Here’s the good news: Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, most people only gain about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Here’s the bad news: Most of us never lose it. Fortunately, preventing a one-pound weight gain doesn’t have to put a crimp in your celebrating-style. Here, , a New York City-based personal trainer to stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Minka Kelly, shares 12 simple ways to stay svelte through the most tempting season.
The easiest way to flatten your belly is to strengthen your transversus abdominis-the invisible abdominal muscles that lie beneath your more visible, "6-pack" abs and flatten your waistline when you suck in your gut. Work them while you clean: As you pull the vacuum toward your body, also pull your belly button in towards your spine. Hold it for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Repeat five times.
Between travel and dressing up in high heels, legs muscles are often tight around the holidays. Stretching daily will improve your flexibility as well as help you build strength. Target the back of your legs with this stretch: Lying on your back, extend your left leg and raise it until you feel a stretch. To protect your back and aid in keeping your hips from rolling, you can bend your right leg, keeping your right foot on the floor. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Switch legs.
Already a walker? Burn even more fat by starting your workout with some strength training. It will rev your metabolism and help firm up trouble spots. Try performing three sets of 25 squats before you hit the treadmill.
Aim for 200 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as running, biking or swimming, a week: That’s the amount of time it takes to produce the greatest amount of fat loss. Sound daunting? It’s not. That breaks down to just under 30 minutes daily.
Smelling peppermint can alter your perception of how hard you’re working, which makes sweat sessions seem less strenuous, slower-paced and easier to complete. Any minty smell should work, so consider chomping on a stick of winterfresh gum while you workout.
Researchers found that when exercisers listened to music they didn’t like, their blood vessels constricted 6 percent in just 30 minutes, reducing overall aerobic capacity by more than 10%. However, moving to the beat of enjoyable music expanded blood 26 percent, bringing in a 34 percent performance boost.
To take inches off your waist, work the muscles below your belt. People burn more calories the day after they do lower-body resistance training than the day after they tone their upper bodies, according to a Syracuse University study. The leg contains larger muscle groups, such as those in your glutes and thighs, which means your body has to use more energy to help those muscle repair and strengthen.
True or false: Room-temperature water is best for hydrating you during exercise. False! A British study found that athletes who drank chilled water trained 23 percent longer than those who downed lukewarm H2O. As an added bonus, the body will work harder to warm the water, thus burning more calories.