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Avoid holiday weight gain with this kitchen workout

This no-frills workout done while you're cooking dinner will help you squeeze in fitness this season.
Image: Preparing meal
You'll likely find yourself spending more time in the kitchen this season — luckily squats, leg lifts and calf raises can all be done while standing at the stove.PeopleImages / Getty Images

The holidays are swiftly approaching. And after digging into your kid's Halloween stash and treating yourself to a pumpkin spice latte your taste buds are primed for a season of fun.

Are you hoping to come out the other side of the holiday season without some extra baggage? While we've all heard the scary claims that the the average weight gain this season is upwards of 10 pounds, studies show that it’s more like one pound if you’re not already overweight (and closer to five if you’re already overweight). But what’s more disheartening is how long it takes to lose it: one study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that it can take more than five months, which means we are still haunted by our holiday choices come bathing suit season — if you lose it at all (which unfortunately, many of us don't.)

We get it: between holiday parties, cookie trays in the office and less-than-healthy favorites making a frequent appearance on the menu, it feels like we’re set up for failure. What’s more, in addition to all of the tempting treats we have to navigate over the next few months, our schedule becomes increasingly packed with errands, social obligations and end-of-year deadlines at work, meaning fitness is often pushed to the back burner.

Luckily, there are some ways to squeeze in a workout (and burn off some of those extra calories) that don’t require carving a ton of extra time out of your busy schedule. Case in point: this kitchen workout.

Made up of exercises that will help build muscle and burn fat (all while cooking up your favorite holiday dishes), this full-body workout will help get you through the holidays the same weight you entered it.

Gliding Side Lunge

Equipment: a paper plate

How-to: Put your right foot onto a paper plate on a hard surfaced floor. Glide the right foot out to the right, bending the knee and keeping the left leg straight. Press down through the right heel to pull the leg back to center, working the inner thigh. As you glide out, you’re working the right outer hip, glute and thigh. As you glide in, you’re engaging your core and your inner thighs for a full-lower body workout move! Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Ab Attack

Equipment: 2 paper plates

How-to: Drop into a plank position with each foot on top of a paper plate. Pull the abs in and bring the right foot diagonally across your body so that your right knee is coming up towards your left shoulder. Return to the starting position, and bring the left knee and foot across the body diagonally. Repeat 10 times per leg.

Spooning Push Up

Equipment: a spoon

How-to: Come down into a plank position with a spoon in front of you. Pick up the spoon with the right hand so that you’re in a one-arm plank. Hold for three seconds, then put the spoon down and do a mini push-up. Next, pick up the spoon with the left hand and hold for three seconds. Put the spoon down and do a mini-push up. Repeat 5 times on each side.

Cross Body Milk Balance

Equipment: a half-gallon of milk

How-to: Stand up and grab your milk jug. Go back into the side lunge (this time without the paper plate underneath your foot!) and reach the milk down to the right. Come back through center, bring the right knee up, and lift the milk up overhead. Repeat 10 times to the right, and then switch sides.

Calf Raises

Equipment: none

How-to: While stirring your gravy or sauce, get ready to work the lower legs and your balance. Standing upright, simply come up onto your tip toes and then lower down. Even doing this 20 times for 3 repetitions will help sculpt the lower legs and build joint stability around the ankles!

Oven Squats

Equipment: none

How-to: When you’re taking things in and out of the oven, turn this into an obstacle course for yourself. Once the timer goes off, do 10 squats before taking the dish out of the oven. Similarly, before you put a pan into the oven, make a deal with yourself to do 10 squats first. On average, if you do 100 squats in about 5 minutes you’ll burn almost 50 calories!

Microwave Side Raises

Equipment: none

How-to: While waiting for corn or vegetables to heat up in the microwave, stand up tall and lift one leg out to the side and do some leg raises. This will work your gluteus medius, an important part of your core and a stabilizer for your legs that’s often neglected. You’ll also help to firm your booty on the side of the hip to get a nice, well-rounded glute. Do this 10 times on one side, and then repeat on the other side.

Ta-da! In the same amount of time it takes to cook up dinner for your family, you've also checked a workout off your to-do list!


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