The gym in December is a strange place. It can be empty and quiet. That means it can be the best time of the year to get in shape!
These workouts will make sure you look your best for Christmas morning. You’re welcome!
Training to build muscle is a long process that many people seek and achieve. But, maintaining becomes the hardest part of it all, especially when the holidays come rolling in. We often want to take a well-earned break and enjoy the time of being able to do nothing. Something about these days just makes us want to stay in and relax. But, doing so could cause problems with your training program and workout gains. Some problems you’ll notice quickly. These include a small loss in muscle
These include a small loss in muscle gains and focus. You’ll also gain fat, lose your appetite and become too lazy to train. Other problems could erupt in the future. These include a significant loss in muscle gains, a lack of will to train, getting off your healthy diet and becoming lazy. We get it. This all sounds a bit much for enjoying the holidays. But, trainers have clients come in around the summertime who have gone through this process. For this reason, we have to keep track of your diet and ensure that you have workouts ready to keep your gains alive and body active. You will not be using any types of weights for these workouts.
For this reason, we have to keep track of your diet and ensure that you have workouts ready to keep your gains alive and body active. You will not be using any types of weights for these workouts. Why? They’re meant for the average person that has no equipment at home. But, having a kettlebell and some resistance bands at home isn’t a bad idea. This is the case because you will be focusing on strength and endurance training.
This will keep your body healthy and energized.
Bonus: Your present gains stick around as well.
Remember: During Christmas Muscle Gains Lost Are Harder To Gain Back…
Many say that after missing a few weeks of training their body feels like strength has been lost. There is actually an answer for this. There have been several studies conducted trying to figure out how long it actually takes to lose muscular strength. One has actually been able to find that it takes only two weeks of inactivity to start losing significant strength.
The Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark conducted a study that found that younger adults could lose 30% of their strength gains from being sedentary for at least two weeks. Normally we see muscle strength decline as we enter into our 30s. But, once you stop being physically active, your body begins to lose everything gained, and can progress into further decline as sedentary time continues. The Denmark study revealed another interesting fact.
Once the strength has been lost after only two weeks of being sedentary, you will have to train four days a week for six weeks just to get back to your original shape.
. This should only take 10 to 15 minutes out of your day.
How Rest Days Work For Recovery
The next question people often ask about 12 days of training is what about appropriate rest days?
The often-discussed rest day(s) is for recovery after putting your body through higher intensities than normal daily routines. This means something like lifting weights or intense bodyweight exercises. These physical activities cause tears in your muscle fibers that require at least 24 hours of rest for them to recover and be ready for more.
But, performing maintenance training requires no rest days because you will not be actively training hard enough to reach this fitness barrier. Instead, your body is given the ability to keep its gains because you performed simple exercises that activated your muscles long enough to get your blood pumping.
Do You Need Weights To Keep Muscle Gains During Christmas?
Yes, weights provide external force to create resistance against your muscles as they contract, and weights would be great to use for 12 days of preventing strength loss. But, we are more focused on the realistic type of holiday routine. You know that’s where you’re running around shopping, families are gathering, and most importantly gyms are closing. Your gym most likely already has signs up stating the holiday dates that they’ll be closed, and what dates have hours that will be shortened.
Our bodies can’t make out what is causing the muscles to contract under the external force. For example, you could curl a set of dumbbells, an iron pipe or a wooden log.
The muscle will still do the same type of contraction within the biceps as long as the objects weigh around the same. This means that if you do the movements that enable the contractions, then you can do training programs that involve exercises using only body weight for resistance.
The term for this is calisthenics. This can be done almost anywhere. There are lots of other benefits of bodyweight training. They include the fact that no equipment or gym is needed. It helps increase muscle strength and endurance. You’ll gain flexibility and mobility. As well, this type of training can be added into a well-designed workout program including weights. It can even provide cardiovascular conditioning. And, if that weren’t enough, it’s easy to do.
As you can see, bodyweight training has numerous benefits other than just being able to perform in any location. In fact, people often forget that calisthenics are quite beneficial when added into a superset with weighted exercises. Believe it or not, but there are people who can bench press 300 pounds, but can barely perform 50 push-ups in a row.
They are focused on purely performing muscle-strengthening exercises with little focus on muscular endurance.
Primary Bodyweight Exercises
There are five primary bodyweight exercises that we should focus on. They are squats, push-ups, dips, pull-ups and lunges. Each exercise is actually compound in nature.
Because each exercise targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously to give all the same benefits that a weighted exercise would. The only differences are that bodyweight exercises require either more reps or some type of different action such as negatives and burnouts. But, this mainly applies to situations where you’re trying to increase lean muscle mass without any weights.
With the 12 days of Christmas workout program, you’re doing them to keep your gains primarily, so this is just good info if you wish to go this route of training at some point.
12 Days Of Christmas Workout Program….
The workout program is going to consist of only bodyweight training techniques for the final 10 days. But, before this, you’ll do a full upper body workout, and then a full lower body workout. Afterward, the bodyweight training portion is done both morning and evening unless otherwise stated. Let’s get started with your gain maintenance!
This Is Day 1
The following exercises will be done with moderate weight settings. The amount of sets and reps given should allow you to do all exercises without failure until the end. Do the exercises properly to prevent any injuries before the holidays!
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 4 8-10
Deadlifts Regular Stance 4 8-10
Military Press 4 8-10
Barbell Incline Bench Press 4 8-10
Barbell Bent Over Rows 4 8-10
Arnold Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10
This Is Day 2.
The following exercises will be done with moderate weight settings. The number of sets and reps should allow you to do all the exercises without failure until the end. Use proper form. Why? You don’t want to have any injuries before the holidays.
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Squats 4 8-10
Barbell Lunges 4 8-10
Leg Press 4 8-10
Leg Extensions 4 8-10
Leg Curls 4 8-10
Calf Raises 4 8-10
This Is Day 3.
Day three is the start of your bodyweight training. But, you can continue the upper body training if you wish. The exercises chosen for this are push-ups and sun gods. Push-ups are a compound training exercise that uses multiple muscle groups to perform the action. Sun gods are intended to increase the endurance within your arms and shoulders. Do these in the morning and evening. Perform three sets of push-ups until failure for each, and between each set of push-ups perform sun gods circling forward for 30-second intervals.
This Is Day 4.
Day four can be the bodyweight training workout or the legs workout provided on the first two days. The exercise chosen is squats only. This exercise alone can increase leg strength and endurance. But, don’t expect to get any muscle mass. Do these in the morning and evening. Do five sets of squats until failure each time.
This Is Day 5.
The exercises chosen for this are push-ups and sun gods. Push-ups are a compound training exercise. They use multiple muscle groups to perform the action. Sun gods are done to boost your arms and shoulders endurance. Do these in the morning and evening. Perform three sets of push-ups until failure for each. Between each set of push-ups, you should do sun gods circling forward for 30-second intervals.
This Is Day 6.
Your sixth day of training can be the legs workout or the bodyweight training detailed in the first two days. You should do squats only. Squats can boost leg strength and endurance. Just don’t expect to get any muscle mass. Perform these in the morning and evening. Do five sets of squats until failure each time.
This Is Day 7.
Cardio time! Let’s keep your heart pumping while we make your muscles go through some nice contractions as well. The exercises chosen are jumping jacks, , climbers and high knees. Do them in the morning and evening. Take brief rests between sets.
Exercise Sets Reps
Jumping Jacks 3 30, 40, 50
Climbers 3 30, 40, 50
High Knees 3 30, 40, 50
This Is Day 8.
On the eighth day you should do full body workout burpees. This exercise is both strength training and cardio training together. You’ll perform them in the morning only. Take brief rests between sets. Do five sets of 20 reps.
This Is Day 9.
Let’s focus on the abs region only for this day’s workout plan. You’ll do exercises in the morning and evening. Take no rests between sets until you’ve gone through the whole series of exercises one time. You should then take a 30-second break before doing the second round of sets. Exercise Sets Reps
Crunch to Knees 2 30
Oblique Crunches 2 30
V-Crunches 2 30
Leg Raises 2 30
Flutter Kicks 2 30
This Is Day 10.
The exercises for this day are planks, push-ups and dips. These exercises placed together will increase muscle strength and core power. Do this both morning and night with no rest between sets until you’ve completed all three exercises.
Exercise Sets Reps Planks 3 30
seconds hold Push-ups 5 25 Dips 5 25
This Is Day 11.
Let’s focus on leg power and strength for day 11. You’ll be doing squats and wall sits with no rest between these exercises. Do them in the morning and evening.
Exercise Sets Reps
Wall Sits 5 30 seconds hold each time Squats 5 25
This Is Day 12.
Congrats on making it to day 12! You will do a variety of exercises in the morning. This will allow you to get a nice pump before going out. You’ll do all the exercises with a short rest period between each set. Exercise Sets Reps Lunges 3 20
Push-ups 3 20 Climbers 3 30
Jumping Jacks 3 30
Wall Sits 3 30 seconds Dips 3 20 Squats 3 20
All these exercises are capable of allowing you to maintain your gains over the holiday season. You shouldn’t suffer any losses in gains, flexibility or strength. Of course, none of these workouts are designed to give you actual gains unless you have just started to work out for the first time. But, that’s not you. You’re a gym junkie. And, with these exercises, you’ll stay fit throughout the holiday season.
– By Biran Pankau, CPT
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