Holiday Weight Loss, Part 4
Holiday Weight Loss
The holidays are busy, so you’re not the only one wondering “how can I fit more activity into my holiday schedule?!”
Relax, I’ve got your back! The best thing you can do this holiday season to lose weight or to avoid packing on extra holiday pounds is to train smarter (and a little harder) – but not necessarily for more time.
What do I mean by that?
Let’s talk about the best way to burn fat during the busy holiday season.
Part Four: Holiday Activities To Boost Fat Burning
To stave off holiday weight gain, you need two things in your workouts: strength training and sprinting.
Strength training with bodyweight, barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or any other weights helps to preserve muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more your metabolism will burn calories, even when you’re at rest. This leaves you with a lean, mean, fat-burning machine of a body. And that means you can enjoy more holiday treats!
Sprinting involves short, intense bursts of effort, which ignite your metabolism. Further, sprinting sets off a beneficial hormonal response that sets up your body for fat-burning instead of fat storage. And best of all, sprinting takes less time to deliver better results compared to traditional cardio.
How can you incorporate this information into your busy holiday schedule?
Schedule 3-4 training sessions into your week. Seriously. Grab your phone and plug in 3-4 thirty-minute blocks. I’ll wait.
…Ok, cool. Now that your training times are scheduled, stick to those times like an important appointment. Set alerts and reminders if you need to.
When you get to the gym, you’re going to want to:
- Warm up (2-5 minutes)
- Lift something heavy (10-15 minutes)
- Sprint (5-10 minutes)
- Go home and eat protein and veggies to recover.
That’s it. Simple. But let’s break it down further.
What’s a good warm up?
Dynamic stretching and movements that mimic what you’re about to do in your workout. Stretches like walkouts, deep lunge rotations, bird dogs, bodyweight squats and lunges, pushups, and pull-ups will all prepare your body for the work you’re about to do in your workout. Spend about five minutes warming up before hitting the weights.
What exercises are best?
Full-body, compound movements like squats, lunges, deadlifts, presses, pushes, and pulls are best. They activate the most muscles, burn the most calories, and build the most strength and power.
Work to get strong in the 5-8 rep range. Great rep schemes include 4-5 sets of 5, 4×6, and 3×8. Rest about 1 minute between sets to recover before tackling your next set, and move the weights with purposefully good form.
Your heavy lifting should take about ten minutes, including rest.
After training compound movements with heavier weights in lower rep ranges, deload the movements and work in a higher rep range (10-15).
Exercises like goblet squats, split squats, lunge variations, RDL’s, incline and decline dumbbell presses, shoulder presses, lat pulldowns, and rowing variations are great here.
Performing 3-4 sets of accessory exercises provides plenty of training volume.
Move quickly through these exercises, circuit-style, resting just long enough to transition between exercises. This will keep your heart rate elevated and help burn more calories.
A sample workout would look like this:
1) Dynamic warm up drills (5 minutes)
2) Barbell back squat 5×5 (10 minutes)
3a) Goblet squat 4×10-15
3b) Standing DB press 4×10-15
3c) DB Romanian deadlift 4×10-15
3d) Bentover DB row 4×10-15
4) Optional finisher (10 minutes)
Finish things off with… well, “finishers”
Finishers are sprints – high-intensity exercises that get your heart pumping and sweat pouring. My favorite finishers are tabata kettlebell swings, jumping rope, rower intervals, spin bike sprints, or pushing a sled. Spend up to ten minutes on your finisher – if you can go any longer, you’re not pushing yourself intensely enough.
All told, the workout outlined above will take 35-45 minutes, depending on how much you rest between sets (or how crowded the gym may be). You should be able to get in and out of there efficiently, leaving you more time to enjoy the holiday season.
Let’s wrap up this four-part series.
To avoid gaining weight over the holidays, track your food, prepare healthy meals ahead of time, plan for indulgences, enjoy treats in moderation, strength train 3-4 times per week, and ramp up your training intensity using sprints and finishers.
With this approach, you can avoid gaining any “holiday weight” while setting yourself up for a happy and healthy New Year.