The holidays are a time of good cheer, but with all the celebrations and libations, it’s easy to overstuff your stockings. The (sort of) good news is that the average holiday weight gain is only about 2 pounds, which means if you keep up with your regular training — and set your sights on maintenance rather than getting lean — you can sail through the season unscathed.
These time-efficient high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts use free weights, machines and your bodyweight to help you get your sweat on. So take a deep breath, make smart choices, be good to yourself — and leave the holiday heft to Santa.Section divider
Tabatas are the fastest way — literally and figuratively — to incite fat burning. For best results, do the 20-second work intervals at 100 percent all-out intensity — then relish those oh-so-sweet 10 seconds of rest. Complete eight total rounds (four minutes) for a fully cooked core. Want a challenge? Try to match or beat the number of reps you get for each round.
Complete all reps of one move before continuing to the next. Rest only as needed; as soon as you catch your breath, get back to it.
|Dumbbell Goblet Squat||50|
|Dumbbell Two-Arm Bent-Over Row||40|
This workout combines running with power and strength moves for the ultimate fat-burning cocktail. Use the same barbell for the thrusters and the deadlifts and err on the lighter side to ensure you can finish all reps of both moves.
Part 1: Complete three rounds
|Run||400m (or 2 min.)|
Rest two minutes.
Part 2: Complete three rounds
|Dumbbell Bent-Over Row||9|
|Run||400m (or 2 min.)|
Every minute on the minute, complete the indicated task. Rest any remaining time, then begin again at the top of the next minute. Complete six rounds (18 minutes).
Complete as many rounds and reps of the following workout as possible in 15 minutes (AMRAP). Keep track of your score and try to beat it next time Santa comes to town.
|Run||200m (or 1 min.)|
Choose a barbell, dumbbells or a combination of both, and begin with a moderate load. With each set, increase the weight and decrease the reps. Complete all sets and reps of an exercise before moving on to the next.
|Reverse Lunge||5||12, 10, 8, 6, 4 (each leg)|
|Bench Press||5||12, 10, 8, 6, 4|
|Bent-Over Row||5||12, 10, 8, 6, 4|
|Triceps Pressdown||5||15, 12, 10, 8, 6|
|Biceps Curl||5||15, 12, 10, 8, 6|
|Shoulder Press||5||15, 12, 10, 8, 6|
Grab a few sets of dumbbells and complete four rounds of the following workout (more if you sat on the copier …). Rest 60 seconds between rounds.
|Dumbbell Walking Lunge||45|
|Arnold Shoulder Press||45|
|Dumbbell Lateral Lunge||45|
|Dumbbell Front-to-Lateral Raise||45|
Polar Bear Barbell Complex
Load a barbell with a moderate weight. (Hint: Whichever move is your weakest should determine your load.) One rep of each move = one cycle. Seven cycles = one round. Complete five total rounds.
- Clean the barbell up to the front-rack position.
- Do a front squat.
- As you stand, perform a push press; place the bar across
your upper back and traps.
- Do a back squat.
- As you stand, perform a push press; bring the bar to the
- Return the bar to the floor to complete one cycle.
- Power Clean
- Front Squat
- Push Press
- Back Squat
- Push Press
Nothing incites metabolic change like an explosive workout, and this one will get your lords-a-leaping. Complete three rounds of the following workout, resting 60 seconds between rounds. Finish with a deceleration drill using a knee-high box or bench.
Feeling badass? Do double-unders instead of single-unders when jumping rope.
Finisher: Complete two rounds
|Box Jump Down||5|
With this drill, you want to “stick the landing”: Simply step off the box, land softly and hold in the landing position for five seconds. This trains your body to better absorb impact and helps prevent injury.Section divider
Lace up and hit the road — or the treadmill — with this sprinting circuit and 360-degree core finisher.
Jog/run five minutes at a moderate pace, then perform some dynamic stretches such as leg swings, arm circles and the like.
Sprint-ervals: Complete 10 rounds
Jog five minutes at an easy pace.
Finisher: Complete four rounds
|Bicycle Crunch||20 (each side)|
|Dead Bug||10 (each side)|
|Flutter Kick||20 (each side)|
Using a moderately heavy kettlebell, complete three rounds of each superset or tri-set. Rest 30 seconds between rounds and 60 seconds between supersets/tri-sets. Bonus points if you can carry a tune while swinging your kettlebell.
|Kettlebell Goblet Squat||15|
|Kettlebell One-Arm Push Press (right)||10|
|Kettlebell One-Arm Farmer's Carry (right)||20 yards|
|Kettlebell One-Arm Row (right)||10|
|Kettlebell One-Arm Push Press (left)||10|
|Kettlebell One-Arm Farmer’s Carry (left)||20 yards|
|Kettlebell One-Arm Row (left)||10|
|Kettlebell Sumo Squat||20|
Choose your favorite cardio machine or activity and do this quickie 10-minute workout to bust stress on those super-busy days. It’s also a great finisher after strength training to empty your tank.
|Minutes||Intensity||% Max Effort|
The 12 Days of Crossfit
This “12-day” workout format lends itself to any exercise combination you can imagine. Here, some of the usual suspects from CrossFit flesh out the lineup. To save time, use the same barbell/weight for the push presses, deadlifts and thrusters.
Round 1 = 1 Burpee. Round 2 = 1 Burpee + 2 Pistol Squats. Round 3 = 1 Burpee + 2 Pistol Squats + 3 Toes-to-Bar. Continue this way, adding an exercise with each round, for a total of 12 rounds.
|10||Barbell/Dumbbell Push Presses|
This gym-centric, total-body workout uses machines and drop sets to get the job done. On the last set of each move, do a drop set: Perform as many reps as you can with one weight, then drop (reduce) the weight a few pounds and resume your repping. Drop the weight one more time and rep it out to failure.
|Incline Chest Press||3||8-10|
|Cable Lateral Raise||3||10-12|
|Cable Rope Triceps Pressdown||3||12-15|
|Cable Rope Crunch||3||12-15|
|Cable Rope Curl||3||12-15|