3-2-1 Workout

During the holidays, we are all faced with a dangerous combo:

More yummy food + less time for exercise


We don’t have any apple pie anymore, but I made a batch of Averie’s Nutella and Peanut Butter Graham Bars with Chocolate Frosting for my brothers and they are dangerous.  Thankfully I didn’t veganize them or I’d have devoured them in 10 minutes.

Of course, there’s also the added stress, the cold that makes you want to curl up on the couch and never move, and the early sunset that makes you want to hibernate until Spring…while being hooked up to a pecan pie feeding tube.

But whether you’re eating via tube or fork, all of this adds up to the inevitable winter weight gain.  In fact, I’ve heard at least 5 people in the last week mention that they put on 5-10 pounds every winter – that’s17500- 35000 extra calories of food! No wonder weight loss and New Years Resolutions go hand-in-hand.

Staying healthy throughout the holidays is all about prevention.  It’s a lot easier to maintain your fitness throughout the season than it is to work off extra pounds later on. I find that I can enjoy some holiday treats (in moderation…although I’m not good at moderation) if I just ramp up my workout a bit to scorch the extra calories I’m taking in.

Here’s a sweat-drenched routine I’ve been doing lately.  It’s the exercise child of rainy days and gym withdrawals.  I’ll provide 2 versions – one short and one long – because I realize that we don’t always have time to spend more than an hour at the gym.

3-2-1 Workout

This is a great option for those who like the idea of being a runner but hate actually doing it or are intimidated by it.  You’ll end up running a total of 6 miles, but the most you’ll ever have to do at one time is 3.  If you’re not a runner, just walk and set the tread mill at the highest incline you can manage without having to hang onto the handlebars for dear life.

Long Version (about 1 3/4 hours)

1. Cardio machine of your choice (Stairs, elliptical, bike, etc.): 20 minutes – 5 minutes at warm up intensity, 10 minutes at a higher intensity, and 5 minutes hishest intensity.

[Optional: 10 pushups and 1 minute plank hold]

2. Treadmill: Run 3 miles at your own pace.

3. Cardio machine: 15 minutes at a recovery intensity.

[Optional: 10 pushups and 1 minute plank hold]

4. Treadmill: Run 2 miles at your own pace.  I try to make these two miles the fastest out of the whole workout.

5. Cardio machine: 10 minutes at a recovery intensity.

[Optional: 10 pushups and 1 minute plank hold]

6. Treadmill: Run 1 mile at you own pace.  This one can be the slowest for your cool-down, or your fastest if, like me, your eager to get off the treadmill.


Short Version (about 1 hour)

1. Cardio Machine: 15 minutes, using the first 5 to warm up

[Optional: 10 pushups, 30 second plank hold]

2. Treadmill: Run 2 miles

3. Cardio: 5 minutes recovery intensity

[Optional: 10 pushups, 30 second plank hold] 

4. Treadmill: Run 1 mile

5. Cardio: 5 minutes recovery intensity

[Optional: 10 pushups, 30 second plank hold]

6. Treadmill: Run .5 mile

Obviously, the variations on this workout are almost endless and can be tailored to your personal fitness or time restraints. The long version equates to 6 miles of running, while the short version is a 5k. The goal is to move from one step to another with minimal downtime, although I definitely take a good water break halfway through.  Also, “recovery intensity” does not mean “easy.” The point of the recovery is to keep your body working and your heart rate moderately high while recharging yourself for the next round of running. The pushups and planks are optional since the rest of the routine is pretty intense, but it’s best to get a mixture of cardio and resistance training each time you work out.  My favorite thing about this plan is that every thing is broken up into manageable chunks – in other words, it’s less intimidating and the constant change will keep you interested and focused.

[Always remember:  Pushing your body is good, but don’t go too far!  Consult your doctor if you have any injuries or health conditions.  Don’t be afraid to take it slow at first, and don’t be too hard on yourself!]

Happy eating and happy sweating, everyone!


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