If you are like most Americans, you have already fantasized about drizzling gravy over your entire Thanksgiving plate. Some people have dreams about shoving pecan or pumpkin pie into their faces. Turkey Day is often the starting point for holiday weight gain, which carries over into the New Year. It has turned into a holiday that is less about thanks and more about grabbing seconds and thirds.
Most people lounge about the house all day on Thanksgiving and then head for the Thanksgiving spread to stuff their faces. Failure to break a sweat (from exercising, not standing in front of the stove) on Thanksgiving means that you don’t burn off the excessive calories you consume. It’s easy to get the blood flowing without exerting too much energy.
Let’s Be Real For A Second
No single workout or sequence is going to torch those Turkey Day classics. A set of squats doesn’t burn off three slices of pie, nor does a quick workout sequence before the meal earn you some indulgences. Allow your Thanksgiving sweat session to be for your health, not to balance the food you eat. You’ll feel better, clearing your head and body of stress, which is all too common on Turkey Day.
After you prepare the turkey, you have to preheat the oven. While the oven warms up, engage in some tabata turkey squats. Tabata workouts alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes. Slide your forearms underneath the turkey pan and pick it up, holding it at chest level. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and start squatting for 20 seconds. Make sure to keep your back straight, squeeze your glutes, and drive through your heels when you push back up. Squat for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the process for four minutes. By that time, your oven should be ready for your turkey!
Grocery Bag Lunges
We’re almost positive that you have some extra grocery bags in the house. Fill them with some canned foods or items that give you about 10-15 pounds per bag. Head to a hallway or area in the house where you can take at least 8-10 lunges. Hold one bag in each hand by your side and begin your lunges. Make sure that your knee doesn’t come over your toe with each step, and keep your back straight when you lunge. Make sure you do 8-10 lunges per leg per set. Complete three sets.
Whipped Cream Intervals
Forget the electric hand mixer because you’re about to build some arm strength and break a sweat by making whipped cream by hand. Hold the mixing bowl in your left arm and a whisk in your right hand. Whip as hard as you can for 30 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Resume whipping and repeat this process until stiff peaks form. You can alternate between hands if you feel confident in your non-dominant hand’s whipping skills.
Commercial Time Jumping Jacks
Working out during commercials is one of the best ways to break a sweat without missing your show. If you’re like most people who watch football on Thanksgiving, break a sweat during the commercials by engaging in jumping jacks. Do 20 jumping jacks and then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat this process until your show or the game resumes. You can take it up a notch by doing 8-10 burpees during the commercials, or you can plank for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. That actually brings us to our next workout.
Potato Plank Mash
After you boil and strain the potatoes, you have to mash them. Why not go the extra mile and strengthen your core during the mashing process? Place the potatoes in a shallow dish and set it on the ground (make sure no pets are in the vicinity for this exercise). Get into a plank position with your elbows on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. Grab a masher in each hand and start mashing the potatoes in the dish while holding the plank. Try to limit the side to side movement by keeping your core engaged. Mash for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this process until potatoes are thoroughly mashed.
Turn the inevitable game of leftover Tetris in the fridge into an exercise. Fill several containers with leftovers and hold them firmly in your hands by your lower abdomen. Stand perpendicular to the fridge and twist up to bring the leftovers to the top shelf, engaging your obliques the whole time. Complete 10 reps per side and then place the containers in the fridge. Do this with each set of containers that you have to place in the fridge.