Q. I don't want to skip working out during the holidays, but my gym time will be cut in half. How can I make the most of it?

Have no fear! Tight schedules aren't a reason to become a fitness Grinch, but rather an opportunity to be more efficient with your training. This is a good thing!



Step one: Toss aside the mentality that if you don't have an hour or more to do a "full" workout, then you should bypass the gym altogether. You're dedicated, focused and work hard the other 11 months out of the year, so why press "pause" now? Embrace this challenge, and you'll cruise right into next year without having to put "lose holiday weight" at the top of your resolutions list.

I know that for many of you, juggling your normal work schedule, family life, and festivity-packed calendar will mean you won't even have time to go to the gym. So my gift to you comes in the form of three workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home in 40 minutes or fewer. All you need is space to move and the most basic equipment, and you'll be able to blast calories and maintain your strength while those protein treats are baking in the oven.

Jumping Rope

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1. Cardio Work-it Circuit

No gym? No problem! This fast-paced, fun, and efficient workout can be done at home or outside (weather permitting), and it doesn't require any machines. It's custom-made for whenever you have a spare 20-30 minutes, but no more. Just clear out a small space at home and work it!

Cardio Work-It Circuit
Do the exercises in order with little to no rest between. Perform the circuit 5 times, resting 30-60 seconds between rounds.
1
Circuit
5 rounds
Burpee
5 sets, 15 reps
Rope Jumping
5 sets, 2 mins
Pushups
5 sets, 25 reps
Freehand Jump Squat
5 sets, 30 sec
Rope Jumping
5 sets, 2 mins
Plank
with Punch.
5 sets, 30 reps
Plank Jack
5 sets, 30-60 sec

2. Upper-Body Annihilation

Don't let the name scare you! This workout includes an assortment of essentials for upper-body sculpting but doesn't require a bunch of equipment. If you can't get to the gym but have a stability ball and either dumbbells or a resistance band at home, you can perform this workout between holiday gift wrapping and whipping up a batch of protein eggnog. If you don't have those things, consider asking the Santa in your life to come early!

Exercise Ball Leg Pull-in
Upper-Body Annihilation
Note: Do the exercises in order with little or no rest between. Perform the circuit 3 times, resting 30-60 seconds between rounds. Then proceed to Circuit 2.
1
Circuit 1
3 rounds
Rope Jumping
3 sets, 1 mins
Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row
3 sets, 15 reps
Seated Dumbbell Inner Biceps Curl
3 sets, 12-15 reps (using dumbbells or resistance bands)
Exercise Ball Pull-In
3 sets, 25-30 reps
Push-Ups - Close Triceps Position
3 sets, to failure (15 reps minimum)
Mountain Climbers
3 sets, 30-60 sec
2
Circuit 2
3 rounds
Burpee
3 sets, 20 reps
Pullups
3 sets, 12-15 reps
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension
3 sets, 12 reps (using dumbbells or a resistance band)
Hammer Curls
3 sets, 12 reps (using dumbbells or a resistance band)
Side Lateral Raise
3 sets, 12 reps (using dumbbells or a resistance band)
Plank
3 sets, 30 sec

3. Living Room Lower-Body Blast

Steer clear of the Christmas tree or holiday decorations and get ready to work it! There's no need for the leg press, leg extension, or other machines when you can bust out these fun and effective exercises at home with just as much—if not more—intensity!

Mountain Climbers

If you have dumbbells at home, feel free to use them to increase the challenge, but this workout can be done without any additional equipment. With the cardio bursts included throughout the workout, you get twice the workout in half the time!

Living Room Lower-Body Blast
Do the following exercises in order with little or no rest between. Perform the circuit 3-4 times, resting 30-60 seconds between rounds.
1
Circuit 1
3-4 rounds
Freehand Jump Squat
4 sets, 20 reps
Side Lunge
4 sets, 15 reps (per leg)
Plank Jack
4 sets, 30 sec
Dumbbell Rear Lunge
4 sets, 15 reps (per leg, alternating with a jump between legs at the top)
Mountain Climbers
4 sets, 30-60 sec
2
Circuit 2
3-4 rounds
Split Squat with Dumbbells
4 sets, 15 reps (per leg)
Butt Lift (Bridge)
4 sets, 20 reps (with feet elevated on sturdy platform or exercise ball)
Burpee
4 sets, 20 reps (with jump at the top)
Wall Squat
4 sets, 45 sec (holds)
Knee Tuck Jump
4 sets, 10 reps

About the Author

Jen Jewell

Jen Jewell

Internationally published fitness model, fitness writer, and certified personal trainer Jen Jewell has maintained a passion for staying active...

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