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Holiday Fitness Tips From an Equinox Pro: Well-Balanced

You wouldn’t know it from how much we talk about cookies, but Birchbox staffers are a pretty healthy bunch. We love our veggies and mind-clearing workouts, and are always up to try the latest fitness class or nutrition bar. Which is why we have new regular column: Well-Balanced. Check back weekly for our latest wellness obsession.

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Between the holiday shopping, the holiday baking, and the holiday eating, it’s hard to find time for work, much less working out. To ensure that the merriest season doesn’t turn into the laziest season, we asked a fitness guru for advice. San Francisco-based Equinox fitness instructor Caroline Jordan shares her best healthy holiday tips after the jump.

What kind of workouts should we do during the holidays, when we’re likely to be indulging a little (lot)?

When you are tight on time, go for workouts that involve interval training. Research shows that interval training workouts, in which you alternate periods of high intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods, increase fitness and burns more calories over a short period of time than steady state cardio.

Favorite intervals?

You can incorporate intervals into any of your favorite workouts. Use sprints during cardio, add total body burpees to bootcamp, or try plyometric (jumping) exercises during strength training workouts. Look for high intensity group fitness workouts that involve short bursts of energy like like EQUINOX’s Chiseld or Cycling classes.  

When you’re short on time, should you minimize your whole routine  or just focus on one thing?

When your schedule is super tight, aim to combine your cardio and strength training into one intense and effective workout. Choose compound exercises (exercises that target more than one muscle group) without rest between sets, and you can squeeze in a workout in as little as ten minutes. Just remember: ANYTHING is better than nothing. Focus on quality over quantity and you’ll survive the season in great shape.

Favorite workouts for keeping stress-free?

When you are stressed, choose to do the workouts you ENJOY the most. The last thing you need when you are busy is feeling obligated to add another thing to your to-do list. Make working out something you look forward to by choosing activities that allow you to forget your worries and feel good. 

What’s the best workout to do when you’re traveling and don’t have access to your regular gym?

My favorite way to work out when traveling is to explore the city with a walk or run. It’s a great way to enjoy the place you’re visiting and will guarantee an extra calorie burn while sightseeing. If the weather limits outdoor workout opportunities during your stay, bring your gym in your suitcase. You can easily get a full body workout with resistance bands or simply utilize hotel room furniture as gym equipment. A chair can easily be used for triceps dips and a strong table is the perfect place for step-ups. A jump rope is also a light tool to pack and a great way to incorporate cardio. If your hotel has a lot of levels, take the stairs and make them into a serious stepping workout. Climbing up and down all the flights will get your heart rate up and your butt in great shape!

Any other tips on staying healthy through the holidays?

My number one suggestion for feeling healthy and balanced during the holidays is to put aside the notion that ‘you don’t have enough time.’ Honor your physical, mental, and spiritual needs and establish a sense of balance for yourself during this time of year. Schedule in exercise, nourish your body, and take time for relaxation so that you can feel your best all season. Embrace imperfection and take pressure off yourself by not trying to be everywhere at once. I believe doing this will allow you to stay healthy and truly appreciate the beauty of the holidays.

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