The Maccabee workout

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

As December unfolds, I have realized that Hanukkah is just around the corner. The shopping is almost done, and I can practically hear the sizzle of the frying oil, our skillet anxiously awaiting the first spoonful of batter that will miraculously be transformed from raw potatoes into golden-brown latkes.

The winter holiday traditionally celebrates the miraculous oil that should have lasted a single day, but kept the menorah burning bright for eight days, enough time to reclaim the Temple. However, the holiday also recognizes the role that the Maccabees played in Jewish history.  These men were the “real deal”; in an era that preceded Navy SEALS, Special Forces, and “Rocky,” Maccabees knew how to stay in tip-top shape.  With nary a gym in sight, how did they manage to remain so perfectly fit and ready for action?

As you plan your holiday celebrations this year, I propose a new dimension to consider: 8 Days of Fitness.

Perhaps if we dedicate ourselves to exercising as diligently as we do to shopping, wrapping, cooking and dreidel-spinning, we might emerge from this Hanukkah as fit as the warriors from days of yore.  Here, then, is your 2014 guide to what I call The Maccabee Workout:

In a circuit-training fashion, perform the following moves:

1 minute of marching in place

2 sets of 8 push-up’s (resting 30 seconds between sets)

3 chin-up’s

4 sets of walking lunges across a room (resting 30 seconds between sets)

5 sets of 5 barbell bicep curls (resting 1 minute between sets)

6 sets of 6 jumping jacks (resting 30 seconds between sets)

7 dumbbell tricep extensions with each arm

8 overhead dumbbell shoulder presses

Upon completion of the circuit, rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat for a second round.

By the end of the holiday, with a careful eye on nutrition and proper rest, you may find yourself rewarded with a fit new physique and energy to propel yourself into a new year of better health!  Get ready to fight like a Maccabee!