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Fight the post-holiday blues with this workout

By Christie Melhorn, January 10 2016 —

Whether you leap into the new year boasting about your resolution list or nonchalantly deflect the new year’s fixation on “fixing” your life, the winter semester presents an opportunity to start fresh. For a lot of people, that means justifying a week of gorging on stuffing and shortbread cookies with bold fitness aspirations and pursuits. In honour of this, I decided to examine Shape magazine’s post-binge workout.

This particular workout is not painted as one of those “post-holiday” routines that grills you for enjoying all the buttery, sugary goods you devoured over the break. Instead, it utilizes a low-impact approach to build lean muscle and cardio at the same time. It’s the perfect thing to help you ease back into high-intensity workouts.

This one-hour long circuit is comprised of five full-body exercises with two-minute cardio bursts between each set. When performed correctly, this causes your heart rate to fluctuate, which intensifies the fat-burning process. Four out of the five exercises are performed with weights to challenge your muscles and burn even more calories. You can lower or increase the weight depending on your fitness needs.

Here’s Shape’s post-binge workout:

Dumbbell thruster:

Start with your feet hip-width apart, holding a 15-pound dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in. Bending your elbows, raise the dumbbells to your shoulders and sink into a squat by hinging at your hips. Remember to keep your abs tight and aim to keep your quads parallel to the floor. As you lift out of the squat, raise your arms overhead while keeping a slight bend in your elbows to prevent locking your joints. The squat and raise together equal one rep. Perform two to three sets of 15 reps. Follow with a two-minute cardio burst of your choice — skipping rope or a light jog could do the trick.

Alternating single-arm kettlebell swings:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Using an overhand grip, clutch the handle of a 22-pound kettlebell in your left or right hand. Hinging your hips and bending your knees, bring the bell between your legs. In an explosive burst, bring the hips forward and lift the kettlebell to shoulder height. While the kettlebell is suspended in this position, switch hands and bring the kettlebell back down between your legs in your initial lowered stance. Perform two to three sets of 20 reps. Follow with a two-minute cardio pump.

Rear foot elevated split squat with single-arm row:

Stand about one metre in front of a bench with a 15-pound dumbbell in your right hand. Rest the top your right foot — not your toes — on the bench and keep your left foot on the ground firmly planted. Aim to keep your left knee in alignment with your second toe as you slowly dip into a lunge. Allow your torso to tilt forward a little bit as you bring the dumbbell towards the ground. Don’t let the dumbbell touch the ground but instead keep it hovering. While returning to an upright position, complete a single-arm dumbbell row with your right arm. Keep your elbow close to your body and draw the weight up to your rib cage. Repeat this 12 times, then switch to your left side. Complete two to three sets on each side. Don’t forget your two minutes of cardio afterwards! 

Triangle pushup to side plank:

Start in a closed leg plank position with your hands under your chest. Create a triangle shape with your hands by connecting your thumbs and index fingers. Try to keep your elbows close to your body as you lower your chest to the ground. Engage your core and be aware of sinking or piking your hips. From here, push back up into your plank and bring your right arm up towards the ceiling. Bring your legs into a scissor position with the right being on top. Keep the outer side of your left foot and inner portion of your right foot touching the ground. Return to plank and repeat on your other side. Alternate 12 times. Complete two to three sets. Follow with two minutes of intense cardio.

Goblet squat with rotation:

With both hands, grasp a 15-pound medicine ball at chest level. Keep your feet slightly wider than hip distance and turn your toes out slightly. Hinge your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat while keeping your chest lifted. Raise back up into the starting position. At the top, twist your upper body left or right, whichever way you feel like. Repeat the lowering sequence and continue to alternate between which side you rotate to for 20 reps. Perform two to three sets, then pump out two minutes of powerful cardio. While two to three sets may not seem like a lot, this workout demands a lot of power and ensures that each set counts.

This full-body workout pinches and  pushes big and little muscles alike to give you an over-all feeling of accomplishment. While very few things can compare to heaps of buttery turkey and endless glittery cookies, this workout definitely offers a hearty endorphin pump reminiscent of the holiday glow.

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