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Exercising while you’re traveling for the holidays

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 37 Weigh In:

Change this week:  +.5 lbs
Change overall:  -60.5 lbs

Week 38 Weigh In:

Change this week:  0
Change overall:  -60.5 lbs

Note:  I’m sorry I missed updating last week!  Our schedules here at work were a little wonky as we dealt with Election Day/Night. 

As you can see from my weigh-ins – no big changes here.  I’ve got mixed feelings on that – on the one hand, I’d love to be losing more weight more quickly; but, on the other hand, any time that I’m not gaining weight back is a victory!

Looking at my calendar right now is a little scary diet-wise.  I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving for 10+ people and then traveling to Baltimore for more celebrating with family.  Then there’s New Year’s Eve and a New Year’s Day wedding.  Not to mention other assorted holiday parties and festivities.

I don’t want to be too strict with myself while I’m celebrating, but I also don’t want to undo the progress I’ve made.  One thing I figure can offset some of the excessive eating is to make sure I’m exercising regularly – though exercising during the holidays has its own set of challenges.

Since I’ll be staying with friends and family during the holidays and won’t have access to a gym like I’m used to, I asked one of my personal trainers (Mark Fisher, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer) to give me some tips for exercising effectively without special equipment.

I guess I must have sounded a little panicked because Mark assured me that “there are tons of things one can do on the road to stay fit!

“The key is to learn how to work with your bodyweight for a full body workout.”

Here are some of the exercises he suggests:

(Disclaimer:  the information contained on or provided through this site is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider before commencing a diet or exercise program. Use of this site and any information contained on or provided through this site is at your own risk and is provided on an “as is” basis without any representations or warranties.)

  • For Lower Body

Squats:  do these with your arms crossed and parallel to the ground (genie squat) or your hands crossed behind your head (prisoner squat) or your hands up in the air

Lunges:  try alternating in one spot, walking or reverse versions

Extra tip:  Make these exercises plyometric to increase the intensity – simply use enough force when you push from the ground to actually jump in the air.  Just be careful to come down softly!

  • 2) For Upper Body

Push-ups:  There are many variations of the push-up you can try — Spread your hands wide or bring them in close.  To decrease difficulty, put your hand on a raised surface like a chair or bed.  To increase difficulty, raise your feet instead.

Extra tip:  Push-ups can also be made plyometric by pressing up with enough force that your hands leave the ground.  If you are very advanced, try handstand push-ups (link is to video) against the wall!

  • 3) For Abdominals

Crunches and sit-ups are a good start, but stability abdominal training is even better!  Try planks, push-up planks (link is to video), side planks or bridges.

  • 4) Cardio

Even without a treadmill or elliptical machine, you can still get your cardio in — try jumping jacks and jumping rope (which you can even do without the rope!).  If you’re more advanced you can also try squat thrusts and longer sessions of the plyometric leg exercises above.

Extra tip:  Tailor all these exercises to your fitness level by modifying the rest intervals you use between exercises.  A good rule of thumb for a moderate intensity level is that you should be able to say your entire address in one breath (but it should be a struggle).  Aim to put together a combination of exercises that keeps you going for 20-30 minutes (excluding warm-up, cool down and stretching) and you should be good to go!

I asked Mark to put together a sample circuit that would work for anybody.  He explained that because people can fall in such drastically different ranges of the ability and fitness scale, it’s impossible to dictate a specific plan that would work for all.  But he did give me a starting point of a basic circuit that can be adjusted at will:

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Squats (any variation)
  3. Jumping jacks
  4. Push-ups (any variation)
  5. Squats (any variation) with a small jump
  6. Lunges (any variation)
  7. Plank (any variation)
  8. Squat thrusts

Based on your personal level and fitness goals, you can adjust the number of reps and the amount of rest in between exercises.  Repeat the entire circuit 2-3 times to hit the target of 20-30 minutes of exercise.


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