Every Thanksgiving, we like to share a workout that helps you strike the perfect holiday-fitness balance. This workout is a Chicago Fit Performance holiday tradition that we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Why? Because we love to move and we don’t believe Thanksgiving should be about restricting food (more on that later). After all, one meal is just one meal.
Also, remember you don’t need to “earn” your meals. If you don’t want to train before Thanksgiving, then don’t. Spend time with your family and enjoy it.
Ok, rant over. If you love to train — which is the best reason to exercise — let’s get to the fun stuff...
How it Works
This workout functions like a big circuit. You’ll perform one set of the first exercise, rest for 20 to 30 seconds, and then move to the next exercise.
Follow this pattern until you complete all 10 exercises in the workout, and then rest for 2 to 3 minutes. After your break, keep the weight the same (or decrease if needed) and increase the number of reps you perform the next round.
You should perform the following number of reps on each round of the circuit.
First set = 10 reps per exercise.
Second set = 12 reps per exercise.
Third set = 15 reps per exercise.
Fourth (and final) set = 20 reps per exercise. (This is going to hurt )
Notes and Tips
This is not a “normal” workout or part of any particular training plan. It’s designed for Thanksgiving or other days where you just feel like crushing your body with volume, having a little fun, or shocking your system. (Translation: You’re probably going to be pretty sore and sweat a bunch. If not, you’re either a machine or in great physical condition.)
Before you begin this workout, please do a quick warmup or some mobility exercises. You want your body to be prepared.
If at any point you can’t perform all the reps listed, do as many as you can with great form, rest, and then move on to the next exercise.
The Ultimate Pre Big Meal Workout
Dumbbell Goblet Squat
Dumbbell Overhead Press (Shoulder pain? Do push-ups)
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Slow Mountain Climbers
Dumbbell Front Squat
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift
Dumbbell Renegade Row
Dumbbell Alternating Reverse Lunges
Dumbbell Biceps Curl
Dumbbell or KB Swings
*Be sure to tag #chicagofitperformance if you take it on!
No equipment? No problem. Here's a bodyweight version for you to try.
How To Do It
Perform each exercise for 15 to 20 reps. If you can’t perform the reps consecutively, do as many as you can, rest, and then move on to the next exercise.
Your goal is to try and do as much work as possible in the given time. After each exercise rest for 20 seconds, and then move to the next exercise. Once you have completed all 8 exercises, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat 3 more rounds.
You can select either the weighted or bodyweight version if you don't have access to weight.
Bodyweight squats (hold each for 4 seconds at the bottom of the rep)
Pullups or TRX Rows 80% (leave 1-2 reps in the tank)
Plank (hold for 60 seconds)
Alternating Reverse Lunges
Pushups (hold the bottom for 4 seconds)
Bear Crawl 20 yards
Eccentric Only Leg Curl (use paper plates to slide on the floor)
Hand walkouts (also known as an inchworm)
What about the food?
The problem with Thanksgiving (or any other holiday or celebration meal) is that instead of approaching the event with the intent to enjoy the food and company, people often turn to the extremes.
For some, they are afraid to eat what they want and never relax and enjoy the holiday. They choose the “healthy” options (like turkey) and avoid what they really want (like pecan pie, aka the reason I come to Thanksgiving).
They often spend so much time worrying about avoiding calories that they lose all perspective.Or, they eat everything offered at Thanksgiving because #YOLO. And for many, that one day of indulgence turns into one week, then into 3 weeks in preparation for Christmas, and inevitably rolls over into New Years.
The best approach to Thanksgiving, like most things in life, is somewhere in the middle.
Do yourself a favor: Eat food, and enjoy the time with friends and family. Don’t let your fitness goals become a burden for your life. No matter what your level of dedication, that’s not a sacrifice you want to make.
Then, (and this is the key to a “healthy” Thanksgiving) cut yourself off at the end of the day. Think of holidays like a cheat day.Enjoy your indulgences and then when the day is over, get rid of those tempting leftovers.
If you are looking for coaches to help you change your body and lifestyle? Apply for a STRATEGY SESSION HERE (no strings attached other than you’re serious and committed to making a change) and go over where you are, your goals, and the steps needed to get you to your goals.