Holiday Fitness: No-Gym Training

Ah, the holidays – a time for rest, relaxation, and good food.  Unfortunately, often also a time for fat gain for those very reasons.  I’ll be the first to admit that it can be very difficult to stay on track with your goals during the winter holiday season.  Between travel, time spend with family and friends, and crazy amounts of tasty but less-than-ideal food, there are a lot of obstacles between you and your perfect six pack (or whatever).

Don’t despair!  All is not lost.  It is possible to enjoy your holidays and not completely derail your efforts by taking some simple steps.  I plan on dragging this concept out for at least a couple more posts, but today, lets focus on training.  While I plan on finding a cheap gym to join over the 15 or so days of travel this winter, not everyone will find that convenient.  For those folks, I recommend performing some simple no-gym-required workouts to maintain a training effect.  You might not make huge strides doing this program – it won’t put 30 lbs on your bench or rip fat off your abs – but it will help keep you from back-sliding over the holidays.

The Basics

Two workouts, performed on alternating days, with at least 1 day of rest in between.  Perform exercises in a circuit with 45-60 seconds of rest in between each set.  (Exercise 1, rest 45, Exercise 2, rest 45, Exercise 3).  Perform as many reps as possible each set (this will vary highly based on amount of loading you have available).  Do not load such that you can perform less than 6 reps per set.  Perform each circuit 3 times.  None of these exercises require added weight, but many will benefit from some kind of external loading; I have included my recommendations.

Workout 1

  1. Goblet Squat – load with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a heavy book in your hands (or whatever you can find).
    Goblet Squat
  2. Pushups - Load with bands (over your back), chains, or something heavy placed on your back (by a partner or in a bookbag).  Having someone press down on your back with a foot works too.  You can also progress these by elevating your feet.
  3. Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift – Load with dumbells, kettlebells, or something else you can hold in your hands  Keep that low back straight and let your hips hinge back.
  4. Single Leg Straight Leg DeadliftBent Row (Row) - Perform bent rows with dumbbells or kettlebells if you have them.  If not, find something to hang from and do inverted rows.

    Inverted Row

    Inverted Row

Workout 2

  1. Step Ups – Load with dumbbells, kettlebells, anything (can try this goblet style too).
    Dumbbell Step Up
  2. Push-Back PushupsVideo demonstration.
  3. Glute Bridges – Progress by doing with only one leg, by elevating your back, or by loading with a dumbbell or something else on your hips.
    Glute Bridge
  4. Ab Walkouts – Like a rollout, but without the ab wheel.  Just walk out there with your hands and walk back.  You probably wont need much loading…

    ab walkout

    Don't hit your face on the floor.

That should be enough to keep you busy wherever your holidays take you.  Obviously there are lots of other bodyweight exercises out there that could be introduced into these circuits.  The more equipment you have access to, the more options you will have (can anyone say “pull-up bar”?).

Get after it, friends.