Christmas Holiday Training Programme

The party season is one of those times when exercise falls by the wayside. However there are no excuses for piling on the pounds.

Over the holiday period most people’s attitude to diet and exercise is less than ideal but as your calorie intake tends to increase, keeping your activity levels up is important to stop your waist line expanding.

If you are visiting family and unable to get to the gym over the festive period make sure you still get out of the house for regular walk or runs and try including the following exercises to give yourself a full body workout which will boost your metabolism and help tackle them extra pounds that may be gained. All these exercises described below will be able to be performed without any gym equipment and anywhere with some sort of floor space.

When focusing on weight-loss and burning calories, the program really just needs to focus the majority of exercises on being high intensity, bodyweight bearing and having little rest as possible between each set to help keep the heart rate high. The best style for this type of exercise program would be circuit based formats partnered with cardiovascular work such as running/cycling/swimming. This will enable your metabolism to reach high levels during festive season, which will ultimately help with burning the extra Christmas calories that will be ingested during the holidays.

If your house has an ideal floor space then, warm up by walking or jogging on the spot for 1 minute, then perform each exercise for 30 seconds (beginner) 45 seconds (intermediate) or 1 minute (advanced) in a circuit style format for 3 to 5 times depending upon your fitness levels with a 2 minute rest between each circuit. The whole training session should take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete depending on the length of each exercise chosen, burning around 500-750 calories. Make sure you stretch afterwards to help your recovery and prevent any injuries from occurring and will also leave you in less muscle soreness the next day. The exercises will be in an upper body/ lower body order with core and cardio work being in the mix as well.


Squat – this works your bottom and leg muscles

Keep your head up and your back straight with your feet about shoulder width apart. Point your toes and knees a little outwards. Squat until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. During the down phase of the squat, focus on keeping your chest up and have the majority of pressure on the heel of your feet. Slowly return to the starting position making sure your knees keep in alignment with your toes and fully extend before the next repetition.

High Knees – This will increase the heart rate and work the abdominals

Be light on your feet and always on your toes, as if sprinting on the spot with emphasis on bringing your knees as high as possible towards the chest, keeping your head up and back straight. Swing your arms in unison with legs.

Press Ups (full or on knees) – this will tone your chest, shoulders and the back of your arms

Set up on a mat face down with your hands in line with your shoulders and your feet hip width apart on your toes. Keeping the hips elevated and bracing the abdomen, slowly lower your body ensuring that the elbows are kept tucked in. Once you have reached your maximum range of motion drive back up to starting position with a faster tempo. This can also be done on your knees if full press ups are too difficult. Take your feet off the floor, keeping them elevated with the pressure on your knees and arms, perform the exact same.

Walking Lunge – also for your bottom and thighs

Step forward with one leg and bend the front and back legs to ninety degrees, shift your weight forward onto the front heel maintaining a straight back and keeping the core activated. The back leg should not touch the floor. Step through with the other leg again bending the front and back knees to ninety degrees. Continue this moving walking motion moving the lunge forward for the set number of repetitions. If there is little space to perform walking lunges, alternate standing lunges can be applied. This is done by stepping forward bending front and back legs to ninety degrees but this time returning to starting position before stepping with the other leg. Repeat this until time is up.

Jumping Jacks – This will increase heart rate and work whole body

Start with your hands by your side and feet together in a standing position, then extend your feet wide apart by jumping into position while extending your arms above your head. Return to starting position. Perform quickly keeping light on your feet.

Side Plank – this will tone your oblique muscles at the side of your abs

Lie on your side and elevate your body supporting your weight between your forearm and feet. Keep your body straight with the hips off the floor, the neck and back should stay straight. Hold position for as long as required. Repeat on the other side.

Plank – this will tone your core muscles

Lie face down with your elbows on the ground; elevate your body up keeping your weight distributed between your forearms and feet. Your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight with the hips raised off the floor. Squeeze the torso tight ensuring the body is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for as long as required.

Burpee – Whole body exercise, elevates heart rate

Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you, kick your feet back to a pushup position, immediately return your feet to the squat position leap as high as possible from the squat position, repeat moving as fast as possible.

Dead Bugs (Legs) – to tone your lower abdominal muscles

Lie with your back on the floor and position yourself with legs bent at the hips and knees. The movement involves opposite motion – keep one leg bent while the opposite leg is extended. Alternate between both sides.

This circuit can be performed 3 times a week with 1 cardiovascular workout during the week. This will help fight the calories that will be consumed in the festive season and keep you feeling energetic and fit. With regards to the cardio, walk/jog for 20-30 minutes outside or on a tredmill keeping it at a steady pace throughout.