We all feel sluggish after eating thousands of calories at the Thanksgiving table. But you can enjoy your meal without fearing the mirror on Monday. Here's how to do it -- even if you're snowbound at the in-laws without a gym nearby.

Thursday after dinner:
Get up and move! If you’ve gorged yourself to the point where you're undoing the button on your jeans (we’ve all been there), resist the urge to go take a nap. Instead, go for a walk around the neighborhood, play catch or tag with the kids or go for a bike ride. If the weather is trapping you inside, turn on some music and dance with your kids or run up and down the flight of stairs a few times. Have a toddler running around? How about some "shoulder presses" by lifting them up in the air 10 times?You’ll be getting a great upper body workout while they are laughing
and having a blast. Whatever you choose to do tonight, keep it fun and
involve the whole family. Everyone will thank you.

Friday:
Are you going to check out the Black Friday deals? Before you start your shopping extravaganza, take a brisk lap or two around the mall to burn extra calories. When you get home, refuse the large helping of mashed potatoes and gravy your mother-in-law is begging you to eat and go for a jog. Better yet, include some interval training where you sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 1 minute for 20-30 minutes. Or jog in place quickly for a minute and then break for 30 seconds. Interval training is the best method for losing fat. Its secret to success is not in how many calories you burn during the routines, but rather on how many you burn after the exercise. It’s a great way to rev the metabolism and get you through the weekend until you’re back on your regular routine.

And if you're snowed in, take advantage. Shoveling snow can burn up to 250 calories in 30 minutes! When you’re done, build a snowman to burn an extra 285 calories per hour or have a snowball fight to burn up to 300 calories! Also, someone has to clean up that mess from last night. Don’t underestimate the calorie burn you’ll get in 30 minutes from vacuuming (120 calories), washing dishes (75 calories) or mopping the floors (150 calories).

Saturday:
Feeling ready for a more intense workout? Here is a routine that does not require any equipment and only uses your body weight. Working against your own weight is the most natural way to train, and it is extremely effective at getting you in shape. Throw in a few interval sprints at the end and you’ve given yourself a great all-around workout in 30 minutes or less.

Perform 15 repetitions per exercise. Do not rest until you finish the last exercise, rest one minute and repeat three times.

1. Inch Worms
Begin in a push up position then walk your feat towards your hands, keeping your legs straight. Once your feet meet your hands, walk your hands back into a push up position.

2. Body squats
Stand in front of the couch, legs shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. Keeping your back straight and feet planted firmly on the floor, slowly squat down, keeping your knees in line with your toes and sticking your rear out. Once you touch the couch, stand up and repeat.

3. Push-ups
No explanation needed, right? Right.

4. One arm row
Don’t have any weights? Use a small suitcase.

5. Plank jacks
Begin in a push-up position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in a straight line, feet together. While keeping your upper body stable and engaging your abs, begin doing jumping jacks with your legs, hopping them wide then hop them together. Jump as quickly as you can. These will not only get your heart rate up but is also a great ab workout.

6. Lunges
Keep it simple and focus on form, not speed.

7. Arm circles
Before you roll your eyes and pass these off as too easy, give them a try. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended straight out to sides at shoulder height. Make small circles going forward for 30 seconds, then reverse for 30 seconds. If you want, grab a canned good out of the pantry for some extra weight.

8. Plank Get-Ups
Begin in a plank position on your forearms. Holding your core tight, lift yourself up onto one hand then the other so you’re in a push up position, then lower yourself back down, one arm at a time. This is a lot tougher than it looks, so be patient.

9. Squat jumps
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight forward. Bring your arms loosely to your sides. Squat down by bending your knees and reaching your hips back as if you are going to sit down in a chair behind you. Throw your arms up in the air and jump as high as you can. Land softly in the same spot you jumped from. Bend your knees as your land to protect your knee joints.

10.Plank hip drops
Start in a plank position on your forearms and toes. Twist your torso so your right side drops down to the floor, then twist to the other side. Talk about a great ab workout. These will get your abs feeling like they’re on fire in no time.

Follow these steps, and you'll surely spend less time regretting all those calories. And even if you can't follow them to the letter, do your best to keep actively moving around. The temptation to stuff your face and fall asleep will be present all weekend, but you can fight an expanding waistline with just a few minutes each day. Then you can walk tall on Monday when everyone else is full of feast remorse.

Lauren Giles is a certified personal trainer. For more of her routines and recipes, click here.

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About 10 years ago, a friend of mine -- who was a strength coach for a Major League baseball team -- told me about an all-star outfielder who was absolutely crazy about fitness. So much so that the player did barbell squats in the locker room. While standing on a Swiss ball. Buck naked. Which isn't just crazy -- it's scary.

Thank goodness naked Swiss-ball squats never went viral. But I've found three current fitness trends that are just as scary. (If you don't count the nudity.)

Scary Fitness Trend #1: Hopping For Heavyweights
If you’ve ever watched a reality weight-loss show, you might have seen 300-pound contestants jumping onto boxes to blast calories. It’s often an awkward jump that looks dangerous, even to the casual observer. Of course, they wouldn’t show it on TV if it was a bad idea -- right? Wrong. (Exhibit A: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.)

Is jumping an effective way to burn calories? Yes. But is it a good idea for people who are significantly overweight? No. And that goes double if the person is just starting a fitness regimen.

“While jumps of any kind are a great tool for increasing power, building strength, and blasting your cardio, they will increase your injury risk,” says Robert dos Remedios, C.S.C.S., strength coach at College of the Canyons and author Men’s Health Power Training. “For an obese person, this injury risk will sky-rocket simply due to the large deficit in their strength to body-weight ratio.” So combine a lot of extra weight with muscles that aren’t well trained, and you have a recipe for disaster.

“I rarely even use box jumps with my athletes for fear of mishap and injury,” says dos Remedios, who has been training collegiate athletes for 18 years. “I can never imagine putting an obese client in this situation.”

Dos Remedios acknowledges that low-level jumps, such as jumping jacks, partial squat jumps, and even some jump rope drills can have a place in an obese client’s fitness routine. But he emphasizes that he would always weigh the risk of such activities versus the reward. “There are so many other ways to burn calories and boost your metabolism,” says dos Remedios. “My goal is to minimize risk and maximize results.”

One of his favorite ways to do that: the kettlebell swing. Not only has this exercise been shown to be a great calorie-torcher, a new study from the University of Waterloo shows that it may help prevent lower-back injuries. But you have to do it right. Watch the video to make sure you perform the kettlebell swing with perfect form. (And to use the kettlebell swing to melt flab fast, check out The World’s Simplest Fat-Loss Routine.)

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Are you still using the leg-curl machine? Then you should know this: "It's not the best way to work your hamstrings," says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., Men's Health fitness adviser and co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. "In fact, it's not even close."

A quick explanation: The leg-curl machine targets your hamstrings because it requires you to flex your knees against a resistance. This is called knee flexion. (Get it?) Knee flexion is certainly one of the jobs of your hamstrings -- but it's not the most important one. At least not in terms of why you need your hamstrings to be strong in the real world. (For a real-world fitness plan that fits even the busiest schedule, try The Zero Excuses Workout.)

"The main function of your hamstrings is to extend your hips," says Cosgrove. If you need a visual, think of the movement you use when you thrust your hips. An example: When you sprint, you forcefully thrust -- or extend -- your hips each time you push off the ground with your foot. This helps you propel your body forward.

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You perform hip extension in plenty of exercises -- the stepup, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, hip raise, and even the squat, to name a few. So if you want to strengthen your hamstrings, these exercises are all better choices than the leg-curl machine. After all, you rarely have to flex your knees against a resistance in every day life.

That said, if your knee flexion is weak, it’s certainly smart to strengthen this function of your hamstrings. However, there’s an even better exercise for this than the leg-curl machine. It’s called the Swiss-ball hip raise and leg curl. This movement actually requires both knee flexion and hip extension. So it works two of your hamstring functions at once. "It doesn’t matter that you aren't 'isolating' knee flexion," says Cosgrove. "With this exercise, the weakest link automatically gets the best training effect.” (Make sure The 8 Scariest Restaurant Meals aren't the weak link in your diet.)

And though you may think it's a simple movement, few people in the gym get this exercise right. So watch the video below to learn how to do the Swiss-ball hip raise and leg curl with perfect form.

Oh, and a note to those who feel this exercise is too easy. Remember: You can always use progressions to make an exercise harder. In this case, you can perform the same movement, but with just one leg on the ball instead of two. (You hold the other in the air.) That's tough by almost anyone's standards.

Want to learn more great moves to sculpt your body? Then check out The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises and The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises, where you'll find full-color photos of more than 500 exercises, and dozens of great workouts.

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The minute your workout starts to intensify, the temptation is always there: grab the rails.

Whether you're on a stair climber, elliptical or treadmill, reaching out for those support bars can undermine your workout in ways you probably don't realize.

It may seem harmless to get your balance or hold yourself up a little, but it's very easy to support half your weight without really trying that hard. And on a stair climber, for example, supporting half your weight with your arms can cut into your calorie burn by as much as 35 percent, according to Zack Barksdale, a professional fitness trainer at Cooper Aerobics in Dallas, Tex.

And as counterproductive as those lost calories are, Barksdale, who holds a Masters of Science from Baylor University, says the long-term effects are much worse.

"The bad thing about it is that you're not activating your core," he says. "You're not working on posture if you're holding on, and you're not engaging your muscles naturally."

That doesn't just risk your cardio development. It might risk injury.

"Later on down the road," Barksdale says, "if you fall during any kind of physical activity, your shoulders aren't going to have the range of motion to safely catch you. You'll end up doing things like tearing your rotator cuff."

Generally, Barksdale says it's best to avoid the stationary machines if you can and get outside or to an indoor track.

Instead of pushing down steps on a stair climber, you could be pushing your body weight up on stadium steps, which is a much more natural motion. It will also ensure your core is engaged, since there will be no rails to support your body weight as you go up.

But if the gym is a daily stop, and the machines are a part of the routine, there are some things you can do to maximize your time on them.

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First and foremost: don't reach for the rails.

"If you don't hold on, your neurological system is going to have to fire like crazy, which will give you better balance and reflexes for life," Barksdale says. "If you’re holding on to railings, as you get older, your balance is going to start to go. We see it all the time."

Also don't think that just because you're holding railings or poles that move with the motion of the machine, that you’re not doing harm.

"You're moving your feet forward and backward, but if you're holding on to handles that move as well, it will make your lower back tighter and tighter every day," Barksdale says.

The fix? Go slow and engage your arms and core into the motion of the exercise to promote balance and strength. Too often, gym-goers amp up the speed on their machine and have no choice but to grab the rails for balance.

"If you're going so fast that you're having trouble staying up without holding the railings, that tells you that your core isn’t strong enough to go that quickly, and you need to work on that first before you start going so fast that you need to grab the railings," Barksdale said. "It's better to start off slow, and be able to balance."

It may be difficult at first, but the benefits will pay off in minutes, as well as days, weeks, months and years.

"The great thing is you're not going to have to work out for an hour," Barksdale says. "You'll get a good workout if you do it correctly for a shorter period of time."

And at the very least, if you have to hold on at some point, make sure there's no tension in your arms, back and traps. The same is especially true for when you're not holding on. The functions and movements of the machines are mechanical, but that doesn't mean your body should mimic the stiffness. Stay loose, and you'll avoid a lot of long-term damage.

And you'll see the short-term gain much sooner.

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If you ask most fitness experts, they'll tell you that people simply aren't exercising hard enough. Generally speaking, they're probably right: After all, it's no secret that Americans aren't nearly as fit as we should be.

But don't tell that to the my colleague who ran the New York City Marathon last Sunday. He may have actually been working out too much. One giveaway: He called in sick the day after the race. Yes, it was after the longest, hardest run of his life -- and no doubt well-deserved. But ask yourself this: Should exercise ever leave you feeling so bad that you can't sit in front of a computer the next day? Probably not.

So when is your fitness plan too hard? Let your body answer that question. "If you have nagging injuries, aren't seeing results, or are actually losing weight when you're trying to bulk up, you're probably overtraining," says Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S., a Toronto-based strength and conditioning coach. This can happen to anyone: You may not be training for a marathon, but you might still be going to hard for your body. Here's how to make sure you don't exercise to excess. (And to make sure you don't eat to excess, avoid the 20 Habits That Make You Fat.)

Avoid Failure
Conventional wisdom says that the best way to build muscle is to work to failure—that is, until you absolutely can’t do another rep. Common sense offers a different conclusion: "That just increases your risk of injury," says Ballantyne.
Try this: Stop 1 rep short of failure. "You achieve full muscular activation by that point, so there’s no need to go beyond it," says Ballantyne.

Take It Easier
When it comes to cardio, what doesn’t kill you can make you weaker. If you notice a decrease in performance, constant soreness, elevated resting heart rate, irritability, headaches, and/or a pervasive sense of fatigue, you’re probably training beyond your capacity to recover. (To find the right fitness plan for your goals and lifestyle, check out The Men's Health Workout Center.)
Try this: Cut your mileage by half, and lay off the hard workouts for 2 weeks. Then shift more focus to recovery: Go really easy on easy days, and include at least one dedicated rest day a week.

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Listen to Your Body
A "no pain, no gain" mentality is ultimately self-defeating. "A sharp pain means something is wrong," says Ballantyne. "It seems like a no-brainer, but many people try to work through it." In the process, they worsen muscle tears, pulled or impinged tendons, or stress fractures.
Try this: Lift more slowly, focusing on controlled movements. If you feel pain, move to a different exercise. If it persists, see a doctor.

Do Fewer Sets
Occasional muscle soreness isn’t a problem. It's typically results from microscopic muscle tears caused by a new or tough workout. But if it’s chronic, you’re lifting more than you can handle, says Ballantyne. “You don’t need to rip a muscle apart in order to make it stronger.”
Try this: Cut back on your number of sets by 25 to 50 percent, or lift less weight. And fuel your recovery: "Each day, aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, plus 2 grams of vitamin C and at least 3 liters of water," says Ballantyne. "Protein repairs muscle, vitamin C repairs connective tissue, and water supports both." (Make sure to read The Truth About Protein to learn all the facts about this key nutrient.)

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