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Between social functions, family commitments and work parties, the gym can take aback seat over the holidays. Your health club may even be closed for a time over Christmas and new year, but that’s not an excuse to skip training altogether.

Stand in front of the mirror and gaze into it. There you go.

No, you’re not going to train with the mirror – you’re looking at yourself, and that’s exactly what you’re going to train with – your bodyweight. You’ll use a few pieces of equipment too (just a pullup bar and a resistance band or two) but apart from that, the best alternative you have to the gym for your holiday workouts is your own body.

Holiday Workouts – From Beginner to Beast

There are two body-weight workouts here, both of which can be adapted to any ability level. They take up minimal room, and the best part is you don’t need a lot of space either. In fact, provided your living room, kitchen or study isn’t overflowing with gifts and festive decorations, you’ve got ample room.

Workout 1: Body-weight Basic

  • Squats – 10 reps
  • Lunges – 8 reps each leg
  • Pushups (Knees on floor) – 10 reps
  • Band rows (Secure your resistance band around the pullup bar, hold it with straight arms and pull the band in toward your torso) – 10 reps
  • Abdominal curl ups – 15 reps
  • Plank – As long as possible

There’s a nice, simple, yet highly effective body-weight workout. Anyone can do this, and it’s a great introduction to body-weight training. To make this more difficult, all you need to do is up the reps. If you did 10 squats last session, go for 12 next time. Take the lunges from 8 to 10, and the plank from 30 to 40 seconds.

To begin with, do the circuit all the way through, rest one to two minutes, then do it twice more. As you get to grips with it a little more, try doing more rounds, reducing your rest time, or making it more difficult by using a thicker resistance band, wearing a weighted backpack, or adding in extra exercises.

Workout 2: The Advanced Attack

Now it’s time to kick things up a gear. You don’t need any more equipment or any more space, but you do need a little more drive and be a touch fitter.

  • Paused squats (Hold the bottom position of each squat for 3 seconds) – 15 reps
  • Reverse lunges – 12 reps each leg
  • Squat thrusts – 15 reps
  • Pushups – 15 reps
  • Chin-ups – 5 reps
  • Burpees – 15 reps
  • Side Planks – Maximum timed hold on each side

So you thought body weight training was easy? Try the above and see if you still think that! If this still doesn’t tax you enough, instead of doing each exercise for a set number of reps, try a maximum number of reps in 20, 30, 40 or even 60 seconds.

Only Got 4 Minutes?

Then try a Tabata. This involves 20 seconds of all out maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated eight times. Pick any exercise (squats, jump lunges, pushups, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, alternate lunges, and jumping jacks all work well) and work your butt off for four minutes of hell. You could even do this while your sprouts are cooking.

Have Some Fun

Want to burn a few calories without hitting the gym or even feeling like you’re working out? Then take a walk with the family. This might not be as grueling or calorie-intensive as a full-on workout, but the holidays are the perfect opportunity to spend some time together.

Instead of sitting in silence watching films, or stuffing your faces over the dinner table, go on an outing and get fitter in the fresh, Winter air.

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