6 Cardio Moves To Do Before Thanksgiving Dinner

So you can be a couch potato after.

By Chanel Dror
do these moves before your Thanksgiving dinner

How do you approach the smorgasbord that is The Thanksgiving Dinner? I’ve never been one to gorge myself, but I have plenty of friends who spend the days leading up to the holiday preparing, both mentally and physically, for the feast — huge appetite check, stretchy pants check, mom’s famous casserole check. Of course, the post-pig-out guilt (and turkey-induced fatigue) are quick to follow suit, so for today’s fitness tutorial, we partnered with the girls at MOD Fitness to plan out a pre-emptive cardio burst to do before Thanksgiving dinner.

MOD Fitness owner, Marnie Duncan recommends completing this circuit 3x for a quick cardio workout in under 10 minutes. The cardio will scorch calories and increase your heart rate, not to mention, if you start doing these moves daily in prep for the holidays you will feel totally guilt-free after having your second round of pumpkin pie!

*photos by Jessica Attie; location: MOD Fitness, Austin

Jump Squats (30 seconds)

1. Stand with feet just outside of the hips, slightly pointing outwards. Lower your hips and sit back as if you are sitting down in a chair. Keep your chest upright and shoulders down; all your weight should be in your heels.

2. Once at your lowest point, jump as high as you can, pushing the ground away through your heels and sending your arms behind you.

3. As you come back down, immediately bend the knees and lower into the next squat.

4. The goal is to do as many as possible in 30 seconds without losing your form.

Wide Second Jacks (30 seconds)

1. Bring feet wide outside hips and angled away from you diagonally; this is called “wide second.” Lower your hips until they are parallel with your knees, but this time keep the hips underneath the shoulders. Keep your chest upright and reach your arms down towards the floor.

2. Jump away from the floor, reaching your arms up and land with your inner thighs touching and knees soft.

3. Jump back into the original position, landing with your feet wide and hips low.

4. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.

Plank (30 seconds)

Immediately bring yourself into a plank position: hands underneath the shoulders with fingers spread wide, legs extended long behind you with weight in the balls of your feet. Push your heels away from you and pull your abs in tight towards your spine. Focus on slowing down your breath and prepare for the next move! Modify this move by coming onto your knees with your heels pulled into your seat, or by outstretching alternate arms.

Switch Lunges (30 seconds)

1. Start with your right foot forward and step your left leg back into a lunge position. Your right knee should be in line with your right ankle and back left knee under your hip. Optional: Grab a set of weights to elevate the heart rate and increase intensity.

2. Jump up and switch legs mid-air, landing with left foot forward and right leg back. Continue to switch legs and repeat for 30 seconds. Modify this move with reverse lunges and eliminate the jumping element.

Technique tip: Keep your knees in line with your ankles; never forward of your toes for knee safety.

High Knees (30 seconds)

1. Move quickly into your next cardio burst. Stand tall with your feet hips distance apart.

2. Start to run in place and bring your knees chest height (or as high as you can) one at a time.

3. Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle, with the option to hold weights for an added challenge.

4. Run as fast as you can for 30 seconds.

Plank (30 seconds)

Immediately bring yourself back into a plank position. Recover here and get ready for the next circuit!