To avoid weight gain during the holidays I recommend maintaining your healthy lifestyle of moderate exercise, mindful eating and ample rest. Eat clean Monday through Friday with tons of veggies and lean proteins and enjoy (with moderation) your weekends. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet, so don’t beat yourself up by over-exercising to avoid weight gain from overeating. Plan your meals and visualize what you will eat at your holiday gatherings to avoid overeating. Strength Training 2-3x per week can increase your skeletal muscle mass and that can help increase your metabolism and burn more fat at rest!
Here are 8 Exercises you can do to increase skeletal muscle!
Complete all these exercises and then repeat them all for a second set.
WIDE STANCE SQUATS
1. Start by standing up tall, with shoulders back, feet wider than shoulder width apart, and toes pointed forward
or slightly turned out depending on comfort.
2. With all your weight on your heels, inhale as you squat back by bending at the knee and sticking your butt back as sit back into a chair.
3. Exhale while you press through your heels to activate your gluts to stand. (Keep your head neutral and chest
up as much as you can depending on your range of motion ROM)!
*Use any prop you want to add weight to the exercise.
Use the assisted pull-up machine. The machine uses counterbalance weights, which means the higher the weight you set the machine, the easier the exercise becomes. Set the weight to 20 pounds less than your weight, complete three to five reps, and then adjust the weight accordingly. For instance, if you weigh 140 pounds, set the machine to 120 pounds.
1. Set the pin on the desired weight.
2. Stand on the side platforms, and hold onto the outer handles. Lift one knee, and place it on the padded knee
rest and hold onto the handles as you place your second knee onto the knee rest and be prepared to hold
yourself up (with the assistance of the counterweight). Keep your abs engaged, spine neutral and hips.
3. Exhale as you slowly (slowly count to 4) pull yourself up as far as possible, make sure to keep your abs
engaged and keep your hips stable.
4. Inhale as you slowly (count to 4) release down until your arms are straight.
*When getting off of the machine, be sure to pull yourself up. Keeping your arms engaged, slowly lift one knee and lower it to the side platform, then the other.
STRAIGHT LEG DEADLIFTS
1. Stand with shoulder width or narrower stance (my feet are narrow).
2. Inhale, slightly bend knees and hinge from the hips (keep back straight and lumbar neutral).
3. Exhale as you return to start position using gluts and hamstrings to hinge back upright
*Grasp barbell with shoulder width overhand or mixed grip, shoulder width or slightly wider. Lift weight to standing position.
The Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press is a good exercise to practice working on your core activation.
1. ½ kneel like a lunge with the back knee on the floor. Make sure to align the legs with each hip. Turn in on the
leg at the knee to the foot so back foot is behind the front heel.
2. Raise same arm overhead as leg forward.
3. Rotate at the torso and look up.
4. Hinge over keeping your torso stable and straight as you place the opposite hand carefully to the floor.
5. Use your core and hips to drive your body back to the upright position.
4-8 Repetition each side
*Try not to displace your hips back and watch your front knee from caving in. Also keep your torso stable and don’t round over to the side.
WALKING LUNGES WITH ROTATION
1. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Engage your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize your spine. Hold a
medicine ball in front of your mid-section.
2. Slowly lift the right foot off the floor and forward lunge. Keep the abdominals engaged to avoid any sideways
tilting or swaying in your upper body. Focus on lowering yourself downward toward the floor rather than
3. While in this lunge, lean forward slightly at your hips. Keep the abdominals braced to stabilize the spine.
Keep the medicine ball in front of your mid-section and rotate your torso over the front knee and then back to
4. As you bring yourself to an upright position and begin to center your weight over the right leg, draw your back
leg into hip flexion and hold the balance lunging with the opposite leg.
5. Continue the walking lunge with rotation alternating sides.
12-15 Repetitions each side
1. Start standing feet together.
2. Inhale as you step out to the right and shift your body weight over your right leg, squatting to a 90 degree
angle at the right knee. Try to sit down with your butt, keeping your back as upright as possible. Your left
leg will stretch to a straight leg position. And reach your ViPR or Dumbell in front of your right toe.
3. Exhale Push off your right leg as you bring bring your right leg back to center to complete one rep.
Do all the repetitions on one side and then switch to the other or alternate 12-15 reps each leg
*Keep your weight on your heel and make sure your knees don’t go forward of your toes. Also keep your hips, knee and ankle aligned like a one leg squat.
PULLOVER ALTERNATE LEG REACHING
1. Grasp the ViPR/Dumbell with both hands and hold it straight over your chest.
2. Inhale, while keeping your arms straight, lower the weight slowly in an arc behind your head until you feel a
stretch on the chest and under the arms (no further from the hairline) while reaching one leg out to full
3. Exhale when you return this move back to the start position.
4. Alternate your leg extension.
Repeat 8 leg extensions each side and pullovers with each extension.
1. Hold the band opposite handle in opposite hand slightly forward of your body.
2. Exhale as you raise your hands overhead in a Y or V shaped position (make sure to gently draw your scapula down
as you raise your arms over head.
3. Inhale as you slowly (count to 4) return your arms back down to start position.
8-12 Repetions as slow as you can do them.