Winter is here, and along with the cold weather, so is sloth and binge-eating. If you’ve been eating an inordinate amount of food and not exercising, then you’re closing out the year in the worst possible manner. When it’ll be time to pack away the woollens, you will literally have nowhere to hide.

Keeping this in mind, Hyderabad-based fitness trainer Minash Gabriel, 28, runs fitness challenges on his Instagram page, leading up to the week of indulgence between Christmas and New Year every year. In 2017 it was the “Ab Challenge", and this year it is the “Butt Challenge", that will end on 23 December.

Gabriel, who is the master trainer overseeing 34 studios of the Australia-based functional fitness franchise F45 in India, says the reason for setting these challenges is to motivate people to remain fit. “During this holiday season, people do a lot of binge eating. Also, you’re spending a lot of time in office, you know, seated, or driving, or hunched over fiddling with your phone. The idea was to get people to move," he says.

For the Ab Challenge, which ran for 55 days, Gabriel exhorted his followers on Instagram to set aside 10 minutes everyday to do some basic, core-intensive workouts, uploading videos for his followers to emulate. Similarly, with the Butt Challenge, covering 20 days, the point was to dedicate 20 seconds, every hour, to execute one exercise from a set. The key focus in all of this is movement. “The glutes are the biggest muscle in the body. So when you’re using the biggest muscle in the body, it needs requirements in terms of energy. And when you exercise it long enough, the only store of energy that the body has is fat, once you’ve burnt out the sugar that’s stored in the form of glycogen," says Gabriel. This not only helps you gain a strong and lush tush, but also helps with posture. “The glutes posturally are extremely important. When you stand in an erect position, the only thing that’s keeping your hip extended is contraction of the glutes. I can’t move from a seated position to an upright position without my glutes contracting. So they’re very important for posture. So the problem that a lot of people are facing today are posture related. They’re sitting a lot, not really moving efficiently enough," he says

Gabriel suggests that people do a range of standing up and sitting down routines everyday, even while at work. Basic workouts like squats, leg dips and lunges don’t require any equipment and functionally are of a lot more use in the long run than going to the gym and doing what he calls “ego lifts". “The key fact to take home is efficient movement," he says. And to think long term. “When I’m 50 or 60, I should be able to sit deep in a chair and be able to stand up comfortably in one smooth motion. Over a period of time, your reflexes and ability to move goes down because you’re not being challenged. Your entire neural reflexes get desensitized and you’re not doing what you were doing so naturally as a kid," he says.

With so many workout possibilities spoiling you for choice, you could remember to do some basics everyday. Gabriel puts it best: “The whole idea is to move. Have fun, jump around, squat, do push-ups, run every now and then."

Check out Gabriel’s workout plans on his Instagram page @myo_movement

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