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Fitness in the Bank: Pre-Holiday Sculpt & Tone

With the holidays around the corner, workouts often get shortened or forgotten and temptations eventually get the best of us. If you've worked hard to get fit this year, then the thought of undoing it might send you into a bit of a panic. Fear not! We have a plan for you. It's called "Fitness in the Bank." Celebrity trainer, Valerie Waters, used the technique on clients she trained before sending them off for a movie shoot or into their TV season when the 17 hour days and foods from Craft Services let the pounds start to creep back on. The idea behind Fitness in the Bank is to do a little extra right now, before things get too hectic, so you can "bank up some fitness" and "save up some skinny", entering the holidays a little lighter and extra fit. Here's how to do it: 1. Go Harder This can be achieved a variety of ways. You can lift heavier weights, perform exercises that use lots of major muscle groups to burn more calories, or do big circuits, using a timer and complete as many reps as possible in a 20-30 second work interval. The point is, you have to push yourself. 2. Go Faster If you want to scorch some calories and bank some fitness, intervals are where it's at. Simply defined, intervals involve bursts of high intensity training with periods of low intensity recovery. For example: after your warm up, run 1 minute, walk 1 minute. Repeat 10x, then cool down. If you're new to this kind of training, you'll want to start with what is called "Build Ups". Head to a grassy field or track. You want a soft surface. You'll need 30-40 yards. Start off in a jog and gradually increase your speed until you're at about 90% of your max at the end. Gently ease up and walk back to the start. Start with about 6 of these and work your way up to 10-12. 3. Go Longer. Add an extra 10-15 minutes to your workouts. As a general rule, 50 minute workouts are the "sweet spot", but if you're looking to bust through a plateau, adding some extra cardio (running, cycling, or rowing intervals)at the end of your strength training workout, is a great way to burn some extra fat (and calories). AFTER strength training is KEY to maximize your fat-burning time. 4. Go more often. A special technique called "active recovery" will keep you feeling good and add some extra calories burned to your week. Active recovery focuses on light exercise on your "off-days". Try a hike on Saturday or yoga on Sunday. Walking at the park for 20-30 minutes each evening. A few weeks of this will bank you quite a lot of extra calories. 5. Go naked. Nope, not literally. Although it might motivate you to get your sweat on. But I'm talking, eat mostly organic, locally produced food, prepared simply without a lot of sauce, cheese or cream. Skip the Starbucks Frappachino in favor of black coffee or espresso.Go for grilled chicken with tomato sauce instead of chicken parmesan. Make vegetable broth-based soup in lieu of cream based soups.Try berries or a piece of dark chocolate instead of cake or ice cream. If you follow any- or several- of these tips, it won't take long before this becomes your preferred way of training and eating.

The best part?

Even if you slip up during the holidays, you can still feel good knowing you "banked" some skinny and strong ahead of time.

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