‘Tis the season to be busy. Whether you’re juggling job responsibilities, helping homeschoolers, or cyber shopping, December’s dashing pace can be challenging to keep up with. And when you’re tight on time, your personal health habits tend to land last on the list of priorities.
Don’t let the holiday hustle interfere with your workout routine. Instead, have fun with your fitness by performing one speedy, total body-strength training exercise each day. Here are your 12 Days of Fitness:
On the first day of fitness my trainer gave to me: 60 seconds of burpees
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge back at your hips and lower your hands to the floor so they are stacked below your shoulders. Without dropping your hips, jump your feet back into a plank.
Now jump your feet forward so they land on the sides of your hands, and push through your heels to stand. That’s one rep.
On the second day: 100 jumping jacks
Briskly move your arms and legs, landing lightly on the balls of your feet with each repetition.
On the third day: 30 squats
With your body weight in your heels, hinge back at your hips to lower into a squat. Your shoulders should be back and gaze forward. Do not let your knees extend past your toes. Hold for five counts then push through your heels to stand. That’s one rep.
On the fourth day: 20 walking lunges
From a standing position, take a step forward then lower your body into a lunge with both knees forming a 90-degree angle. Keep proper form with your front knee aligned over your ankle and your back knee stacked under your hip.
Push through your front heel to stand and bring your feet together. Now step forward with your other foot. If you’re new to lunging, stand near a wall for support. For an added challenge, do not bring your feet together after each step.
On the fifth day: 25 push-ups
From a plank position, keep your hands under your shoulders and spine straight as you lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, then push up through your palms. Keep your neck relaxed and core muscles engaged.
On the sixth day: 30 mountain climbers
From a plank pose, push off the balls of your feet to quickly drive your knees up toward your chest. Continue alternating legs at this pace for 30 reps (15 per side).
On the seventh day: 20 ice skaters
With your body weight on your right foot, bring your left leg diagonally behind you. Explosively push off your right foot, jumping to the left and landing on the ball of your left foot. Swing your arms for momentum and stay low (think: a semi-squat) as you alternate from side to side.
On the eighth day: 20 single legs a-standing
Using a sturdy seat, sit at the edge with your legs and feet parallel and elevate your right foot slightly off the floor. Push through your left heel to stand. Avoid using your arms to lift your body as this exercise is intended to focus on lower body balance and strength.
With your right leg still elevated, slowly lower back down to the seat. Repeat 10 times then practice on the opposite leg. For beginners, use both feet to lower back to sitting.
On the ninth day: 60 seconds planking
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Step your feet back and keep your spine straight. Keep your core engaged.
On the 10th day: 50 glutes a-bridging
From a supine position, bend your knees with your feet planted firmly on the floor and hands out to your sides for support. Push through your heels to lift your hips. Squeeze your glutes at the top and hold for two counts. When lowering, keep a slight space between your hips and the floor for an added challenge.
On the 11th day: 20 triceps dipping
Begin by facing away from a sturdy bench or chair, standing roughly one step away. Bend down, placing your palms on the bench with your fingers facing forward. Keep your legs bent.
Tighten your abs as you lower your body until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Protect your elbows by keeping them parallel and tucked close to your body. Then press down into the bench to straighten your elbows and return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
On the 12th day: two minutes of crossover jacks
With your arms extended out at shoulder-height and legs wider than hip-width, simultaneously jump your feet together so your left foot crosses over your right and your arms come together to clap hands. Then hop your feet and arms out again.
This time, jump to bring your arms and legs together but cross your right foot over your left. Continue rapidly alternating the front foot for two minutes.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.