No one is going to blame you if you didn't work out this December. Christmas, after all, is about reuniting with family and friends, having your fair share of food, and, of course, the occasional boozing.
Now that it’s done, it’s time to get your sweat on in order to get your body back to the shape it was in before the holidays. But if you’re thinking you can just head to the gym and go beast mode, going that route might lead to a lot of pain.
If you’ve taken time off from exercise, specifically from three weeks beyond, your body would’ve lost a bit of muscle mass and if your diet was of the binge variety (like what happens during Christmas), you’ve probably gained some body fat, too. Aside from these, your body needs to get used to the grind of regular workouts before you can increase intensity and get back to your beast mode self.
But the beauty of the human body is that it can adapt to whatever stimulus you put it through. The important thing is that you go about exercise progressively. You need to break-in your body so that it’s ready to take on high intensity movements. This is where bodyweight exercises can help.
Bodyweight exercises are challenging but are not as hard on your joints as weighted resistance moves. Also, bodyweight workouts build both muscular strength and endurance which, over time, can help get your body ready for tougher workout sessions. Start your post-holiday workouts with these 4 bodyweight moves to get you moving and your metabolism revving.
Why it’s good: The bear crawl is a total body move that has plenty of benefits. “You activate your core and fire up both sides of your brain with this simple but highly efficient exercise,” explains Paulo Sotelo, F.M.S.C., the senior coach at 360 Fitness Plus in Alabang. Activating both sides of the brain improves overall muscular coordination. This helps your body move efficiently once you do more complex exercises. Another upside: this move hits your core, arms, and your legs—torching more calories as you crawl forward. It looks easy, but once you do it, you’ll be surprised how much it will make you work. You can either do it for distance or by counting the number of strides you make on each side.
Here’s how you properly do a bear crawl:
Bodyweight Split Squat
Why it’s good: “We walk and run with one leg hitting the ground at a time and when it comes to developing unilateral leg strength, this move is good to do because it carries over to our daily movements,” explains Sotelo. Another upside: you’re hitting the biggest muscle group in the body—the legs. Because you’re tapping more muscles with each rep, you’re also boosting your metabolism further. Do the same number of reps on each side.
Here’s a step by step video on how to do a bodyweight split squat:
Why it’s good: There’s a reason the push-up is a staple in bodyweight workouts. According to Sotelo, it’s essentially a moving plank—you’re keeping your core stable with each rep. While you’re working on core stability, you’re also building strength in your upper body as you lower and raise your entire body. If you can’t do a full push-up, Sotelo says you can do it from an incline position where your hands are on a box, bench, or desk.
Perfect your push-up form by watching this video:
Why it’s good: Most workouts neglect the back muscles and that causes poor posture. Sotelo says the inverted row helps create a balance from all the push movements we do and at the same time targets often neglected upper back muscles. Since you’re getting your muscles reignited post holidays, you’re also going to help yourself stand taller.
Do the inverted row correctly by watching this video:
Make all moves into a workout.
Do each move for 8 reps or pairs for 3 to 5 sets, resting between 30 to 60 seconds after each set. Finish all sets of each move before moving on to the next exercise.