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Healthy Holidays: Keep Fit With 4 Quick Workouts

The holidays can be busy, but don't let your fitness fade! These four workouts are quick, tough, and effective!

Generally, the holiday season wreaks havoc on our fitness and diet goals: your "to-do" list gets longer and longer every day, making time in the gym an impossible feat. Even worse, heavy meals and sweet treats can be too tempting to resist. Next thing you know, your gut resembles Saint Nick's.

To combat this extra bulk, you need to plan. Your plan should include a workout program that will effectively challenge your body without taking hours out of your day. If you can stick to it, you'll be better protected against holiday weight gain and more ready and able to work toward your New Year's resolution.

The following training regimens are quick but effective. No matter your goal, there's a workout for you. If you can make a commitment to perform alternate sessions of strength and cardio five days per week, you can maintain your fitness level and keep your body as lean as possible.

Note: Before any of these workouts, be sure to do a light 3-5 minute warm-up—especially if you train first thing in the morning. It's also important that you perform at least five minutes of light stretching after you're done working out.

Build Your Strength

For this workout, you'll only need a barbell and plates. Most people are able to lift more weight using a barbell than dumbbells, so use this to your advantage.

Perform the indicated number of reps for each exercise and rest for 30-60 seconds while you adjust the weight for the next movement. If you work out at home without a squat rack, use a little less weight and increase the reps so you still get fatigued. You need to push this single set to your limits. You won't help yourself by lily-lifting.

The vast majority of your gains come from the initial set, so doing an entire workout of single sets will be productive as long as you challenge yourself.

Santa Strength


Rev Your Metabolism

This workout will raise your metabolic rate, increase your strength, and improve your cardiovascular fitness. It's a great comprehensive workout session.

Perform the circuit as quickly as possible—but don't forget good form! Rest for 30-60 seconds only after you've finished all the exercises. Repeat the circuit one more time. (If you feel you need to do one more circuit—do it, but make sure you're not doing difficult lifts like the deadlift if you're too fatigued.)

Merry Metabolism

Circuit



Boost Your Cardio

Interval training is the single best way to boost your fitness level and maximize post-workout fat burn. Rather than slugging away on a treadmill however, this bodyweight workout will have you jumping, squatting, and skipping. It enhances your cardio fitness, and helps increase your core stability and your agility level.

Perform each exercise for one minute, and rest for 30 seconds after every three movements. The workout will only take about ten minutes, so you can perform it a couple of times per day.

Christmas Cardio


Power Your Core

This workout is meant to help improve your core strength. It will challenge your abdominal wall and your balance. Many of these movements are on unstable surfaces or are one-legged, so your stability muscles will have to contract harder than they typically would during a regular workout.

Do each exercise in a superset, and rest for 30 seconds between supersets.

Snowy Six-Pack

Superset




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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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angmclaughlin

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angmclaughlin

Thank you Shannon for the sweet workout lineups. I'm a HITT junky and always looking for something to challenge me. Will be trying these out for sure.

Nov 14, 2012 5:31pm | report
emilysingan

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emilysingan

The christmas cardio is an awesome structure! Done it this morning. If you don't have a skipping rope just mimic the skipping movement as good as you can. I'm probably replacing my usual running HIIT with this one. Love it!

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Nov 14, 2012 5:33pm | report
Sickvtec101

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Sickvtec101

good stuff

Nov 15, 2012 4:10am | report
jester9168

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jester9168

I like the "Santa Strength" part of the article. I do agree that the first set is the most important set, so lifting heavy on compound exercises is a great method for increasing strength. Though I would say you should always go to failure when time allows that.

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Nov 15, 2012 5:37am | report
Pendicott62

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Pendicott62

Under Santa Strength, what would you recommend to use without barbell and dumbbells if you're in desperate to build strength at home during Holidays?

Nov 15, 2012 8:18am | report
Jaimeistall

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Jaimeistall

I'm no professional but doing some push ups or some variation of them would probably do the trick.

Nov 15, 2012 10:17am | report
jester9168

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jester9168

Put your legs on a chair and try inverted push ups. Slow down, fast up, solid for chest and triceps. Hand stand push ups are great for the shoulders. Squats with no weight to failure will hit most of your lower half. Happy Holidays :)

Nov 15, 2012 12:05pm | report
RPullen

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RPullen

There are plenty to do without equipment, heck look at "Insanity". You can do squats, push ups, sit ups/crunches, lunges, pull ups, chin ups, etc etc etc. Your body is a gym, get creative. Grab that butterball turkey and do some dead lifts!

Nov 15, 2012 12:06pm | report
Blashy

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Blashy

Decline pushups, or what we call feet elevated. Go as high has 5 feet of elevation. It will become a low rep workout.

Horizontal pull ups or straight pull ups if you have a bar.

Single leg squats if you can do them, if not use a door to help yourself (it's what I do).

3 exercises just gave a full body workout based on strength ! :)

Nov 16, 2012 9:25am | report
Pendicott62

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Pendicott62

Thanks guys!!!

Nov 18, 2012 7:00pm | report
Pendicott62

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Pendicott62

Thanks guys!!!

Nov 18, 2012 7:01pm | report
Grimm29

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Grimm29

Nice! Quick and effective. Will try.

Nov 15, 2012 9:03am | report
firerunner100

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firerunner100

looks nice!!!

Nov 15, 2012 11:37am | report
Blashy

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Blashy

The first workout given is GOLDEN!

Nothing beats the classic compound stuff.

Nov 16, 2012 9:22am | report
prestonnoble

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prestonnoble

Thanks Shannon Clark! Great article! =)

Nov 16, 2012 3:07pm | report
AJohnson25

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AJohnson25

Great article, I'll have to try the first workout

Nov 18, 2012 7:10am | report
ashitei

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ashitei

I THANK YOU ALL FOR THIS WORKOUT I WANT TO BUILD MY BODY THIS CHRISTMAS

Nov 19, 2012 2:19pm | report
mrwseattle

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mrwseattle

Helpful! Thanks! Happy Holidays as we keep it all in check on our fitness goals.

Nov 25, 2012 8:50am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 10'10"
  • wt: 130.1 lbs
  • bf: 21.8%
DannyWage

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DannyWage

Who is the girl at the leteral raises?

Nice workout though. Quick and effective. Tryed the santa out!

Nov 27, 2012 10:39am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 18'11"
  • wt: 227.07 lbs
  • bf: 10.0%
Showing 1 - 19 of 19 Comments

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