Baking season is upon us, but what to do during those agonizing minutes as you wait for your favorite homemade holiday treats in the oven? Instead of fastidiously scraping the bowl clean for every morsel of delicious dough (no judgement—we’ve all done it), get in a workout! The three workouts below are designed to fit the standard baking times of some of the most popular holiday desserts. Best of all, they are high intensity (which means a high caloric burn), require no equipment, and can be performed in a kitchen. So tear off the apron, slip on some sneakers, and let’s get to work!
The Cookie Workout
Gingerbread are in the oven! You’ve got 12 minutes to crank out two rounds of this miniature full-body circuit! Do each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next (feel free to shorten the rest period if you need more of a challenge).
1. Jumping jacks
This classic move will get your heart pumping because exercises that involve raising your hands over your head maximize total caloric burn.
Step forward so that the front leg is at a 90-degree angle with your back leg bent. Raise your arms above your head as you step forward, challenging your balance and core. Make sure your front knee does not go past your ankle! Return to standing, then switch legs.
Nothing will work off that cookie dough sugar buzz like a burpee. Hop with your hands above your head then immediately place your hands on the ground, jumping your feet back to a straight arm push-up position. Do one push-up, then hop back up to standing. Repeat. To modify, walk instead of jump your legs back, and do the push-up on your knees.
4. Roll ups
You might want a yoga mat or thick towel for this one because you’ll need to lie on your back with your legs out straight on the floor and your arms raised above your head (think of squeezing your head between your biceps). Using your abs, keeping your legs on the floor, slowly rise to a straight back seated position, then slowly lower back down. Keep those arms by your ears the entire time! For a less challenging move, reach your arms in front of you, zombie style.
5. High knees
As fast as you can, bring one knee up to hip level, then switch legs. Pump those arms like you are running in place. Try to stay light on your feet, instead of pounding each foot down. For motivation, pretend that the faster you go, the faster your cookies will be done.
6. Tricep push-ups
Start in a straight arm push-up position, but with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Keeping the core tight, slowly bend your elbows back toward your ribcage so they brush by your sides as you lower your body two inches from the ground.To modify, drop to your knees or lean against the counter.
The Cupcake Workout
You’ve got 24 cupcakes and 24 minutes to burn through three rounds of this cardio and strength circuit. Take a break if you need it. Otherwise, do each move non-stop.
1. Thrusters (two minutes)
Stand with legs hip-width apart, toes pointed forward. Lower into a seated position, keeping your weight in your heels, as if you were sitting in an invisible chair. Return to standing, squeezing your glutes, and raise your arms above your head. Repeat.
2. Sumo Squat Hops (one minute)
Take a wide stance, toes pointed out, knees bent in a 90-degree angle (like a sumo wrestler). Be sure those knees don’t go past your ankles! Jump up and land in the starting position. Repeat.
3. Push-Ups (30 seconds)
4. Plank Hold (30 seconds)
Do these either in a straight arm push-up position or resting on your forearms for a challenge. Keep those abs tight like you’re zipping up a tight pair of pants after a few too many cupcakes.
5. Lunges (two minutes)
6. Mountain Climbers (one minute)
Start in a straight arm push-up position. Bring one knee in toward your chest, quickly return to start. Alternate legs as fast as you can. Keep those abs tight as you “climb” up your cupcake mountain!
7. Side Plank (30 seconds each side)
Lie on your side, legs stacked, one forearm on the floor with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Your body should form a straight line. Raise your hips so only your forearm and feet make contact with the floor. Hold, and don’t forget to breathe.
The Brownie Burnout Workout
Those fudgy brownies take forever to bake, so get in as many rounds as you can of this intense calorie-torching circuit. It’s tough, but those brownies are worth the burn. Tip: take 30–60 second breaks between rounds to sip some water … or to check on those chocolatey squares of decadence!
1. 50 jumping jacks
2. 40 mountain climber
3. 30 lunges
4. 20 sumo squat hops
5. 10 roll-ups
6. 5 burpees
7. 1-minute forearm plank hold
Tanya Flink is a vegan, foodie, and certified Master Personal Trainer based in Orange County, CA.
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