Workout Snacks Are the Key to Exercising During the Holidays

Celebrity trainer Kira Stokes has been in the fitness world for a long time, and she’s built an impressive client list that includes some pretty famous names. Candace Cameron Bure, Ashley Graham, and Norah O’Donnell swear by her routines, and often tout her approachable and fun workouts.

Of course, Stokes’ work with celebrities means he’s an expert at fitting effective exercises into their very busy lives, work, filming, and interview schedules. So, he definitely has some thoughts on how to exercise during the holidays, keeping you on track with your strength and health goals. It’s a notoriously difficult time to sweat out your travel, work parties, and family commitments that get in the way of the “me” time you’re used to. The good news: You don’t have to commit huge chunks of time or disrupt any carefully laid plans to stay on track.

Stokes, who makes her curated workouts accessible to everyone through her Kira Stokes Fit App ($14.99/month), just shared her best holiday workout hacks. Women’s Healthand they are surprisingly easy to make.

Include small exercise snacks throughout the day.

Workout snacks are exactly what they sound like as a small portion of exercise that you stick to throughout the day that adds up to a super solid workout. Think: A 10-minute circuit in the morning before breakfast, 20 minutes while the kids are napping, another 10 minutes before heading out for a holiday cocktail event. That’s a whopping 40 minutes of exercise you’ve gotten all day.

Get started with a 10-minute workout from Women’s Health:

preview for the 10-Minute Medicine Ball Core Workout

“All of this adds up to your wellness bank,” she explains.

Stokes says this method of splitting up your workouts can be better for your overall health. There are a lot of studies that have come out recently that show that [this] is an incredible option for your body because it keeps your metabolism going, he adds. If you’re always throwing a little movement in there and keeping your body guessing, your brain goes, Oh wait, what are we doing now? This is not our normal time to exercise.

Stokes stresses that you have to change your thinking to realize that every little part counts.

In his own app and with his personal clients, the trainer incorporates this idea into his stacking method, which involves combining several shorter workouts to create a full workout routine, or “stack .”

I actually started that stacking method I know, Stoked Stacks so you don’t have an excuse that you don’t have enough time. You can do just five minutes or you can stack a 20-minute workout with a five-minute workout in the programs offered in the app.

Stokes’ app workouts also have options for people who don’t have weights at home. There is literally something for everyone, he says. And then there’s beginner, intermediate, advanced.

Get your family involved.

It can be difficult to find time away from family during the holidays, but you don’t have to think of your workout as a “solo” activity. In fact, Stokes recommends inviting your loved ones to join in on your workout “snacks.”

Children, family members they love short exercises, he said.

If they don’t work out or don’t want to join, that’s okay! You’re just asking for a little time to work up some sweat and take care of yourself.

When Stokes visits his family, he tells his sister, he just needs a little time, and then, “‘I’m all you, all day, but I need that time.’ Usually the person will go, I totally get it. Get what you need.

A little exercise time, even if it involves getting dads, brothers, husbands, children, or sisters to exercise, during the busy holiday season can be beneficial for everyone. It’s important to remember that you matter too, she says.

Try Stoked 4×3.

The Stokes app now has a Stoked 4×3 category designed to help you recognize where you are, especially when you don’t have extra time. The technique involves doing four moves in a circuit, three times each. And it will definitely make your heart skip a beat.

Each of the workouts is 20 minutes or less, and is curated to target the full body, lower body, or upper body. I can’t tell you how popular this category is, Stokes said. After two months, every time I went to add a new workout, every request was for I want more 4x3s.

In Stoked 4×3, each move “flows seamlessly into the next,” he explains. “There’s never a moment where we’re not doing something or putting in motion [the workout] to give your muscles a rest while we work through some mobility work.

Opt for heavier weights.

A shorter sweat sesh, like the ones offered at Stoked 4×3, doesn’t mean you’re taking it easy. You can get a kick-butt workout in 20 minutes if you just pick up the right weights, he says.

Recently, he has been getting a lot of requests from people using the app for exercises that use heavier weights. We can’t just do fine tuning [workouts]you also have to lift heavier, he said.

However, at the end of the day, it’s all about taking some time for yourself to exercise. You can find every reason in the book, he said. You are stronger than your reasons.

Headshot by Korin Miller

Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Mens Health, Womens Health, Self, Glamour, and more. He has a masters degree from American University, lives by the beach, and hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck one day.

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