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Fitness Friday: The best workout to squeeze in during the busy holiday season

By Mari Cockerell, mcockerell@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:17:36 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 22 2013 01:57:46 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Thanksgiving is less than a week out, and that means the busy holiday season is likely already underway for folks as they juggle home, family, kids, and everything that has to get done in the next month. All of that makes finding time to exercise even harder, so we wanted to know; when you have just 30 or 45 minutes for a work out, what should you do? Cardio? Weights? Just run? Hendrick Health Club Fitness Expert Regan Clement gave us her answer: a circuit workout.

Here's the circuit  Regan recommends (it's also the workout she says she does herself, 3 times a week).

Take a couple of minutes to stretch major muscle groups.

Do each of the following exercises at a comfortably quick pace for one minute, then rest for 20 seconds before moving to the next exercise for a minute.

PULL something - Regan shows us an example of this by holding on to some hanging rings. Standing still she leans back, keeping her body straight and her body weight rolled back on to the heels of her feet. With her arms extended straight out in front of her, Regan pulls her body up so that her arms are now bent and the rings are at chest level.

PUSH something  - Here Regan does the classic push up, on her toes. You can go to your knees if you're not quite ready for the toes. Remember to keep your bottom down with your body flat.

PRESS something - This can be something as simple as an overhead press. Regan uses a kettlebell as she shows us the exercise, but you can use a traditional dumb bell.

SWING something - Again, Regan uses a kettlebell for this exercise as she gets into a squat position, keeping her back straight and bottom out. Regan holds on to the kettlebell, letting the weight hang between her legs. She then swings the weight up to chest level, keeping her arms straight, and switching the weight over to her other arm when she swings back down.

SQUAT - This is your typical, wide-stance squat. Remember again to keep your back straight and bottom out. You can squat without a weight, or hold on to a kettlebell or dumb bell to add extra resistance.

PLANK - If you haven't planked before, you'll want to get on the ground, looking face-down, holding your weight on your toes and arms. You'll want to bend your arms at the elbow, and position your forearms about shoulder-width apart, flat on the ground so they and your hands, along with your toes, are the only part of your body touching the ground. As you hold yourself in this position, your bottom should be down, in-line with your body that is flat. All of the muscles in your torso - and pretty much all of your body - are activated, working to keep your body in line, flat, and off the ground. Doing this for a minute straight may be very challenging at first. Feel free to take quick rests as you work to build that core strength.

After cycling through all of these exercises, 1 minute on, 20 seconds off, Regan says you can go through the cycle again, or even a third and fourth time, depending on your fitness level and the amount of time you have available to exercise. When you've finished all the circuit cycles, you'll want to take a couple more minutes to cool down and stretch.

You can use any combination of different exercises that enable you to pull, push, press, and swing along with the squat and plank.

Regan explains what makes a circuit the best choice for a quick workout is that you're getting in resistance and weight training for each of the major muscle groups, and you're getting cardio by maintaining a challenging pace with the 1 minute on, 20 seconds rest timing. With that said, Regan stresses the importance of keeping yourself moving. You can adjust the 1minute/20 seconds timing to your own fitness level; just be sure not to rest too long - you want to keep your heart rate up.