Giving Thanks to Your Body with a Post-Holiday Workout

The diet damage may be already done. The sweet potato and green bean casseroles were too yummy to pass. Your promise to drink just two glasses of wine turned into a wine testing. You were thankful for all the food and beverages, but now not so much.
Your stomach feels like a balloon and the guilt of emptying overflowing plates and going back to seconds —easily and extra 1,200 calories— has settled in.

But do not think you have to fast to undo your feast. Instead, have a good sweat!

Chances are you may not feel like working out, but right now your body is in damage control, and physical activity will deliver nutrients and oxygen to your brain and muscles, which will expedite the caloric burnout. The good news: you don’t need to change your normal routine to overcome your indulges. In fact, doing too much and/or too hard may add more stress to your body.

Ready? Go!
When the goal is to maximize the caloric burnout, you need a routine that combines both aerobic and anaerobic training at the same time. When done together, this combo —selecting exercises that work big muscles, done in a circuit fashion, higher reps, lower weight— has shown to increase the caloric expenditure during and after the workout.

But don’t expect to burn all your extra splurge calories in one workout. Keep in mind you also may be experiencing some dehydration or headache, which compromises your neuromuscular response —muscle response, stability, agility and cardiovascular capacity. So make sure your equipment is familiar and easy to use. The following post-Thanksgiving “Calorie Blast Circuit” is done with simple dumbbells and barbells.

Exercise Guidelines
- Perform a general 5-minute warm-up like dynamic stretching —walking lunges, side lunges with trunk rotation, knee to chest walking, etc.

- Perform this workout as a circuit —one exercise after another— for 15-20 reps; repeat once more if desired. The weight should be lighter than you use for 10-12 reps. Note: here you want to work on muscle endurance —mixing the cardio and resistance training benefits in one session.

- In all exercises keep your back straight, chest up and core tight.

- Do a 5-minute static stretching and foam rolling at the end.

Caloric Blaster Circuit
Barbell Narrow Squat: Keep the legs slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart to engage more the quadriceps. Go to a 90-degree angle or until the point where you can keep the back straight and not bend at the waist.

Cardio: Jogging, marching in place, biking, or elliptical (your choice) for 2 minutes at moderate intensity:

Mountain Climber: Maintain a straight torso and do not swing your hips. The effort should come from your abdominals. Keep a good flow alternating the legs back and forth as you stay in place.

Lunge to Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press: Perform a standard lunge, but as you lower your body to sit in your hips do a bicep curl with both arms. The raise both arms overhead as you raise your bent leg back up to complete one rep.  Perform 10 on each side.

Cardio: Repeat the same.

Squat Jumps: Land softly and bounce back as soon as you hit the ground. You want to take advantage of the rapid eccentric motion to spring back forcefully.

Stiff-Dead Lift to Back Row: Keep the bar close to your body, push your buttocks out. While you lower the bar, lift up the body by using the hamstrings and the glutes, not your waist. When you are at a 45-degree angle, perform a back row and straighten up your body. This is one rep.

Cardio: Repeat the same.

Barbell Push-Press: Slightly bend your knees as if you were going to perform a squat. Use your legs to raise up the bar in one powerful move.

Dumbbell Side Leg Raise: Keep your arm holding the dumbbell straight. Lift the opposite leg, and your arm and try to touch your leg. You should feel this in your side abdominals, not in the neck or lower back. Perform 10 reps on each side.