12 Days of Christmas Workout Challenge

12 Days of Christmas Workout Challenge

Thanksgiving is over and winter holidays are on the horizon. Whether you overindulged on turkey or are just looking to add some spice and variety to your workout, have we got a fun one for you! Based on the popular song, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” this fitness challenge will put you in the holiday mood with a big smile and a sense of accomplishment and gratitude at what you can do.

Grab a workout friend and a few pieces of equipment and get ready for Franklin Athletic Club’s 12 Days of Christmas Challenge!

What You’ll Need

The equipment needed for this challenge is pretty minimal. You’ll need:

  • A riser, bench or a box
  • Kettlebell
  • Mat (if you want)
  • Treadmill, rowing machine or the great outdoors.

What You’ll Do

This workout is a descending ladder workout and follows the pattern of the song. It’s 12 rounds, with each round adding a new workout. The exercise you do in Round 1, you’ll do in every subsequent round as well, whereas the new exercise you add in Round 12, you’ll only do once.

The Challenge

On the first day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 1 20-second wall sit.

On the second day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the third day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the fourth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the fifth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the sixth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the seventh day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 7 kettlebell swings, 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the eighth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 8 box step ups, 7 kettlebell swings, 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the ninth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 9 20-second planks, 8 box step ups, 7 kettlebell swings, 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the tenth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 10 reverse lunges (on each leg,) 9 20-second planks, 8 box step ups, 7 kettlebell swings, 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 11 kettlebell woodchops (on each side,) 10 reverse lunges (on each leg,) 9 20-second planks, 8 box step ups, 7 kettlebell swings, 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my trainer gave to me: 1200 m row or run (.75 miles), 11 kettlebell woodchops (on each side,) 10 reverse lunges (on each leg,) 9 20-second planks, 8 box step ups, 7 kettlebell swings, 6 mountain climbers, 5 Russian twists, 4 tricep dips, 3 goblet squats, 2 push-ups and 1 20-second wall sit

Whew! Great job, you did it! We guarantee you never hear that song quite the same again.

Get Your Fitness Challenge On!

Maybe you never knew fitness could be this fun and this challenging all at the same time. If you have questions about any of these workouts or just want to be a part of a great fitness community, committed to your safety, health and wellness, reach out to Franklin Athletic Club at 615-599-5544 for more information on personal training, group fitness classes and more.

Fueling Your Body: What and When to Eat to Maximize Your Workouts

Fueling Your Body: What and When to Eat to Maximize Your Workouts

When you pull up to a fuel station in your car, you know what fuel to select to get the desired performance out of your vehicle. You know that food is your body’s fuel. So why is it so hard and confusing to fuel our bodies to get their desired performance, especially for a workout?

There is certainly lots of information available. And it’s not always consistent. That’s why Franklin Athletic Club is pleased to provide you an easy-to-understand guide to fueling your body and your workout. (Please note, if you are undertaking a long or strenuous workout such as a marathon or triathlon, consult a sports nutritionist.)

Pre-Workout: Simple Carbs are Best

Simple carbohydrates are easy and fast for the body to digest. This means you won’t feel weighed down or sluggish during your workout because your body is exerting its energy on digestion. It also means that fuel you put in is available for use as energy. Simple carbs should be consumed 30-90 minutes before a workout. Great pre-workout options include:

  • Low-fiber fruits such as bananas, applesauce or berries
  • Rice cake or toast with fruit preserves
  • Fruit purees
  • Oatmeal with minimal toppings
  • Low-fat yogurt

During Your Workout: Do You Need Fuel?

As a general rule, if you’re working out for an hour or less, you probably don’t actually need additional calories. When you’re setting new PRs on weights, crushing your favorite cardio machine or owning the group fitness class you’re taking, water alone is adequate.

If you’re an elite endurance or performance athlete, your workout may require a bit more. Something easily consumed and digested, such as a fitness gel, could give you the boost needed.

Post-Workout: Protein, Carbs, Electrolytes

You finished your workout and are ready to replenish what you’ve spent and provide your body the necessary nutrition to see gains from your workout. Post-workout is a great time to fuel up. Your body is already turned on and ready to absorb and utilize nutrients.

  • Protein. Post-workout is the best time to eat protein to fuel the repair of the muscles you’ve worked to increase strength. (Note: eating protein is not necessarily going to make you get “bulky.”)
  • Carbs. The primary source of energy for your muscles during your exercise is carbs. Now is the time to put healthy carbs back into your body and restore what you’ve spent. Carbs also help facilitate the absorption of other nutrients. Choose healthy carbs for your refueling.
  • Electrolytes. When you workout, you sweat. When you sweat, you potentially lose nutrients like sodium, potassium, magnesium and other electrolytes. Having a proper balance of electrolytes in your body is important for many essential processes. It’s important to replace and rebalance your electrolytes. While you can use a sports drink to get electrolytes, you may also be getting other things you don’t need or want. Electrolytes can be replenished from food or 100% fruit juices, such as orange juice.

Hydrate

Before, during and after your workout, be sure to hydrate. Drinking plenty of water, even in small, frequent sips, keeps your body healthy and happy during your workout. Need more info on fueling your workout or other fitness needs? Reach out to Franklin Athletic Club at 615-599-5544 for more information on your road to wellness.

Cool Downs 101: Why Cooling Down After a Workout is Important

Cool Downs 101: Why Cooling Down After a Workout is Important

Congrats on another great workout at Franklin Athletic Club. Before you hit the showers, take the time to cool down. Just like the warm-up, cooling down can have a big impact on your overall wellness and staying safe on your fitness journey. Cool downs matter. Franklin Athletic Club gives you the low-down on the cool-down, why and how to do it, and a couple of great cool down options.

Why Cool Down?

When you work out, whether cardio or lifting weights, your heart rate increases. It’s best not to just come to an abrupt stop without taking your body and heart back down closer to the resting rate at which you were before you began the workout. Just like the warm-up 101, here are three great reasons to cool down.

  1. Decrease your heart rate. One of the most common post-workout accidents stems from not cooling down. If you transition from a full-on workout to stopping, your heart rate is still elevated. Due to the abrupt nature, blood can pool in the lower extremities and have a hard time returning to the upper body (such as the head). When this happens, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy and or even be more likely to faint.
  2. Reduce DOMS. If you’ve lifted weights, run a long distance or pushed yourself with sprints, there’s a decent chance of being sore the next day or the day after. This is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a direct result of lactic acid buildup in the muscles. It’s not necessarily bad to be a little sore. You might even love that feeling because it means you did something hard or pushed a little further. But sometimes DOMS can be severe, limiting range of motion, the ability or desire to work out again, or impact normal daily activities. Taking the time to cool down can flush some of the lactic acid out, reducing the severity of DOMS. 
  3. Mentally decompress. Just like the warm-up, your mind needs the opportunity to process the workout and decompress before transitioning to the next activity or task. Enjoy the mental and emotional benefit from the release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.

Do yourself a favor…cool down.

Tips to Cool Down

There are a few ways to cool down, and for many, that includes incorporating stretching. A cool down should be at least 5-10 minutes, giving your heart, muscles and mind time to recover. 

  • If you’ve done a cardio workout such as a brisk walk or a run, cool down by gradually slowing the pace of your walk to a relaxing stroll.
  • Just finished spin class? Stay on the bike a few extra minutes and flush the lactic acid while slowing your heart rate with reduced speed and lower resistance.
  • Add stretching after your heart rate is down, especially if you’ve lifted weights. Focus on gentle stretching of the muscles targeted in your regimen for the day.
  • Finish off with a savasana, a yoga position also known as corpse pose. Lay down, let your legs fall open, palms up and relaxed, slow your breathing, relax your mind and let your whole body (including face) go heavy. Many people find the art of stillness and relaxation difficult. But with continued practice, a 10-15 minute savasana to end your workout can leave you feeling strong, relaxed and ready to take on whatever is next.

FAC Trainers are Here to Help With Cool Downs and More

Still have questions about cool downs? We’ve got you covered. Set up an appointment with a personal trainer. You’ll learn the right way to cool down after you exercise to get the most out of your workout.  Contact Franklin Athletic Club at 615-599-5544 for more information on your road to wellness.

Warm Ups 101: Why Warming Up Before a Workout Matters

Warm Ups 101: Why Warming Up Before a Workout Matters

You’re dressed, hydrated, and on your way to Franklin Athletic Club with a protein bar in the bag. But before you hit the weights, it’s important to warm up. Maybe you think warm ups are irrelevant or a waste of precious time on an already tightly scheduled day. But cutting the warm up could end up costing a lot more than the 5-10 minutes it would have taken. Warm ups matter. Franklin Athletic Club shares the details on the why and how of warm ups.

Why Warm Up?

Warming up your body before you get into the crux of your workout will benefit you in a number of ways. Here are the top three.

  1. Increase body and muscle temperature. Warming up literally warms you up. Ever try pulling cold taffy or silly putty? It’s hard! Warm it up and it becomes more pliable and works more easily and efficiently. The body acts similarly. Increasing your temperature makes more oxygen available to your muscles, allowing them to expand and contract more easily. It also readies your heart (a muscle!) for the workout.
  2. Protects against injury. When you begin a workout cold, whether strength training or cardio, you increase your chance of injury. Warming up increases blood flow throughout the body, elasticity in the muscles and flexibility in the joints.
  3. Mentally ready. Your body is not the only thing that benefits from a warm up. Your mind does, too. A warm up session allows your mind to shift gears, to slough off whatever is on your mind and focus on the task at hand: exercise without injury. Lifting weights without proper form or starting too heavy because you’re mentally still elsewhere puts your workout at risk. The same is true for a cardio workout, whether you’re sprinting or distance-running. Warming up gets your head in the game.

Warming Up Well

Now that you’re convinced warming up matters and you understand how it can help, what’s the best way to warm up? Dynamic warm ups include focusing on the movements of the actual exercise or workout and incorporating them in the warm up. For instance, if you’re going for a brisk walk, warm up with a slow walk. Planning on a run? Walk briskly for five minutes to ready your body and mind. Playing a sport with lots of jumping or running? Do some squats to prepare your legs. Or, if you’re lifting weights, start a little lighter or go through the motion without the weight first.

Consider the large muscle groups that will be used in your workout and warm them up. For example:

  • Shoulder circles and a slow swim before you start swimming laps
  • Planks or push ups before your arm and core workout

FAC Trainers Are Here to Help With Warm Ups and More

Still have questions about warm ups? We’ve got you covered. Set up an appointment with a personal trainer in Franklin. You’ll learn the best warm ups for your exercise and activity for maximum results and safety. Reach out to Franklin Athletic Club at 615-599-5544 for more information on your road to wellness.

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