12 days of fitness workoutt

On the first day of Christmas, my trainer gave to meeeeee…

a set of 10 sumo burpees. 😉 

HEN 4997

Hi friends! How’s the morning treating you? It’s been chilly and blustery over here. Definitely feels like winter. 🙂 It was a pretty low-key evening last night, with a super simple dinner: chicken, sweet potatoes, sautéed carrots and zucchini + wine. (The carrots were from Liv; she threw them in the cart at People’s and was like “I would like some carrots.” Not going to argue with that one.)  I also got in some easy cardio and strength from PBB

’Tis the season for emphasizing quick, functional workouts with the busy holiday festivities. It can be a little trickier to get in workouts from the end of November until January. While gym time can be more limited, it’s just as awesome to get in a quick workout when you can.

This time of year, we’re also flooded with (lame) articles about how many miles you need to jog to “run off that eggnog.” How many squats you need to do to “work off that turkey and stuffing.” And this is me:

Liz lemon eye roll

A friendly reminder that you don’t need to “exercise away” any of the holiday treats, and it doesn’t really work like that anyway. It’s not like you get on the treadmill and a sleeve of Oreos magically disappears. I like a grand scheme of things approach: sticking to a routine over the long haul so seasons of treats + boozy delights here and there just make life more fun. Enjoy the season, friends. 🙂

Here’s a quick workout you can do anywhere. All you need is a set of dumbbells! Run through the circuit at least once, and if you’re feeling feisty, you can complete it up to 3 times. As always, check with a doc before making any fitness changes. Honor your body and modify as needed.

12 days of fitness

Form cues and tips:

Squat presses: keep your feet under your hips and weight in your heels. As you press the weights up overhead, keep your core firm and shoulders down.

Diamond pushups: come into a down dog position and make a diamond shape with your hands. Bend your elbows out the side, exhale and press to straighten. Avoid completely locking out the elbows.

Walking lunges: make sure that you’re set before you sink down into your lunge. Aim for 90 degrees with your front and back legs, with a tight core and straight spine.

Hip extensions: really think about using your glutes to lift your leg. It doesn’t matter how high you lift; keep both hip bones in one line. (For this one, it’s 9 on each side.)

Fly and rows: make sure to lift up through your core and keep a nice, straight spine without rounding or arching the back. For your flyes, stop with the weights in line with your shoulders. For your rows, really think about squeezing and engaging between the shoulder blades.

Bicep pulses: tiny 2-inch movements at the hardest part of the exercise, when elbows are 90 degrees.

Shoulder raises: stop with the dumbbells at shoulder height, and lower down slowly with control.

Planks in 3s: hold a plank for 3 seconds, lower onto your knees and repeat 5 times. This prevents supporting muscles from kicking in. This way, it’s purely ab power.

Serve the platter: start in a plank or modified plank. Stabilize yourself and reach one hand forward. Alternate to the other side. For an extra challenge, lift the opposite leg, too. (4 on each side.)

Plank and rotate: rotate to a side plank or modified plank and back to center. Take your time and concentrate on lifting the bottom oblique as you twist. (3 on each side.)

Triceps pushups: start on your knees or toes. As you lower down, squeeze your elbows in and keep them close to your torso. Stop with elbows in line with your torso, and exhale to squeeze and rise.

Sumo burpees: come into a sumo squat and reach down to plank your hands into the floor. Walk or jump back into a plank position. Walk or jump your feet back to your hands and spring up, reaching towards the ceiling. Land with a soft knee.

12 days of fitness workout

Let me know if you give it a try! What’s your go-to workout when your schedule is extra busy?



Photos by Henry Young

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  1. Now I have to wonder what chilly and blustery means to San Diego since it’s currently 60 degrees and sunny in Connecticut. lol. I will SOOOO take it this year after this past winter of snowstorms every single Monday for a solid month and a half. 🙂

    • Haha, I know, right? I was like… grrrrrrl u live in San Diego! Don’t play! I’m in CT, too, but last year those blizzards didn’t start till January and I remember wearing no coat at my engagement party on Dec 26, so we might be really in for it again! GAH!

      Thanks for the workout inspiration, Gina! Did a few of these this morning (modified since I’m expecting!)
      xx Jan

      • I live in San Diego too, and I can attest Gina’s comment. It has been SO cold!!! But then again, cold for me… is under 50 degrees. 😉 I’m a self-aware wimp. I don’t know how you do it CT!

      • I didn’t go to work on a Monday for about 5 straight weeks this Winter because of the storms. lol. I could definitely go for SoCal chilly. I can’t complain about this year’s weather though…I’m almost 37 weeks pregnant and every week closer to my due date that there’s no snow makes me very happy. 😉

      • Fitnessista says:

        congratulations to you! and yes, i’m totally a wuss with this *cold*
        i don’t know what i’d do if i lived somewhere where it actually snows haha

  2. Ohhh, I love (and hate) the idea of sumo burpees! Great workout, Gina 🙂

  3. My go to for a quick workout is jumping on the spin bike and doing circuits usually 3 rounds. People always comment how I’m really busting to move when I do it. I feel like not enough people are working that hard at my gym really. They need to get better tunes, a kick in the butt or something!

  4. I’m so with you on the exercise away what you eat thing. It’s crazy! Yay for 12 days of fitness!

  5. Helene @healthyfrenchie says:

    My back is starting to heal, so I might give it a try with low weights tonight! Thanks 🙂
    And for me at this time of the year what makes it hard is having to change. Normally I would come home from work, put on some workout clothes and do my thing. Then I can shower and put on something comfy. These days, I have some xmas party or drinks nearly every day! So usually feel a little too lazy to undress, put on sports clothes, workout, shower, dress up again especially since most of those events are casual so I normally go in work clothes…

  6. This looks like a great quick workout. I’ll have to give it a try this week. It’s always nice to have a workout that I can do at home when I don’t have the time to go to a class.

  7. I bet I could make a sleeve of oreos disappear while I was on the treadmill but I’d bet I’d get some funny looks! I agree, it doesn’t work that way! 😉 I’ve been cranking out at home workouts lately until I got a little case of the sniffles, this will be a good one to get back into things!

  8. Looks like a great workout! Can’t wait to try it out 🙂 I like quick circuit workouts with cardio blasts on busy days.

  9. I’m jotting this one down now to take with me to do today… if the little one cooperates with me. I don’t really have any “quickie” workouts. I just do what I can. Right now I’m really trying to focus on a little yoga in the morning. As much as I’d love to bust out the 40 minute to an hour yoga workouts, it just ain’t happening right now.

  10. Love the holiday theme 🙂

  11. Can’t wait to try this workout tonight. I’m also annoyed by all the articles.. I’m going to eat what I’m want and I’m not going to worry about it. Everything in moderation. Going around being scared to eat holiday treats just doesn’t sound fun at all!

  12. Love this! I did a 12 Days of Christmas workout too a few days back: http://www.smartgirlslift.com/2015/12/11/12-days-of-christmas-workout-friday-favorites/

  13. Glad you’re able to workout again! It must feel nice:) I like to do some quick body weight stuff and pop in a workout dvd:)

  14. I did this workout after my VERY short run and it was awesome!!! My favorite were the diamond pushups & sumo squats…thanks Gina!

    My fave go to workout would be quick ab & arm session at home…

  15. I love your philosophy. My spin studio (which is usually a lovely accepting non judgmental place) kept using the phrase “earn your turkey” during thanksgiving and i just felt BARF. I don’t need to earn my food thankyouverymuch I am a grown woman. I’ll exercise to keep my life in balance but if I want to eat cookie dough and not work out one day during the holidays, so be it.

    My favorite workout during a busy holiday week is spin! It feels like the most bang for my buck! But it usually has to be followed by yoga to stretch out my hips after crunching them up on the bike!

  16. Is there any difference in doing walking lunges versus stationary lunges and changing stabilizing way halfway through your set?

  17. Trying this workout tonight! Favorite type- fast, little equipment with pics and explanations!

  18. When things are crazy busy, I try to squeeze in some intervals on the treadmill or, if I’m really stressed/tired, a short (15-20 minute) yoga session. Can’t wait to try this workout though!

    And totally agree about those annoying “run off your holiday food” articles! 🙂

  19. I tried to comment on the giveaway, but it kept crashing. Too popular I guess! Happy holidays to your and your fam.

  20. My go to workout when I am super busy is your total body tabata workout! And also this quick tabata superset: http://www.thebalancedberry.com/tabata-training-101/

    I can’t wait to try this workout out! Thanks Gina! Happy holidays to you and your family <3

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much! happy you like the tabata workout! i’ll check out the one you linked, too
      have a very happy holiday season <3

  21. I am cracking up right now at your meme about counting calories for holiday meals. There was a spin instructor once during class talking about she had to run so many hours to burn off the calories she ate. First of all, that’s not even how it works, and second of all, MAJOR eye roll!! Thanks for the funniness!! 🙂

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