Lean Mean Holiday Machine

^^ Watch the video here^^

Hey there turkey-loving people!

Say Yes to those fancy cocktails, say Yes to those hors d'oeuvres, say Yes to those pies, look forward to your favorite cookie and holiday drink. We are going to pick our favorites and have them all… in moderation of course. And above all we are going to move and get in those quick, short workouts that matter. But it starts with you wanting it and knowing you can have it all! Let’s get to it.

51,150,000 turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving day.

79% of Americans surveyed say eating Thanksgiving leftovers is more important than eating their regular Thanksgiving meal (cnn).

Let’s Go Big - Real Big and then come up with a Plan

Big picture stuff -- we are going to shift things around a bit and turn the knob up on the part of the brain that loves when we are powerful, focused, happy and determined. So before we get started, run up and down your stairs a few times, do a few sit ups, dance around the house naked, whatever it takes-- spin in circles, I need to get this party started with you looking in at a slightly different angle. Raise the shades, get out the telescope, we are going to be peepin toms on the Got This train. So fun, so quick , so cool. OK so did you shake it up? - I call it the shaky shaky dance, when you shift energy around, you can come up positive.

Top 5 Things to Crush the Holidays with a Rockin Body and Brain

1. Journal Up - write it down. Buy a little note book/journal, take out a piece of paper, a napkin, toilet paper, anything, and write 5 things that you are thankful for about yourself. Maybe you love the way you are always laughing, or that you are a great friend. Dig down deep and write 5 things. Yes - gratitude for You.

2. Clear your head. Take a walk and talk to the trees, meditate, watch my videos! Get your head in a positive relaxed space.  Continue with the dancing, walk the dog, the cat, have a glass of wine, just one, call a friend that makes you smile, take a bath… this is so important all the time, not just the holidays, but it is especially important to find time now.

3. Start a Movement. Yes call it whatever you want, move, workout, sports, dance, physical activity. Fit it in somewhere every day. And if you can’t get in your normal routine, don’t call it quits, just take 5 .That is right, just 5 minutes a day, and just move. Dance around, go for a walk, do some crunches, do some laundry, run up and down the stairs, squat while stuffing the turkey, yes even on Thanksgiving. Change it up, let me know 5 different things you will do to move for 5 minutes a day. Ps. It is also possible to double up on 2 and 3 --two mints in one. Our featured fitness expert this week is Andi Emenike. She is the regional manager at my club, Weston Fitness in Philadelphia. Here are her quick, Ab busting moves to get you back on track.

  1. Plank Knee to Elbow. Planks are great core stabilizer workouts that strengthen your abdominal, back, arms, and pelvic girdle. This movement makes this list because of the balance factor here. Try hard to avoid swaying the hips side to side staying true to plank form. 

Start in an upper plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and feet hip distance apart.

Keeping your torso as steady as possible and hips facing the ground, left your right knee to the outside of your right elbow. Then return your foot back to the starting position.

Repeat on left side.

Feeling like a pro? Advance to plank sliders. This workout always elivers strong results.

2. Leg lifts. In many studies, leg lifts have proven to be one of the most effective workouts in terms of muscle recruitment. You will see many variations from different positions including hanging, supin, and inclines, but the most effective variation comes from the good ole' captains chair.

Mount the captain's chair with your back against the support board. Place your forearms on the pad and grip the handles.

Lift your knees into your chest rolling your hips under crunching them into your belly. Be sure your back stays firm against the support board and relax those shoulders. (too many times I see tense shoulders in this movement, press them down into the floor for a strong postural stance).

Return your legs back to starting position.

Feeling like a pro? Go for the hanging variations.

3. Russian Twists. You are going to need weight for this one. It is particularly awesome because it is a rotary movement that targets the entire abdominal region.

Sit on the floor in sit up position with your heels on the ground. Lean back at about a 45 degree angle or lower. Hold the weight with two hands just below your chest. 

Twist your torso and weight to the right and to the left traveling around the tummy with your weight.

Feeling like a pro? Take on a boat pose my lifting your feet off the ground and add resistance.

4. Eat for Joy, Love and Energy. Eat what you want, but really think about what you are eating and in the long and short term does it make all of you happy? From head to toe, pay attention to your body and how what you are eating makes you feel. Spin it in a positive way. I really love food, and I really look forward to it but I plan it out most times and I tell myself, I am going to feed my soul! Our Nutrition Expert, Emily Benton from Simplex Health in Philadelphia has her own tips for making your Thanksgiving a little healthier.

1. Re-Focus your plate. 1/2 of your plate should be veggies, greens, fruits, etc (so green beans, brussel sprouts, salads, etc). 1/4 of your plate should be protein (turkey, etc). 1/8 of your plate should be starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, stuffing, etc.), and then the final section can be WHATEVER YOU WANT. Start by eating your veggies first, then protein, then starches... by the time you get to the 'unhealthy' stuff, you may already be full.

2. Make it Yourself. Try to avoid buying things pre-made or prepackaged. If you make it yourself, you KNOW the ingredients that are going into your food and can make some simple swaps along the way!  

3. If you do happen to overindulge.. IT’S OK! One day is not going to do any harm.  It's the 'waiting until Monday’ that will catch up to you. Wake up Black Friday... drink a big glass of water and get back into your routine... Have a healthy breakfast, get a workout in and you are good to go.

5.  Find a Friend - Be Accountable. Yes it is always better to share the experience and have someone to push you on - cheer you on during the weaker moments. Someone that you are accountable to and you have their back. Trust me, there are tons of people that could use a friendly coach during the holidays, and even if you have different goals, it doesn’t matter, you are guiding each other on their Holiday Buster.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone - spread some joy and laughter with friends, family and strangers. Hug tight the relatives that drive you crazy and eat something that is yucky just to make the cook happy. From the bottom of my heart I am truly grateful for this journey with you and my blessings to you are many. I can’t wait to hear all your funny family stores - maybe we could post them and have the names remain anonymous. Yes that is a great idea - send me your real deal wacky Turkey Day story. Remember … there is always someone in the bunch and everybody has a story.

-SJW