words of Nike, JUST DO IT! My sister and I just had this discussion: She told me on Christmas Day, “I’ll just start a routine after the New Year.” And I replied, “What’s wrong with this week?” Why waste the next few days sitting around when you can get moving today!
To get a jumpstart, try my interval workout below. One of the best and most effective ways to shake it up and burn mega calories is to try interval training, which is a type of cardiovascular workout that offers numerous advantages over steady-state training. Doing intervals will help strengthen your heart, strengthen your lungs, increase your endurance, and help burn calories at a faster rate.
You can create interval workouts with almost any mode of cardiovascular activity, indoor or outdoor. (Today I used a treadmill since it’s fairly icy and cold outside in Minneapolis.) You just create a pattern of working at a moderate pace (like a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1-10), then pushing your exertion level up to a high intensity (like a 9 on a scale of 1-10). You can use any ratio of time, but I’m going to give you an example of a 3 to 1 workout — meaning you stay at a moderate pace for about three minutes and then go all-out for about one minute. You can repeat the interval as many times as you wish or have time for; to create a 30 minute workout, see below. End with active recovery, which means keep your feet moving but slow it down to take some deep breaths. Stretching at the end is ALWAYS a good idea.
Here is a simple interval workout you can do today:
Spend the first 5-7 minutes on your treadmill at the pace that you are used to. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being standing still, 10 being an all-out sprint) you’ll likely be working at about a 6 as your “perceived exertion.” Now add either speed or incline and for one minute work very hard — this will be a 9 on the previous scale. Remember it is only for a minute. Then take the treadmill back down and spend three minutes at your original pace. After about 5-6 intervals, cool down and do active recovery for about 3 minutes. You are done!
SO start your calorie blasting intervals today and feel good on New Year’s Day!