What Is The Best Workout To Get You Through The Holidays?

What is the best workout to get you through the holidays? Our forum members give their honest take on training during the holidays. In addition they give great workouts and tips on getting through the season without alienating your family ...


TOPIC: What Is The Best Workout To Get You Through The Holidays?

The Question:

Being consistent with your workouts is key to success, but there is just not enough time during the holidays to stay 100% consistent. Not only that, but when we see our friends and family we want to blow them away with our physique, not have them mistaken us for Santa Claus.

What is the best workout to get you through the holidays? Be specific.

Do the holidays ever affect your workout regimen?

Do you alter your diet because of any disturbance to your workout regimen?

Bonus Question: If you are away for the holidays and visiting family what can you do to keep the workouts going and still keep the family happy!

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    New Prizes:
      1st place - $75 in store credit.
      2nd place - $50 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - RC26
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Being consistent with your workouts is key to success, but there is just not enough time during the holidays to stay 100% consistent. Not only that, but when we see our friends and family we want to blow them away with our physique, not have them mistaken us for Santa Claus.

holidays
+ Click To Enlarge.
There Is Just Not Enough Time During
The Holidays To Stay 100% Consistent.


Workout
What Is The Best Workout To Get You Through The Holidays? Be Specific.

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Tips:
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    Here are some tips that will help you get through your holiday workouts, and make them more enjoyable.

    • Stretch and warm-up before each workout to decrease the risk of injury.
    • Avoid overtraining by taking a week off from training during the holiday season.
    • Join the Bodybuilding.com Forums, and find answers to all your questions.
    • Create a BodySpace Account, so you can track your progress, and find people with similar goals from all over the world.
    • Visit the Bodybuilding.com Store, for all your supplement needs, at the lowest prices.

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Training Techniques:
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    The holidays are a perfect time to try new training techniques, as they shorten workouts, and shock your muscles into accelerated growth.

    • Supersets - perform two exercises in a row without any rest.
    • Forced Reps - perform the maximum amount of reps single-handedly, then have your training partner help you perform a couple more reps.
    • Partial Reps - perform a maximal amount full reps, then continue by doing partial reps, if you can bear the pain.
    • Cheating Reps - perform full ROM (Range Of Motion) reps until you reach failure, then use momentum and secondary muscles to complete additional reps.
    • Rest-Pause - perform as many reps as possible until you reach failure, drop the weights, rest for a few seconds, then try to perform additional reps.
    • 21's - complete 7 half reps in the lower ROM, 7 half reps in the upper ROM, followed by 7 full ROM reps.


Click To Enlarge.
21's Using The Curl.
First 7 Reps - MPEG (297 KB) - Windows Media (88 KB)
Next 7 Reps - MPEG (247 KB) - Windows Media (78 KB)
Last 7 Reps - MPEG (1.1 MB) - Windows Media (277 KB

    • Drop Sets - perform a certain amount of sets in a row while reducing the weight each time.

RELATED VIDEO


What Is A Superset?

Supersetting involves doing two exercises with no rest in between.

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
WMV (7.9 MB) MPEG (6.2 MB) Video iPod (.8 MB)
[ Intensity Building Techniques ]

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The Big Three Exercises:
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    The holidays are also a perfect time to make sure your form is correct on all the exercises, especially the big three, which are the bench press, squat and deadlift. Below are step-by-step instructions on the correct way to perform them, which muscles they work and variations.


    Flat Bench Press:

      Execution:

      • Lie face up on a flat bench, with back slightly arched, buttocks on the bench and feet flat on the floor.
      • Grab the barbell with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
      • Inhale and lower the bar to chest level, until elbows are parallel to the ground.
      • Maintain control of the bar, and extend the arms back up while exhaling to end to movement.


      Click Image To Enlarge.
      Flat Bench Press.
      Video: Windows Media - Real Player

      Muscles Worked:

      • Pectoralis Major
      • Pectoralis Minor
      • Anterior Deltoid
      • Triceps Brachii
      • Serratus Anterior
      • Coracobrachialis

      Variations:

      • Close-Grip: Using a hands closer together width shifts the work to the inner pecs, along with more triceps involvement.
      • Wide Grip: Using a hands wider apart width shifts the work to the outer pecs, with less triceps involvement.
      • Incline Bench: Perform the bench press on an inclined bench angled at 45-60 degrees, to work the upper pectorals more intensely. This variation is called the Incline Bench Press.
      • Decline Bench: Perform the bench press on a declined bench angled at 20-40 degrees, to work the lower pectorals more intensely. This variation is called the Decline Bench Press.
      • Dumbbells: To stretch the pectoralis muscles, use dumbbells on either a flat, incline, or decline bench.


    Squat:

      Execution:

      • Slide under the barbell and place it on the trapezius, slightly above the posterior deltoid. Grab the bar tightly with the hands, and look straight ahead.
      • Inhale and contract the abdominal muscles to prevent the torso from collapsing forward, arch the back slightly, and remove the bar from the stand.
      • Step back a few inches, place both feet slightly wider than shoulder width, and point toes slightly outward.
      • Bend forward from the hips, and continue the movement until the thighs are slightly below parallel to the ground.
      • Straighten the legs and lift the torso to the starting position, then exhale.


      Click Image To Enlarge.
      Squat.
      Video: Windows Media - Real Player

      Muscles Worked:

      • Quadriceps
      • Glutes
      • Adductors
      • Hamstrings
      • Erector Spinae
      • Rectus Abdominis

      Variations:

      • Narrow Stance: Place feet close together to shift the work on the outer quads (Vastus Lateralis).
      • Wide Stance: Place feet wide apart to shift the work to the inner quads (Vastus Medialis), and adductors.
      • Front Squat: Place the bar on the upper pectorals, and perform the squat to work the quadriceps more intensely. This variation is called the Front Squat.
      • Dumbbells: Dumbbells can be used when performing the squat to warm-up the quadriceps muscles.


    Deadlift:

      Execution:

      • Stand facing the barbell, legs shoulder width apart, abdominals contracted and back slightly arched.
      • Bend the knees until the thighs are parallel to the ground, and grab the bar using one overhand grip, and underhand grip.
      • Inhale, lift the bar by straightening the legs, and then contract the back at the top portion of the movement.
      • Exhale at the end of the movement.


      Click Image To Enlarge.
      Deadlift.
      Video: Windows Media - Real Player

      Muscles Worked:

      • Erector Spinae
      • Trapezius
      • Glutes
      • Quadriceps
      • Rectus Abdominis

      Variations:

      • Stiff Legged: Place feet close together, and keep the back straight to stretch the hamstrings. This variation is called the Stiff-Legged Deadlift.
      • Sumo: Place feet wide apart to work the quadriceps more intensely. This variation is called the Sumo Deadlift.

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Pre-Workout:
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Click Image To Enlarge.
Doorway Stretch.
Video Guide: Windows Media (225 KB) - MPEG (1.7 MB) - Video iPod (228 KB)


Click Image To Enlarge.
Triceps Stretch.
Video Guide: Windows Media (185 KB) - MPEG (1.5 MB) - Video iPod (208 KB)


Click Image To Enlarge.
Wrist Flexors Stretch.
Video Guide: Windows Media (196 KB) - MPEG (1.4 MB) - Video iPod (199 KB)


Click Image To Enlarge.
Wrist Extensor Stretch.
Video Guide: Windows Media (245 KB) - MPEG (1.7 MB) - Video iPod (233 KB)

      For a full stretching guide, visit here.

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Post Workout:
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    Those of you who desire to speed up recovery, and decrease soreness in muscles, are advised to take hot and cold showers and/or receive massages right working out. You'd be surprised at the benefits these tricks provide.

RELATED ARTICLE
Therapeutic Massage.
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Therapeutic Massage.
Find out why adding a weekly massage to your training schedule may actually benefit your workouts and wellness.
Author:
Pamela Blackburn

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The Split:
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Monday - Shoulders, Abs:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Front Delts Barbell Military Press 3 8-12 90 sec
Side Delts Standing Low Pulley Deltoid Raise 3 8-12 90 sec
Rear Delts Seated Bent Over Lateral Raise 3 8-12 90 sec
Traps Dumbbell Shrugs 3 8-12 90 sec
Upper Abs Crunches 3 25 90 sec
Lower Abs Hanging Leg Raises 3 25 90 sec

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Tuesday - Arms:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Biceps Alternate Dumbbell Curls 3 8-12 90 sec
superset with
Triceps Lying Triceps Extensions 3 8-12 90 sec
Biceps Dumbbell Preacher Curls 3 8-12 90 sec
superset with
Triceps Dips 3 8-12 90 sec
Biceps Overhead Cable Curls 3 8-12 90 sec
superset with
Triceps Triceps Pushdowns 3 8-12 90 sec

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Wednesday - Legs:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Hamstrings Barbell Deadlifts 3 12-15 90 sec
Hamstrings Standing Leg Curls 3 12-15 90 sec
Hamstring Lying Leg Curls 3 12-15 90 sec
Quadriceps Leg Extensions 3 12-15 90 sec
Quadriceps Leg Press 3 12-15 90 sec
Quadriceps Barbell Squats 3 12-15 90 sec
Gastrocnemius Standing Calf Raise 3 12-15 90 sec
Soleus Seated Calf Raise 3 12-15 90 sec

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Thursday - Chest, Forearms, Abs:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Upper Pecs Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12 90 sec
Pecs Flat Barbell Bench Press 3 8-12 90 sec
Inner Pecs Cable Crossovers 3 8-12 90 sec
Wrist Flexors Palms-Up Wrist Curl Over Bench 3 8-12 90 sec
superset with
Wrist Extensors Palms-Down Wrist Curl Over Bench 3 8-12 90 sec
Upper Abs Crunches 3 25 90 sec
Lower Abs Hanging Leg Raises 3 25 90 sec

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Friday - Back:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Lats Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns 3 8-12 90 sec
Lats Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns 3 8-12 90 sec
Lats Bent Over Barbell Rows 3 8-12 90 sec
Lower Back Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 3 8-12 90 sec
Lower Back Hyperextensions 3 15 90 sec

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Saturday & Sunday - Rest Day:
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Holidays
Do The Holidays Ever Affect Your Workout Regimen?

I have never had a problem with my workouts during the holidays, simply because I'm not away from my neighborhood. Most of my family comes to my area for the holidays, so I don't have to worry about going far away, and finding a gym to work out in. However, I do make slight changes to my workouts during this time of the year, just to allow my muscles to fully recuperate, and so I can enjoy the holidays.

These changes include a decrease in workout days, exercises, sets and reps. For example, since I workout five days a week on my regular schedule, I'll cut down the workout days to three for two weeks, then take a week off of training, usually the week of Christmas.


Diet
Do You Alter Your Diet Because Of Any Disturbance To Your Workout Regimen?

I alter my diet constantly, especially during the holiday season. Since I focus more on adding mass during the winter, I eat more food ... and more junk food. However, I try to limit my junk food intake to no more than three times a week, which tends to be a lot.

The week of Christmas, I basically eat anything I want, although I don't recommend it to everyone. The reason is I burn most of the fat gained by increasing cardio if it's needed, but I usually don't gain much fat.

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Diet Guidelines:
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    Below are some guidelines you should follow on a daily basis.

    • Eat every 2 to 3 hours.
    • Drink 1 to 2 gallons of water per day.
    • Consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
    • Consume 2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight.
    • Consume between 75 to 125 grams of fat.

PROTEIN / CARB CALCULATOR
Weight
Results
Protein
Carbs

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Supplements:
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    The holiday season is the perfect time to buy for new supplements for the New Year, so here is a list of some recommended supplements, their benefits and when they should be taken.


    Whey Protein:


    Casein Protein:

    Protein Bars:


    Fat Burners:


    Creatine:


    Nitric Oxide:

      It can be difficult to focus and concentrate on your workouts during the holidays, and that's exactly what nitric oxide prevents. Other benefits include increased energy, pumps and vascularity.

      When To Take:

      Gaspari

      • Pre-Workout
      • Morning (Optional)

      Recommendations:


    Glutamine:


    Multivitamins/Multiminerals:

      These will help maximize gains in muscle mass, strength and performance, and should be taken on a daily basis. Below are other benefits that multivitamins/multliminerals provide.

      Vitamins:

      • Vitamin A - required for synthesis of photoreceptor pigments of cones.
      • Vitamin C - keeps testosterone levels high and enhances muscular performance.
      • Vitamin D - helps maintain heart muscles and nerves.
      • Vitamin E - helps maintain a healthy immune system.
      • Vitamin K - plays a vital role in the creation of prothrombin and other proteins involved in blood clotting.
      • Thiamin - helps prevent fatigue and irritability.
      • Riboflavin - protects cells from oxidative damage.
      • Niacin - helps maintain healthy skin and digestive tract tissue.
      • Pantothenic Acid - important in energy production.
      • Cynanocobalamin - plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells.
      • Pyridoxine - supports body tissue.
      • Biotin - supports immune function.
      • Folic Acid - promotes healthy cells.

      Minerals:

      • Calcium - support bones and teeth.
      • Magnesium - an activator of enzymes involved in processes throughout the body.
      • Potassium - helps metabolize protein and carbohydrates, while also controlling fluid osmosis.
      • Sodium - involved in activations of muscular contractions.
      • Phosphorus - a component in DNA, RNA, and ATP.
      • Chromium - essential in the production of insulin.
      • Selenium - activates an important antioxidant.
      • Iron - plays a vital role as the carrier of oxygen within the protein hemoglobin.
      • Zinc - strengthens the immune system.

      When To Take:

      Animal Pak

      • Morning
      • Afternoon

      Recommendations:


    BCAA's:

      Branched Chain Amino Acids are the building blocks of muscle. Below are other benefits of BCAA's.

      • Leucine - an essential amino acid mainly responsible for the regulation of blood sugar levels, and maintenance of tissues in skeletal muscle, bones, and skin.
      • Isoleucine - promotes muscle tissue repair and recovery.
      • Valine - helps the process of muscle growth, repair, and recovery.
      • Glutamine - a non-essential amino acid responsible for preserving muscle mass.
      • Arginine - has the capability to preserve nitrogen, which is crucial in protein synthesis.
      • Carnitine - increases energy while decreasing body fat.
      • Histidine - required by the body to support muscle tissue.
      • Lysine - used by the body for calcium absorption, which is compulsory for growth in muscles.
      • Phenylalanine - has the ability to support mood by stimulating the nerve system.
      • Methionine - capable of breaking down and using fats.
      • Threonine - involved in liver functions, lipotropic functions and maintenance of the immune system.
      • Cysteine - capable of strengthening the lining of the stomach and intestines.
      • HMB - prevents muscle loss and limits fat storage.

      When To Take:

      Nitro

      • Pre-Workout
      • Post-Workout

      Recommendations:

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Sample Diet:
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Bonus Question
If You Are Away For The Holidays And Visiting Family What Can You Do To Keep The Workouts Going And Still Keep The Family Happy!

This is often the case with many people, and tends to be a common cause for missing workouts. If you are away for the holidays, I highly recommend you find a gym, so you can get some of your workouts in during your free time. If you can't get access to a gym, then hopefully there will be weights around the house.

If neither options are available, the your only choice is performing bodyweight exercises, such as pull-ups, push-ups, and crunches. Below is an excellent full body workout taken from one of my previous articles about The Best Marines Workout.

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The Split:
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  • Monday - Calisthenics
  • Tuesday - Cardio
  • Wednesday - Calisthenics
  • Thursday - Cardio
  • Friday - Calisthenics
  • Saturday - Cardio
  • Sunday - Rest Day

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Monday - Calisthenics:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps
Lats Pull-ups 3 Reach Failure
Pecs Pushups 3 Reach Failure
Abs Crunches 3 Reach Failure

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Tuesday - Cardio:
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    3-mile run in the shortest time possible.

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Wednesday - Calisthenics:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps
Lats Wide-Grip Rear Pull-ups 3 Reach Failure
Pecs Push-ups With Feet Elevated 3 Reach Failure
Abs Cross Body Crunch 3 Reach Failure

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Thursday - Cardio:
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    5 mile run in the shortest time possible.

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Friday - Calisthenics:
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Body Part Exercise Sets Reps
Lats Pull-ups 3 Reach Failure
Pecs Pushups 3 Reach Failure
Abs Crunches 3 Reach Failure

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Saturday - Cardio:
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    3-mile run in the shortest time possible.

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Sunday - Rest Day:
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I hope this workout will get you through the holidays, and good luck!


2nd Place - lionelxxl
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Being consistent with your workouts is key to success, but there is just not enough time during the holidays to stay 100% consistent. Not only that, but when we see our friends and family we want to blow them away with our physique, not have them mistake us for Santa Claus.

Thus, most of us find ourselves in a sort of 'fix' deciding whether to kick off the shoes and have fun with family and friends (may include the occasional junk foods and missed workouts), or stay on course and carry out your workouts and diet as pre-planned and not give in to the holiday season.

How? You may ask. Let us take a look and how you can stick to your workouts/diets during the holidays and not pass off as a loner or a wet-blanket.


Workout
What Is The Best Workout To Get You Through The Holidays? Be Specific.

The holidays are often filled with activities, be it gatherings, meetups with old friends, hanging out or clubbing. Another gripe is the fact that most gyms/fitness centers would have changed their opening hours/days slightly and not planning in advance would leave you tugging at your hair in frustration! Basically your timetable is almost full and you still want to find time to workout?

The key here is to MAKE time out of your packed schedule, whenever possible, to visit the gym. With opportunities to train coming by so rarely, one must make full use of whatever time we can squeeze out to scramble off to the gym for a quickie (lol).

Thus, what I'd recommend as a good holiday workout would have to fulfill these points:

  • Short duration (preferably under 90mins, optimally in an hour)
  • Works as many body parts as possible per workout (3 or more)
  • High intensity
  • Enjoyable! (c'mon, tis the season to be jolly!)


Twice Per Week

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Split:
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  • Monday: Chest/Delts/Tri's/Quads/Calves (PUSH)
  • Tuesday: Off
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Back/Bi's/Hams/Abs (PULL)
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off
  • (Note: Please switch around the training and off days as per your schedule)

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Exercises/Reps:
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Thrice Per Week

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Split:
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Exercises/Reps:
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Notes:
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  • Warm-up with a lighter weight than what you would use in your worksets for 2-3 sets (NOT TO FATIGUE). Just enough to get a nice pump and not hard at all.

  • Warm-ups for subsequent similar body parts are optional. E.g. no need for warm-ups for dips after bench press and seated DB press.

  • Rest periods for big compound movements (e.g. bench press, squats) are 3-4 mins. Smaller body parts (e.g. biceps/calves) get 1-2 mins rest.

  • 3 X 11-15, 8-10, 4-6 means 1st of 11-15 reps, 2nd set would be 8-10 reps and 3rd, 4-6 rep range. E.g. 3 sets of WG pulldowns would look like: 8 X 150 lbs, 5 X 170 lbs, 14 X 120 lbs.

  • Sets are done to failure or 1 short of failure.

  • Extreme stretching to be done after each exercise group of at least 60s. E.g. After Chest/delts, after tri's, after squats, after calves, after hams, after back thickness/back width, after tri's.

  • Cardio can be done if there's time. Optimally 5 X a week, 30 mins brisk walk upon waking or after workout if possible.


Holidays
Do The Holidays Ever Affect Your Workout Regimen?

Definitely! Parties, gatherings, weird gym opening hours, etc. are all contributing factors. Last-minute changes or additions to the schedule puts all pre-planned workouts/cardio session down the trash. You may think you've gotten everything planned out before you kick off the day, with cardio sessions at say 7 a.m, workout after visiting granny at 8 p.m, go to bed after clubbing with buddies at 11 p.m. etc, but you need just 1 delay/change to throw everything off.

There were also so many instances where I sneaked off from a party, thinking I was so smart and stealthy and stuff, just to reach the gym and find a 'WE ARE CLOSED' sign together with a 'HAPPY HOLIDAYS!' Damn! Talk bout a kick in the face!

Even if we get the time to sneak off to the gym, the possibility of us not having enough time to complete our original workout plan plus post workout cardio is real, especially for people who are used to 90-120-minute workouts. Most people have to make do with workouts that are 60 mins or less (if that's the duration of your normal workouts, all the better!). Thus, time is another factor the affects our original workout regimen.

Lastly, it's the mood. It's the holiday feeling! It's knowing Santa's coming soon and you're feeling good and high about this holiday season! (Frosty, the snowman, was a ... ) bet you were tuning in to that during your workout! This feel good mood/feeling may affect your workout is a good or a bad way.

holidays
+ Click To Enlarge.
It's The Holiday Feeling!

It may spur you to work harder to burn the cals you will consume through the junk later or it can cause you to 'wing' it and not be too serious about it (it's the holidays after all). This is another way the holiday season can affect your workout.


Diet
Do You Alter Your Diet Because Of Any Disturbance To Your Workout Regimen?

Yes and no. This solely depends on where your priorities are this holidays. Are you looking to maintain your physique? Or looking to indulge a little, but not too much. Maybe you're in off season mode and everything goes? These situations would dictate whether you need to tweak your diet a little when your workout regimen gets affected.

For most of us who are looking to keep our body fat in check while still indulging a little in the holiday goodies, I'd recommend you lower your calories when you miss a workout. A workout is another avenue for you to expend calories and missing it would mean that to keep body fat at bay, you'd have to consume less calories. Reduce your food intake by about 200-300 cals if you miss your workout and you will be fine.

If you're one that will be highly tempted by all the junk food, also take note of consuming the bulk of them after a workout or cardio session. This would enable you to eat more and allow the improved nutrition partitioning effect of exercise to take place. This does not mean you can eat like a boar, it just means you can eat SLIGHTLY more. SLIGHTLY!


Bonus Question
If You Are Away For The Holidays And Visiting Family What Can You Do To Keep The Workouts Going And Still Keep The Family Happy!

There's the possibility of just not caring about whatever program you have up next - don't worry about it and just go to the gym. But would you want to disappoint family/friends by not turning up for such once a year gatherings?

Would you not want to prove your anti-bodybuilding aunt wrong by turning up for her party and eating like a 'normal' person and indulging in 'normal' food while having such a lean physique? H*ll, would you not want to show off your ripped 6-pack (lol) to your relatives? 'So how?' you'd ask. Dilemma time.

RELATED ARTICLE
Strategies For Staying In Shape During The Holidays! Strategies For Staying In Shape During The Holidays!
I want to share with you my Holiday Survival Tactics. In this article, I will disclose my top 10 personal strategies for surviving the Holidays.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

What I'd suggest is to TRY and make the best out of what's on the table. If IN YOUR OPINION, you could do away with missing/delaying a workout, go ahead! If YOU THINK it would be better for renewing family ties at this and that event, pre-plan your workouts on other days.

One thing to take note of is that unless you're preparing for a post-Christmas (whoever does these shows!) show or whatever event where you'd like to stick to a strict workout/diet regimen, this is the period to relax a little. How far you'd like to go in straying off your workouts/diet depends on your priorities and how you make wise food choices and how badly you want to keep your physique from getting unrecognizable in this short period.

RELATED POLL
Have You Ever Had A Contest During The Holiday Season?

Yes.
No.
No, But I'm Going To.


Conclusion

Like I've been repeating so many times before this, allow yourself to relax this coming holidays. How far you veer off the road with regard to training/diet and rest would depend on your priorities and how intent you are in sticking to it. Good luck and make wise choices!


3rd Place - Mtguy8787
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

When the holiday season rolls around, working out is the last thing on most peoples' mind. Overeating is a common pastime during this season as well. When the normal workout routines begin again, many people find that their strength levels have decreased significantly.

Extra pounds of fat are a common component of the holiday season aftermath. The good news is that it is easy to maintain most of this strength with a few, but productive workouts.

holidays
+ Click To Enlarge.
The Holiday Season Is Here!


Workout
What Is The Best Workout To Get You Through The Holidays? Be Specific.

The best workout routine during the holiday season will involve infrequent, but productive workout sessions. Muscle atrophy is not the biggest concern, especially with calorie & protein rich holiday eating. Strength will atrophy much quicker than muscle in this sort of scenario, so it is our number 1 priority.

If strength levels decrease, the hypertrophy potential of your post-holiday workouts will be greatly diminished. If your strength levels remain intact, you will be able to get back on track much easier.

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The 2 Day Per Week Routine For Maintaining Strength
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  • This workout is designed to be short and sweet. It is not designed to give the most complete workout, but rather the most bang for the buck.

  • For the final set of each exercise, you should go to complete failure. Going to failure is not always a good idea, but it is in this case.

  • If you can, finish the final set off with several partial reps, forced reps or a static hold. This will further tax the CNS, and will help to build/maintain strength more efficiently.

  • CNS: The Central Nervous System.
    The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.

    This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.

    The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.

    Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.

  • To speed up workouts, alternate between opposing muscle groups, if possible. If you are alternating between bench press and rows, you would complete your set of bench press, then move on to rows. Rest 15-30 seconds before alternating. Continue with the next set of bench, followed by rows.

  • After doing an alternating pair of sets, rest a full 3 minutes before continuing.

  • Either Workout A or B can be done first. Allow 3 days in between workouts. Although the starting workout can be either one, be sure to alternate with each session.

  • Note:
    For 3 or more workouts per week, perform 2 sessions of Workout B for every session of Workout A. This can be done in any order. Ex. ABB, BAB or BBA.

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Workout A - Focus On Strength:
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    5 minute cardio/dynamic movement warm-up

    Squats or Deadlifts

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 6 reps - 80% 1 RM
    • Working Set 1 - 5 reps - 90% 1 RM
    • Working Set 2 - 5 reps - Maximum Load

    Bench Press or Weighted Dips

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 6 reps - 80% 1 RM
    • Working Set 1 - 5 reps - 90% 1 RM
    • Working Set 2 - 5 reps - Maximum Load

    Weighted Pullups, Chins or Cable Pulldowns

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 6 reps - 80% 1 RM
    • Working Set 1 - 5 reps - 90% 1 RM
    • Working Set 2 - 5 reps - Maximum Load

    Rows - any type

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 6 reps - 80% 1 RM
    • Working Set 1 - 5 reps - 90% 1 RM
    • Working Set 2 - 5 reps - Maximum Load

    print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Workout A.

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Workout B - Muscle Maintenance:
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    Squats or Deadlifts. Do the opposite exercise you did on day 1.

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 5 reps - 70 % 1 RM
    • 7 Sets - 3 reps - Use your 5 RM (Do not go to failure here)

    Bench Press or Weighted Dips

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 5 reps - 70 % 1 RM
    • 7 Sets - 3 reps - Use your 5 RM (Do not go to failure here)

    Weighted Pullups, Chins or Cable Pulldowns

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 5 reps - 70 % 1 RM
    • 7 Sets - 3 reps - Use your 5 RM (Do not go to failure here)

    Rows - any type

    • Warm-up Set - 15 reps - 50% 1 RM
    • Acclimation Set - 5 reps - 70 % 1 RM
    • 7 Sets - 3 reps - Use your 5 RM (Do not go to failure here)

    Squats

    • 1 Set To Failure - Use 5 RM

    Bench Press or Weighted Dips

    • 1 Set To Failure - Use 5 RM

    Weighted Pullups, Chins or Cable Pulldowns

    • 1 Set To Failure - Use 5 RM

    Rows - any type

    • 1 Set To Failure - Use 5 RM

    print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Workout B.


Holidays
Do The Holidays Ever Affect Your Workout Regimen?

For the most part, the holidays do not significantly effect my workout schedule. Up until a few days before Christmas, my workout schedule remains the same. I am a personal trainer, and had several clients who still wanted to workout during the holidays last year.

It looks like it will be the same this year, as well. I also live within walking distance of the gym, so this makes it much easier to workout. When the 25th approaches, I generally take a 5-day break. Before doing so, I do an intense workout so my body will be doing more recovering than deteriorating during the break.


Diet
Do You Alter Your Diet Because Of Any Disturbance To Your Workout Regimen?

Up until Christmas Eve, my diet stays pretty much the same. After that, however, it is a completely different story. I love to eat, and I do it as much as possible during my break. Last year I estimated my caloric intake to be over 10,000 on Christmas Day. I am thankful to have a body type that will burn more of this off rather than store it all as fat. That may change farther down the road though!

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Always remember that if you overindulge, you are going to gain fat, regardless of your workout. Enjoy yourself, but do not overdo it. You may consider eating less at dinner, and putting some extra aside for yourself. This way, you can still enjoy the food, while eating smaller, more frequent meals. This can help to reduce fat gains over the holiday season.


Bonus Question
If You Are Away For The Holidays And Visiting Family What Can You Do To Keep The Workouts Going And Still Keep The Family Happy!

To keep your relatives happier, try to keep your workouts short and relatively infrequent. Consider working out in the morning, or at a time when it will not be noticed as much. If you workout while everyone else is still sleeping in till noon, you probably won't be missed. The downside of this is that you do not get to sleep in.

If any family members complain and ask you to stay the entire time, explain that it is something important to you and your well being. Tell them that it is not going to take up much time, and that it will not cut into family time, fun and games.

If you have relatives who also workout, you may be in luck. Just be sure they are at a similar level as you are. Imagine going to the gym and setting up for squats with 4 plates, only to find that their lower body workout consists of leg presses with 135 pounds!

low level
Click Image To Enlarge.
Make Sure You're At Similar Levels.