Staying fit during the holidays is very difficult. There are 1,000 reasons and excuses to break your day-to-day fitness routine. Although, exercise is the best remedy for the ensuing holiday stress, we still tend to find reasons to ignore exercise. This made me think of my off-week program I used to do when prepping for a tournament.
When preparing for something like a martial arts tournament, marathon, or anything else that requires a set fitness program, it is important to have an off-week. Some experts say it is every three weeks and others every four. That is not important today. During this week, you are taking it easy to allow your body to rest. What I used to do was a lot of simple exercises throughout the day to keep my muscles active without over-taxing them.
A typical week would be:
Monday – Chest
Tuesday – Cardio/Abs
Wednesday – Legs
Thursday – Back
Friday – Cardio/Abs
Saturday and Sunday – Off
For Mondays, I would do different variations of pushups throughout the day. I would choose a number goal to reach. For example I would set out to complete 300 pushups that day. Then I would do three sets of pushups three times during the day. First traditional pushups for 50 reps, and then diamond pushups for 30 reps, and the last set of wide armed pushups for 20 reps. I would do this after waking up, after work, and before bed.
For the Tuesday and Friday cardio/abs days, I would run or ride my bike for an hour or more at a much slower pace than usual in the morning and three sets of my favorite ab exercises at night.
Leg day Wednesday looked just like my push up day. I would do three sets of exercises three times a day. I started with 40 body weight squats, then 20 lunges on each leg and finished with a five-minute iron chair. Again, this was after waking up, after work, and before bed.
Back day is a little different. This day I would do a lot of chin ups and planks. Every single time I walked into my bedroom (where my chin up bar is) I would three chin ups to enter and two to leave. This turned out to be at least 50 throughout the day. Then, as I was watching TV at the end of the day, I would plank for one commercial during each commercial break. They are typically 30 seconds long and come every seven minutes or so. If you are a DVR person, pause the show before you fast forward through the commercials and do a 30 second plank. You want to do at least five total minutes of planks.
This workout will be a good holiday season workout for when you can’t find the time to go to the gym like usual. The challenging days would be finding time for the cardio, but having that hour away from everything is very relaxing and will help you clear your head for the day.