You might recognize Brooke Burke from her many TV appearances — she’s hosted shows like Dancing With the Stars, She’s Got the Look, and Wild On! — but in recent years, she’s devoted herself to a flourishing career as a fitness instructor. Using her sizable social media platform and her site Brooke Burke Body, the 51-year-old shares engaging and accessible workout content for women at all ages and fitness levels. With the holiday season in full swing, Burke told us her three major tips for staying in shape during this busy time of year, plus she provided a gift guide for the exercise lovers in your life.
1. Find low-key ways to incorporate movement.
From shopping to decorating to baking, there’s so much going on during the holidays that maintaining a consistent workout routine can be challenging — but not impossible. “I think it’s a really important time to balance out all the stress and find things that feel good and ways to work out at home,” says Burke. She currently has a program called Holiday Handful, a free series of livestreamed Zoom classes that are easy to participate in. These classes make use of things you’d find at home — like a kitchen counter — so you can easily work out in between family time or preparing meals. “We’re giving so much as women during the holidays,” Brooke continues. “As a younger mom, the holidays were always about the kids, the family, the in-laws. And I still love all that, but we also need to take time to give back to ourselves.”
When it comes to holiday fitness, Brooke wanted to create a program to encourage and inspire people to “hold themselves accountable and stay on track.” She also suggests putting a positive spin on exercise moves that may intimidate you. “We started a sweet program this holiday season called Thanks and Planks,” she explains. “Planks are something that’s really challenging. Everybody hates planks — I don’t love them either, but they have so many benefits for the body. So, we’re using all 10 fingers to step into gratitude and to chant 10 things you’re grateful for while you’re in your plank position.” Rather than avoiding this oft-dreaded exercise, use it as an opportunity to practice positive thinking.
2. Don’t put pressure on the new year.
With a new year on the horizon, many of us will start making resolutions to get back into shape come January. But Burke cautions against pegging all your fitness expectations to the new year. “I encourage everyone to commit to a program this holiday season and not wait until New Year’s,” she says. According to Burke, December is the perfect time to take stock of your fitness goals and “find something that feels good and that’s fun.” So often, New Year’s resolutions around fitness feel like work; but Burke encourages people to bring a sense of curiosity and play to the process. “Try new things,” she advises. “You have to mix it up. Otherwise fitness is boring.”
Some of us don’t love working out — and that’s okay! Don’t force yourself to do something you hate. Instead, try to make exercise accessible by finding a type of workout or movement that feels good to you, and stick to a routine without putting too much pressure on it. “You won’t stick to a program if it’s not fun,” Burke points out.
3. Practice mindfulness.
Burke is a big advocate of practicing mindfulness. She acknowledges that the holidays are stressful for many people, and suggests you try her own preferred method of warding off anxiety: taking five minutes each morning before you start the day “to set yourself up and get your head in the right space.” No matter how busy you are, you can likely devote at least a few minutes to focus on your breathing and check in on how you’re feeling physically and mentally. These pauses are essential to well-being.
“I learned that slowing down is so important for women,” Brooke says. “Everybody needs something, and we have to learn to turn down the noise and the chaos a little bit.” While she recognizes that this is easier said than done, Brooke also believes that taking a few moments to recharge is a vital step in self-care.
Brooke Burke’s Holiday Gift Suggestions
As someone who has dedicated herself to wellness, Burke has a variety of fitness-related gift recommendations for this holiday season. Here are six of her top picks (besides a subscription to Brooke Burke Body, of course!), plus the reasons why she loves them.
- A functional 32-ounce water bottle. You likely already know the many benefits of staying hydrated, and a big water bottle will help keep you on track. You can get one directly from Burke’s site (Buy from BB Body, $25.99). “We have to hydrate during the holiday season,” she advises. “Drink more water than wine!” In order to hydrate consistently, Burke keeps bottles in her car and by her bedside table. The closer to you a bottle is, the more likely you are to drink from it.
- A wearable phone case. Burke loves her crossbody phone case (Buy from Radley London, $145). “I’m always losing my phone, so it’s perfect for me,” she says. “Whether I’m shopping, teaching a class, or at one of my kids’ events, I know my phone is right there by my side.” For a more reasonably priced option, she’s also a big fan of Baggallini’s phone crossbody (Buy from Amazon, $29.99).
- Cute and comfy Skechers sneakers. Burke has been a spokeswoman for Skechers for years, and she particularly loves their silver-accented sneakers (Buy from Skechers, $59.99). “I love having some silver workout shoes,” she says. “I can knock my workout out and throw on a nice sweater over my leggings and sneakers and transition from my workout to lunch.” As a bonus, the memory foam in these shoes makes them extra comfy.
- Stylish ankle weights. “I love ankle weights right now,” says Burke of this exercise accessory. Her favorites are Bala Bangles (Buy from Bala, $55-$65), which are sleeker than the ankle weights you might remember from the ’80s and come in a variety of fun colors. Burke says these weights are perfect for building curves and developing strength.
- A well-designed blender. Burke uses her blender (Buy from Beast, $140.25) every day. “I intermittent fast and I break my fast every day with a shake,” she says. She takes her healthy shakes seriously, and has her whole family hooked. She triples her shake recipe every morning, so there’s enough to share with her kids. “It gives them all the fuel that they need,” she says. Need shake inspiration? You can try her recipes for a Matcha Latte Shake, a Protein Power Shake, or a Breakfast Smoothie.
- Candles and Epsom salts for a luxurious bath. A warm bath is a great way to unwind after a busy day, especially when it’s cold outside. “I love candles,” Burke says. “Inexpensive candles let you create your ambiance.” Pair those with some Epsom salts and you have “a DIY spa in your own bathroom.” Try a set of aromatherapy candles (Buy from Amazon, $22.99) and an Epsom salt gift pack (Buy from Target, $9.99) to build a tranquil atmosphere — “creating a recovery space at home is super important this time of year,” says Burke.
“There are so many opportunities to give the gift of health and wellness,” Burke concludes. So, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or something else this time of year, find a moment to take a deep breath, do a casual workout, and choose gifts that encourage healthy living.
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