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How to Stay in Good Shape During Black Friday

How to Stay in Good Shape During Black Friday

Could Black Friday be the end to your optimal health? It would be hard to not think of this being a possibility. Staying up all night in a store filled with high stressed holiday shoppers can certainly raise your anxiety. Coupled with the fact that you are still digesting your heavy Thanksgiving dinner, Black Friday can certainly throw you out of shape for a few days if you don’t plan well in advance. Here are a couple of tips I will be using this Black Friday to ensure that I’m alert, healthy, and well rested.

Wednesday Afternoon: Plan Your Attack

This is the time when you should be focusing on planning your Black Friday. It’s highly recommended at this stage to have a list of stores you are wishing to visit during Black Friday. Your plan of action should include times, Black Friday ads, and what you plan to purchase at each store. This will allow you to know whether there are any conflicting sales, requiring you to add some additional shoppers to your arsenal.

Wednesday Night: Rest, Cook, Repeat

Your Black Friday is planned out, missions are now assigned, now it’s time to actually work on what’s actually important – Thanksgiving cooking. If you are hosting this year, Wednesday evening should be reserved for cooking and resting. Begin cooking refrigerated foods (potato salads, etc) Wednesday afternoon, along with the turkey, and saving hot foods for the next morning. Be sure to have a person or alarm to periodically wake you to check on the turkey and other foods cooking.

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Thursday Morning: All Set and Ready

Now is crunch time. This is the point when all Thanksgiving cooking should come to a finish. Aside from desserts and a few side dishes, your main focus should be on prepping the home and yourself for the meal. If you are able to sneak in a late morning (11AM or noon) nap, that would do your body a huge favor. Depending on your family, guests usually arrive around 2PM or 3PM, so plan your nap accordingly.

Thursday Evening: On Your Mark

Hopefully your Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch! Now it’s time for war in the stores. This year, most stores are starting their sales Thanksgiving evening at 8PM. If you want to ensure your item is still in stock before midnight, it’s crucial to at least take a look at these sales. As always, ensure you are well rested, dressed, and prepared. If needed, recruit a couple of family members to man each store you can’t be at.

Friday: Shop ‘Till You Almost Drop

With many sales starting Thursday, you should be well into your shopping by Friday morning. However, between Thursday and Friday, there is a possibility for some rest or at least sit-down time. After the midnight sales have come and gone, you have a nice grace period between 12:30AM and 4:00AM, before the second round of sales occur. Use this time wisely to drop off the first load of your purchases.

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During Friday, it’s crucial to continue to make these frequent home visits. You don’t have to take a nap each time, but unloading every so often will allow you to have less to carry when you are officially done. From Friday afternoon on, use this time to truly enjoy your weekend off work or classes. You won’thave another one of these for a couple of weeks, so make the most of it and marvel at your new haul of gifts.

The Snack Pack:

The most important thing to remember during Black Friday is to not only eat, but to eat well. It is just as easy to forget to eat as it is to eat unhealthy. You are on the run and fast food is very appealing. This can be curved by having these four important meals for the duration of your shopping (a nice breakfast, quick snacks, a smart lunch, and a light late afternoon meal). Why, might you ask?

A hearty breakfast is key because chances are, you weren’t in the mood to eat Thursday evening after that large Thanksgiving dinner. This makes it much easier to skimp on breakfast Friday morning. Quick snacks throughout the day preserves that satisfied feeling while shopping, while also providing much needed energy. The most ignored meal is lunch on Friday, this is key for getting a good chunk of Friday’s nutrients, with a light afternoon meal allowing for an easily digestible meal, just in case you crash and sleep Friday evening)

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Mixed nuts, protein filled, and smart energy sources are nice to have with you. Don’t go for the coffee, but go rather for natural drinks. If you find yourself with a killer headache without your coffee, opt for the least amount of additions as possible (no to lattes, yes to black coffee with light creme and sugar).

The Dress Code:

Black Friday is an awkward time in terms of how to dress. You are out in the cold, very early in the morning, while still trying to look your best after slaving over a huge dinner for a ton of guests. No one will look like they are going to the Oscars on this day, go for more athletic clothing (jeans, no – sweatpants – yes). Have a hat and gloves, with an extra pair of socks in the car, along with your coat, to ensure you’re always warm in the early morning chill.

How are you spending Black Friday? Let us know in the comments, also don’t forget to check out Lifehack’s 8 Tips for Surviving Black Friday(Ed: or if you need help in planning out your holiday activities check out the Lifehack Lesson that will help you organize your day)

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Featured photo credit: Portrait of big family sitting at festive tablevia Shutterstock

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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