By Karen Kwan
Fitting in working out while working the party circuit is not mission impossible. Besides, exercising will help you decompress (which you may need with so much family time!). We chatted with Sarah McCarney, personal trainer and nutrition and wellness specialist at The Adelaide Club in Toronto, to get her advice on how to get you physically active in this hectic holiday season.
Plan out your workout routine. If you’re heading to the gym, plan out your exercises ahead of time so that you have it all laid out on a piece of paper, says McCarney. So you can truly focus and complete all your exercises without distractions or any dilly dallying.
Shorten your workout times. Sure, that seems obvious but there’s more to consider than simply slashing down the actual minutes you’re working up a sweat. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes and focus on strength training, says McCarney. Perform your strength exercises back to back with little rest in between (like circuit training) and this will keep your heart rate up, she says, “so you’ll benefit aerobically and anaerobically.”
Focus on compound exercises. Rather than leg extensions (for example, seated machine raises) that isolate your quadriceps, do squats instead, which will work multiple muscle groups (your quads, glutes, hamstrings and core). You’ll recruit more muscles groups and as a result burn more calories.
Work out at home. You’re pressed for time so cut out the commute to and from your gym and allocate that time you gain to exercising. And since many compound exercises (see above) don’t require equipment, this makes at-home workouts even more practical. You don’t need a lot of space, says McCarney, so there’s really no excuse. She suggests putting on some music and working through a series of reps including lunges, pushups, squats, burpees and planks.