Maintaining Your Physique While Enjoying Your Favorite Treats
Ready or not, the holiday season is here. The temptations begin with Halloween candy, continue through Thanksgiving with turkey and pies, merry-making eggnog and potato latkes, and then New Year's toasts. But, it doesn't end there. Next come Super Bowl buffalo wings and Valentine's Day chocolates to contend with. Everyone's stomachs keep expanding with four months of non-stop holiday cooking and feasting.
Enter Helene Phillips, the mind, body and soul guru to the elite dance and fitness world. Helene suggests to people that will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen to try something new this year -- exercising while preparing their tasty meals and treats during the holidays.
"Most of us don't realize that within the kitchen lies our very own private gym," says Helene. "With our heavy pots stored below the kitchen counter and our dishes stored above, the workout becomes continuous simply by reaching for everything." So, instead of gaining that holiday jolly belly this year, the cooking connoisseurs should try maintaining their physiques while still being able to enjoy their favorite holiday treats. Below, Helene shares some of her fun and easy fitness tips that anyone can try in the kitchen...
Holiday Music to Get You in the Mood
First step is for the cook to put on some holiday or dance music in the background. This will help to get into the holiday spirit and the toes tapping to the beat. If the cooking stays enjoyable, then it'll be a fun experience overall.
Prepping the Food AND Your Body
Before prepping the food at hand, taking a few deep breaths will help to increase the supply of oxygen to the body. First, lift the hands and arms high into the air and fill the lungs with a deep inhale. On the exhale, lower the arms and put the hands on the kitchen counter. Looking down at the floor, make sure that the hands are shoulder width apart and that the body is perpendicular to the floor with the hands still on the counter. Everyone should feel a stretch down the backs of their legs. Staying in this position, take a few more deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth.
Squatting for Pots and Pans
When it's time to pull out the pots and pans under the kitchen counter, try squatting down next to the pot instead of bending over. This is an exercise that is great for strengthening the arms and quads.
Grab the pot with two hands and hold it close to the body. Before standing, fill the lungs with a deep inhale. On the exhale, pull in the abs and straighten the legs. The trick is to not use the hands to assist on the way up. Squatting down instead of bending over saves the back from strain, too. This is an exercise that can be done repeatedly while waiting for something to heat up.
Kitchen Counter Push Ups
The common kitchen move of stirring is excellent for the arms, but there's another exercise that can yield great results for biceps.
Place the hands on the kitchen counter and feet away from the counter so it looks like a "push-up." Keeping the body in one diagonal line from toes to the head, make sure to keep the chin down, head back, and pull the belly button in. The neck and shoulders should remain relaxed.
To begin the push up, bend the arms and try touching the chest to the counter. The only movement should be coming from the arms, with the elbows going straight back and close to the body. Do 10 reps, rest, and then do 10 more.
In the time it takes to prepare those amazing holiday meals, everyone can work their abs, legs, arms and derriere. Great music is also essential for the soul. But, the best part of all -- the cooks in the kitchen can now enjoy the meals they've slaved over guilt free!
Helene is a renowned dancer, choreographer and Emmy-nominated director, having worked with mega stars such as Madonna, Michael Jackson and John Travolta. As one of the original 'Solid Gold' dancers, Helene is a respected choreographer in the industry and has contributed to some of the world's most acclaimed productions.