Modify Your Mindset and Training Approach to Stay Fit Over Thanksgiving!

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The Thanksgiving Holiday is a wonderful time of year, as it provides a welcome respite from the stress of normal life and serves as a kick-off to the holiday season. Most often, it gives us access to fulfilling and much needed time with friends and family. That is especially true this year. From a fitness perspective, the holiday week presents many challenges, from travel, a change in routine and habits, family obligations, overindulgence, bad weather, or simply a desire to take advantage of the time to rest and recover. It is very easy to make excuses and let one workout slide early in the week into a full-blown week off. In the worst of cases, that slide can continue through the rest of the holiday season and into the New Year.

A good strategy to be successful at this unique time of year is to adjust your mindset temporarily and adopt a different perspective and approach for the week. Time with family is preciously important and should be maximized. If you travel, being out of your element and routine can be tough. Outdoor options are not always possible in some parts of the country, and a lack of access to a viable fitness facility can be a real challenge. In the era of COVID, access is extremely limited, and many people don't feel safe going to one, especially an unfamiliar one. The bottom line is that normal routines are unrealistic, so expecting to continue that way will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

That being said, it is still possible to maintain your fitness and get some quality work in with little or no equipment, no matter where you are. My advice would be to commit to a total of 30 minutes a day for the duration of the week, preferably in the morning before things get going. The work should be simple and uncomplicated, so you don't spend much time thinking about it and are more likely to get it done. If you are somehow able to get in your normal routine, great, but if you are pulled in a million different directions, then 30 minutes a day is much more realistic and attainable. It may not be as much time as you normally spend on a given workout, but when you total it all up at the end of the week, you will still be spending a significant amount of time being active. It's also perfectly acceptable to reduce your workload and intensity from time to time to let your body recover and rejuvenate itself. Planning for it to happen during this week is a great option if you can set it up that way. The whole point of a holiday is to enjoy yourself and to remember what is important in life, so embrace the upside of this week and don't stress about the reduction in workout time. The rewards of the week far outweigh the drawbacks and have great potential to bring much-needed balance and stress relief to life that is equal or greater to any workout.

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The Thanksgiving Holiday is a wonderful time of year, as it provides a welcome respite from the stress of normal life and serves as a kick-off to the holiday season. Most often, it gives us access to fulfilling and much needed time with friends and family. That is especially true this year. From a fitness perspective, the holiday week presents many challenges, from travel, a change in routine and habits, family obligations, overindulgence, bad weather, or simply a desire to take advantage of the time to rest and recover. It is very easy to make excuses and let one workout slide early in the week into a full-blown week off. In the worst of cases, that slide can continue through the rest of the holiday season and into the New Year.

A good strategy to be successful at this unique time of year is to adjust your mindset temporarily and adopt a different perspective and approach for the week. Time with family is preciously important and should be maximized. If you travel, being out of your element and routine can be tough. Outdoor options are not always possible in some parts of the country, and a lack of access to a viable fitness facility can be a real challenge. In the era of COVID, access is extremely limited, and many people don't feel safe going to one, especially an unfamiliar one. The bottom line is that normal routines are unrealistic, so expecting to continue that way will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

That being said, it is still possible to maintain your fitness and get some quality work in with little or no equipment, no matter where you are. My advice would be to commit to a total of 30 minutes a day for the duration of the week, preferably in the morning before things get going. The work should be simple and uncomplicated, so you don't spend much time thinking about it and are more likely to get it done. If you are somehow able to get in your normal routine, great, but if you are pulled in a million different directions, then 30 minutes a day is much more realistic and attainable. It may not be as much time as you normally spend on a given workout, but when you total it all up at the end of the week, you will still be spending a significant amount of time being active. It's also perfectly acceptable to reduce your workload and intensity from time to time to let your body recover and rejuvenate itself. Planning for it to happen during this week is a great option if you can set it up that way. The whole point of a holiday is to enjoy yourself and to remember what is important in life, so embrace the upside of this week and don't stress about the reduction in workout time. The rewards of the week far outweigh the drawbacks and have great potential to bring much-needed balance and stress relief to life that is equal or greater to any workout.

Here are a couple of minimalist ideas that allow you to continue to prioritize your fitness and avoid all the usual excuses while still allowing you to maximize your time and enjoyment with friends and family. Approach 1 assumes you have at least one Kettlebell or Dumbell on hand or can take one with you where you are traveling. Approach 2 is for those that will have no access to equipment and must rely solely on bodyweight exercises. Each workout also has two finisher options per day; one indoor and one outdoor. Choose one that best fits you, the weather, and the situation, and finish up the day strong.

Approach 1: If you Have at Least One Kettlebell or Dumbbell, Try This:


Monday: 11/23

  • Combo 1: Broad Jump 2 x 5 + Bear Hold 2 x :45
  • Combo 2: Goblet Squat with Pause 3 x 8 + Pullups 3 x AMP
  • Combo 3: Plyo Pushups 3 x 8 + 1-Leg Bridge 3 x 12 each leg
  • Finisher: Choose 1: A) KB Swings 5 x :20/:40 or B) Hill Sprint 5 x :10/:50

Tuesday: 11/24

  • Get in a Brisk 30 Minute Walk with Family

Wednesday: 11/25

  • Combo 1: Split Jump 2 x 4 each leg + Front Plank 2 x :45
  • Combo 2: Skater Squat 3 x 5 each leg +1-Arm Renegade Row 3 x 8 each arm
  • Combo 3: KB Swings 3 x 10 +1-KB Overhead Press 3 x 8 each arm
  • Finisher: Choose 1: A) Jump Rope 8 x :20/:20 or B) Tempo Run @ 75% for 10-12 seconds. Walk Back for 45-60 seconds. Repeat for 8 reps

Thursday: 11/26

  • Get in a Brisk 30 Minute Walk with Family

Friday: 11/27

  • Combo 1: Rotational Jump 2 x 3 each way + Side Plank 2 x :45 each side
  • Combo 2: Goblet Split Squat 3 x 8 each leg + Chin-ups 3 x AMP
  • Combo 3: Tempo Pushups 3 x AMP (2-1-1)+ 1-Leg KB Hip Hinge 3 x 8 each leg
  • Finisher: Choose 1: A) 1-KB Squat Jump 5 x :10/:40 or B) 100 Yard Shuttle x 4 with :45 rest

Approach 2: If You Have No Equipment Available, Try This:

Monday: 11/23

  • Combo 1: Broad Jump 2 x 5 + Bear Hold 2 x :45
  • Combo 2: Skater Squat 3 x 5 each leg + Pullups 3 x AMP
  • Combo 3: Plyo Pushups 3 x 8 + 1-Leg Bridge 3 x 12 each leg
  • Finisher: Choose 1: A) Burpees 5 x :20/:40 or B) Hill Sprint 5 x :10/:50

Tuesday: 11/24:

  • Get in a Brisk 30 Minute Walk with Family

Wednesday: 11/25

  • Combo 1: Split Jump 2 x 4 each leg + Front Plank 2 x :45
  • Combo 2: Bodyweight Split Squat 3 x 15 each leg + Inverted Row 3 x AMP
  • Combo 3: Supine Hamstring Walkout 3 x 10 + Wall Handstand 3 x :20
  • Finisher: Choose 1: A) Jump Rope 8 x :20/:20 or B) Tempo Run @ 75% for 10-12 seconds. Walk Back for 45-60 seconds. Repeat for 8 reps

Thursday: 11/26:

  • Get in a Brisk 30 Minute Walk with Family

Friday: 11/27

  • Combo 1: Rotational Jump 2 x 3 each way + Side Plank 2 x :45 each side
  • Combo 2: 1-Leg Box Squat 3 x 5 each leg + Chin-ups 3 x AMP
  • Combo 3: Tempo Pushups 3 x AMP (2-1-1)+ 1-Leg Hip Thrust 3 x 10 each leg
  • Finisher: Choose 1: A) Prisoner Squat Jump 5 x :10/:30 or B) 100 Yard Shuttle x 4 with :45 rest

The workouts above, if viewed through a normal lens, may appear insufficient or ineffective. However, if you absorbed the points about adjusting your mindset and looking at the week as a unique whole, then these workouts will allow you to be successful under the circumstances. At the end of the day, workouts are about creating the best solutions to fit time restrictions, equipment availability, and the overall situation. There is never an ideal workout, just ideal for the circumstances you find yourself in. The Thanksgiving Holiday week should be no different. At the end of the day, why would you want to feel bad that you did not get your normal workload in when you could feel great about maintaining your fitness under less than ideal circumstances?