The holiday season can be a pitfall in one’s attempts to maintain their current fitness levels. Things like mom’s cooking, family meals, and delicious morsels offered around every corner…definitely make it difficult.

I’m not here to give you steps on how to avoid or limit yourself. I’m here to help you add steps, as in, provide some quick workouts to add physical steps, up your heart rate, and target multiple muscles. Although, a typical issue some can encounter is lack of equipment, so there has to be some creativity behind how you put work in.

Another issue is that for a lot of strength athletes – bodyweight movements aren’t terribly difficult – so your typical ’10 pushups’ just won’t do it. There has to creativity behind sets, reps, and movements to get the most bang for your buck. If you find yourself in a pinch while traveling this season, try the two workouts below.

1. The No Equipment Traveler – 20-25-min Total

The goal and focus of this particular circuit is to raise the heart rate and hit as many muscles as possible. Plyometric and strength based movements will be utilized throughout.

Complete as a circuit – 4x total.

  • 10 Jumping Squats – Perform an air squat and as you stand back up explosively jump straight up. As you land cushion your landing with a flat foot and begin the next squat.
  • 20 Jumping Lunges – Start in a lunge and explosively stand up while switching sides every rep. There will be 10 total lunges performed on each side.
  • 20 Incline/Decline Pushups – Perform pushups on an elevated surface (look for something 1-2 feet in height), hit 10 pushups with your hands on the elevated surface (decline press), then reverse and put your feet on it with hands on the floor (incline press).
  • 5 Handstand Pushups – Find a wall that you can safely kick up to and not damage (take your shoes off). If you have trouble performing full reps, do half reps and work on maintaining a good body line.
  • 40 Mountain Climbers – Maintain a hollow body and work on bringing your knees high without letting the hips sag.
  • 10 Superman Lifts With 1-second hold – Lie on belly with arms extended above head, you’re going to flex your back bringing your legs and arms slightly off the ground. Hold at the top for 1-second. IMPORTANT: The goal isn’t to extend until discomfort, it’s to barely bring the arms and legs off the ground. If you have back issues, skip this exercise.

2. The Pre-Cookie No Equipment Workout – 25-30 min Total

This circuit can be performed at anytime, not just before cookies. One way I always try to combat higher calorie/carb based foods and meals is by putting myself in a state that would benefit from glycogen replenishment. This rationale will be more beneficial for lifters who partake in regular workouts where glycogen is constantly being taxed.

Although, in reality, this short workout won’t decrease glycogen stores too terribly much – it’s better than nothing. 

Like the workout above, there will be similar goals with the exercises. The only difference will be the addition of movements that put the muscle under more time-under-tension (TUT), which is my rationale for taxing muscle glycogen at a higher rate.

Complete as a circuit – 4x total.

  • 15 (1 1/4) Squat Jump – Perform an air squat, but as you reach the bottom, you’re going to come up half way, then descend again. You’ll then fully stand up with an explosive jump and land flat footed cushioning yourself into the next rep.
  • 12 (1 1/4) Pushup – Perform a normal pushup, but at the bottom, you’re going to come up halfway maintaining a strong pushup posture, and descend again before completing the rep.
  • 30 Alternating Extended Side Planks – Start with an extended side plank, hold it for one second, then bring your extended arm down into a pushup position and push yourself up to opposite side. This is a great way to add a little dynamic movement to the side plank.
  • 20 Jumping Lunges – Start in a lunge and explosively stand up while switching sides every rep. There will be 10 total lunges performed on each side.
  • 15 Extended Arm Situps – Hook your feet under something secure and perform a normal situp. As you finish the situp extend your arms and reach for the sky (if you have something to hold for added resistance, this can create an added challenge).
  • 10 Close-to-Wide Pushups – Start in a close grip pushup, perform a pushup, then finish with an explosive up and catch yourself in a wide grip pushup proceeding right into the next pushup.

**If the reps, sets, and time allotments are easy for you – add extra set or reps accordingly. 

These are two no equipment workouts that can help you put work in while traveling, during the holiday season, and when you don’t have gym equipment. They include power, strength, and core building movements to help raise your heart rate.

The goal is to not limit yourself, but to be creative with how you proceed with your fitness goals while enjoying what life throws at you (aka mom’s cookies).

Feature image from @lisaheafnerphoto. 

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