Don't get us wrong. Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Not only do we get to indulge in some of our favorite seasonal foods like stuffing, pumpkin pie, and turkey, but we also get to savor deliciously slow-paced time with our loved ones. Because of that, we're big fans of pumping the brakes, perhaps taking time out of our normal workout routine, imbibing one or two extra glasses of mulled wine, and most importantly, not overthinking or dwelling on said indulgences. After all, where our social and emotional health is concerned, a generous slice of Thanksgiving food fare is just as important—and healthy—as our usual morning run or smoothie habit. It's all about balance, right?
That said, after a few days (or maybe even weeks) of feeling off-kilter with your schedule, it's inevitable to feel a bit sluggish, bloated, or just a little out of touch with your body than you might typically prefer. Which, to be honest, doesn't feel great. (Believe us; we've been there.) However, before you begin beating yourself up for those extra helpings of well-deserved sides or embark on a trip of regret (please don't), it's important to remember it's easy to recalibrate slowly but surely. Baby steps! Plus, a little extra help (from the badass woman who trains Victoria's Secret Angels, no less) surely does no harm.
To help us get back into fighting shape (more for our mental state than anything) post-Thanksgiving, we went to Megan Roup, creator of The Sculpt Society for Equinox and, yes, the woman who also works with all of your favorite Angels (like Jasmine Tookes, Shanina Shaik, and Elsa Hosk) to help them reach peak fitness before runway shows and photo shoots. Curious to know the specific exercise and workout routine she recommends following your Turkey Day indulgences? Keep reading!
First, some food for thought…
Before we dive into the specifics of your post-Thanksgiving workout, Roup reminds us of a few housekeeping tips essential for not only sticking to your new workout routine but also having fun while you do it!
"A workout plan is important when putting together your post-Thanksgiving routine," she says. "Set up a schedule for yourself so you can stick to a program. Also, find a workout buddy who will make going to classes fun." This, she tells us, will not only hold both of you accountable, but it also means you're more likely to enjoy your workouts and thus stick with them even if the going gets rough. Hey, we all hit that hump eventually, but consistency, as Roup reminds us, is key.
Another important thing to keep in mind? You don't have to kill yourself or devote hours upon hours in the gym to recover from Thanksgiving indulgences. In fact, in the long run, that won't prove sustainable and will likely result in burnout—not what we're going for here! The aim is to have fun and feel good. Lucky for us, Roup's recommendations make both quite easy.
"I love to combine follow-along dance cardio and lightweight sculpting when I train. It's an effective combination that lengthens and tones," she explains. "This way, you get your heart rate up while dancing, and from there, I'll focus on a full body workout using light hand weights, my Sculpt Society Sliders, and ankle weights. Workouts don't need to be hours long. With smart programming, I deliver a fun, kick-ass workout in 50 minutes." (Oh, and did we mention you can stream Roup's classes online?) So handy.
"I incorporate a lot of functional exercises into my classes with my Sculpt Society Sliders," instructs Roup. "Try these three exercises using sliders or a towel. Your working leg will have the slider under your foot."
Exercise One: Lateral Lunge to the Side
Reps: 8 to 16 per side
How: Your weight stays over your supporting leg as your working leg slides out to the side. Hinge forward at the hips as your upper body and arms reach toward the floor over your supporting leg. Maintain a neutral spine and keep weight in your supporting heel as you lunge.
Exercise Two: Curtsy Squat
Reps: 8 to 16 per side
How: In a curtsy squat, find your weight evenly distributed between both feet and weight in your front heel. Keep both hip bones front.
Exercise Three: Reverse Lunge
Reps: 8 to 16 per side
How: Avoid knee pain by continuing to shift weight into your supporting heel as you descend into the lunge and come up. Repeat on the left side.
"Everyone is so different, and one approach may not work for you," Roup is quick to remind us. Ideally, she recommends aiming to move your body (be it the above routine, a hike, yoga, or any other physical activity you love) five to six times per week. That said, life can be unpredictable, and some weeks may become busier than others, and according to Roup, even getting in three full workouts and two mini (or even five mini) is better than nothing.
"Working out shouldn't be all or nothing. Take baby steps and slowly add on," she says. "This time of year can be stressful. You're balancing family time, holiday events and parties, and lots food temptations. Allow yourself to have some 'me' time so you can focus on yourself and being healthy. Maybe that's continuing to work out during the holidays or meditating every day. Small self-care acts will help you stay relaxed and most importantly enjoy this time of year."
Our verdict? We couldn't be more on board. For more easy-to-incorporate fitness inspo, check out this perfect-for-beginners regimen of core exercise.