For us adults, Halloween often brings to mind toasting a festive pumpkin beer with friends, sneaking candy from the kids’ trick-or-treat bags, and, of course, sipping on plenty of pumpkin spice lattes. While I won’t discourage any of those fun treats to celebrate the season, as a trainer, I am also here to promote health and balance all year round.
I’ve been working as a personal and group training instructor for 13 years and have noticed that October through December is often when people let their well-being fall to the wayside. This makes sense, given that there are plenty of disruptions to our regular routines during that time. From football games to holiday parties, there’s always something pulling us a little further away from having a consistent movement and nutrition routine. By the time we get to January, we look back a the last three months and wonder where the time has gone.
While some trainers will have you believe that you must always be strict with your well-being practices, I tend to have a gentler approach. My goal is for everyone to move their bodies in ways that make them feel good – both physically and emotionally – so that it doesn’t feel like “work.” For my clients and me, that looks like group training that begins at 5:15 a.m. To be clear, it’s not always easy to wake up for an early morning class before the sun rises, but ask any of my clients who were never a morning person before joining The Movement and they’ll attest to how starting your day doing something for yourself can be transformative and something you can actually look forward to.
One way that I try to make morning movement fun and engaging is through special seasonal classes…and I’m sharing one festive fall workout with you today!
The Great Pumpkin Workout
Every year, I plan a festive pumpkin workout for my group fitness clients at The Movement. The average weight of a pumpkin that you’ll get at the grocery store or local pumpkin patch is anywhere between 12-18 pounds, which makes it perfect for almost anyone who wants to add a little extra resistance to their workouts.
While this pumpkin ritual is usually reserved just for my clients, I’m excited to share it with you this year in hopes of encouraging you to embark on a new fitness journey this fall.
First, let’s start with your setup. You’ll want to have enough space to move around freely. Make sure you have your water bottle and a towel nearby because you’re going to get sweaty! Next, put on some festive Halloween music, grab your pumpkin, and get ready to work!
Complete 12 repetitions of each movement below before moving on to the next one. You can continue for as long as you like – I’d recommend starting at 30 minutes for beginners, but you can go up to an hour. If you are short on time, even just 15 minutes of movement can improve your mood and health.
To prevent injury and get the most out of your workout, read through each movement description to make sure you are performing them correctly. If you feel discomfort or pain – move on to the next exercise. Above all else, listen to your body! You know your limitations better than anyone else.
Now, let’s get started!
Hold your pumpkin close to your chest as you lower your hips from a standing position. Remember to keep your head up, torso straight, and your core engaged.
Stand with your body upright and your core muscles braced. Hold your pumpkin near your chest before pressing it directly overhead. Remember to lower with control and make sure that your shoulders are engaged.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and take one big step forward with your right leg. Shift your weight forward, making sure that your right heel hits the floor first. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right shin is vertical. It’s okay if your knee shifts forward, so long as it doesn’t go past your right toe. Press into your right heel to drive yourself back up to your starting position. Repeat this on the left side.
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Lie flat on your back with your legs in front of you. Grab your pumpkin and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Then, bend your knees slightly and raise your legs. Keep your toes pointed and draw your abdominal muscles towards your spine. Strengthen your legs until your feet are pointed to the ceiling, and then slowly lower your legs to the floor.
Lie flat on the floor with your pumpkin held at your chest. While keeping your elbows towards your body, raise your arms up above your head and chest. Lower back to your chest and repeat.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your pumpkin on the ground between your feet. From a squat position, bend your knees and take your pumpkin with both hands, ensuring that your spine stays in a neutral position. Tighten your glutes and core as you raise your body back to standing with your arms extended down. Repeat this movement.
Hold your pumpkin close to your chest in a comfortable position. Lower yourself into a squat and jump up off your toes (it doesn’t need to be a huge jump, just try to get a little bit of air beneath your feet). Land right back into your squat position, while taking care to land softly so that you don’t put too much pressure on your knees.
Movement For Longevity
If you give this workout a try and you like it, I encourage you to come try out one of my group fitness classes. Working out at home is great, but the group component is motivating and a great way to connect with new people.
The Movement group training clases are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Highlands Sports Complex at 5:15 a.m., 6:15 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. If you like more restorative movement, I’ve recently partnered with local yoga instructor Carly DiCola to offer 6 a.m. yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can learn more by following The Movement with Allison on Facebook, or sending an email to me at email@example.com.
If you are ready to make some substantial changes, then I encourage you to take advantage of my end-of-the-year class offerings. Throughout the month of November, you can train virtually with me! I will also be offering special rates for those who commit to in-person group training for November and December.
Regardless of whether or not you join me at The Movement, I hope that you take time for yourself over the next few months to nourish your body in move in ways that make you feel great!
I am a trainer, exercise physiologist, and certified physical therapy assistant, and stand behind the effectiveness of all the workouts I share. When you try them at home or at the gym, you’re doing so at your own risk. Unless I’m right there with you monitoring your form and taking into account your current level of fitness and physical limitations, I can’t take responsibility for any injuries or accidents that may occur. Please consult a physician or other qualified professional before starting a new exercise program.
• Allison Hickey is the owner and operator of The Movement with Allison LLC. She received a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from West Liberty University and received certification as a physical therapy assistant from Cal U. Allison has worked with individuals of all fitness levels from beginner to performance athletes. Through in-person group training and virtual training, Allison’s mission is to help improve every aspect of people’s lives through exercise that allows people to move better, move more, and feel better in their bodies while having fun.