Each fall, we set the clocks back for daylight savings time. And, each fall I spend no less than one week adjusting to a new circadian rhythm and feeling a bit run down. When I’m feeling low energy and there are a dozen tasks on my plate, the first thing to go is my workouts. Who wants to go get their sweat on when it’s dark, chilly and they’re running on empty? If you’re like me and you find it a little difficult to stay motivated during the busy winter months, I’ve got just the thing you need.
Grace. That’s right. During the busy holiday months, give yourself the gift of a green light to enjoy the holidays, nights in with family, tree decorating—whatever it may be that makes this season joyous for you. Enjoy it without the pressure of hitting the gym a certain number of days per week.
Fast and effective workouts. For those days when you just really need to get your body moving, opt for a workout that torches calories fast so you can go on with your day with loads of endorphins (and increased energy) and save yourself an hour+ at the free weights.
Here are 3 plyometric exercises you can do at home (or outside if you happen to live in a warmer climate) that are guaranteed to get your blood pumping quickly. Unfamiliar with plyometrics? No worries. Plyometrics, commonly called plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time. The goal is to increase power (a.k.a stamina) so you can go on with your to-do list with the natural energy made by you! You want to do anything involving jumping or explosive movements like jumping rope, hopping, lunges or jump squats. These are 3 of my favorites:
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, jump your left leg forward and your right leg back into a lunge with both knees at 90 degrees. Jump up and switch your legs in midair so that you land in a lunge with your right leg in front. Continue jumping back and forth pausing as little as possible.
First I want to note that some trainers wouldn’t consider this a plyometric move, but a cardio move. I don’t care either way—just do them because they are super effective! Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at your hips and knees to lower yourself into a squatting position. Place your hands on the floor in front of you so you’re on all fours and kick your feet back so that you are in the plank position. Then, drop all the way down to the floor in a pushup. Bring your feet towards your hands in a frog-like leap and jump up explosively with your hands towards the sky.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible to avoid injury. Keeping your core tight will help!
My favorite part about these is that you can do them ANYWHERE: hotels, living rooms, your front yard with the Christmas lights shining down on you. It doesn’t matter and you really need no equipment aside from water and maybe a yoga mat if you need a cushion. Try to go through 4 rounds of this doing 10-12 reps of each exercise. Chances are you will be sweating afterwards and I just know you will feel increased energy and stamina throughout your busy day!