How to train like a Black Friday superhero
With Canadians set to kick off their holiday shopping this Black Friday, shops and malls across Canada promise to be packed starting November 24. Nearly half of Canadians (48%) shopped on Black Friday in 2016, a sign we’re adopting the annual retail ritual started by our U.S. neighbours.
But with crowds of eager shoppers hitting the malls all at once, there’s a reason shopping can be tiring and stressful. You’re on your feet for long periods of time, you’re surrounded by people and often need to carry your shopping bags through packed stores and hallways, then lug them out to your car. Black Friday shopping can also bring you down mentally, causing stress, fatigue and even a roller coaster of euphoria and regret.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to become a Black Friday superhero by training in advance. Maureen ‘Mo’ Hagan, VP of program innovation with GoodLife Fitness says by exercising and eating right, you can prepare yourself to face the mobs and score some sweet deals. Here are some ideas:
Cardio to build stamina: Hit the treadmill, pedal as fast as you can in an RPM class, or kick and punch your way through a BODYCOMBAT class. You can also go for a brisk 30-minute walk or jog three times a week to build up your heart health so you can power march through the malls.
Stretch and strengthen lower back and legs: Lots of standing in line can take its toll on your lower back and legs. Try some calf raises to improve circulation and always include squats in your workouts to promote joint movement. Hagan recommends a BODYPUMP barbell class to build quads and glutes. Other exercises to strengthen your lower half include walking lunges or single leg bench squats to build glutes. The cat/camel stretch is a great option to loosen the lower back.
Functional moves to carry bags, reach shelves: Part of the exhaustion that comes with holiday shopping is juggling hangers, reaching for boxes and carrying shopping bags. Build in exercises that mimic these activities, working your abs, shoulders, back, and glutes. Or try out a group fitness class like CXWORX to target all these areas into one 30-minute workout.
Core stability to push through the doors: Core strength will help shoppers maintain their place in a crowd, as well as support your body as you carry your purchases to the car. To build core strength, Hagan suggests crunches, glute bridges, planks, and side hovers as basic exercises that will help stabilize the core muscles.
Hydrate, whole grain carbs and protein for stamina: When we hit the shops, the temptation is to start the day with a coffee and a muffin, then hit the food court for lunch. Treat your Black Friday shopping like a hike or a camping trip. It’s OK to have coffee and some treats but try to eat foods that give you energy and keep you full longer – like yoghurt, berries, oatmeal, almonds, spinach salad with chicken. Most of all, bring along your water bottle to stay hydrated. This combo will keep you energized and refreshed so you don’t drop while you shop.
Take time to breathe: Big crowds, long hours and lots of spending can take its toll on your positive attitude and increase stress. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, step to the side and take a break. Focus on your breathing, sip some water, or just chat with your friend to give your mind a break and regain perspective. Know when it’s time to call it quits.
Personal trainers in your area are available to talk more about (and demonstrate) fitness moves to invest in the upcoming shopping marathon season. Please let me know if you’re interested in arranging an interview.