Thanksgiving is supposed to be a celebration of the four F’s: family, food, football, and fun. But don’t let one turkey-size R—recklessness—spoil both your training and diet gains.
To help you stay both festive and responsible, we asked top trainer Michael Blauner, who has more than 30 years and thousands of sessions’ worth of knowledge, to design a workout routine that’ll help you enjoy the best of both worlds—hitting the gym and devouring the dinnertime spread—guilt-free.
His three-day No-guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan is created to hit the entire body and leave you feeling stronger by the weekend. His plan of attack will help you burn calories, develop strength and stamina, and keep you feeling great.
“‘You are what you eat’ is one of my favorite old sayings, and old sayings are typically old for a reason—because they usually make sense,” says Blauner, who is currently overseeing the revitalization of Excel Fitness in Hackensack, NJ, and can be found giving out tips on his Instagram page. “Curling 12oz at a time this week is not enough either. My new saying: Train as hard as you want to be.”
Day 1 of the No-guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan consists primarily of bodyweight exercises done in supersets. You’ll need less than an hour for this fast-paced workout, which will leave you feeling like you have more energy coming out than going in. For most exercises, go 12 to 15 reps, trying to finish each superset in under a minute. For pushups, pullups, and dips, perform as many reps as possible. Do each superset twice, resting only after the second exercise; if you’re feeling ambitious, you may do each superset three times.
Day 2—intended to be done on Thanksgiving—will be a hard-and-heavy weight-training session. Blauner says this workout, which focuses on big, powerful motions, will hit every major muscle group in the body. The goal of this workout is to maximize fatigue, which will lead the body to absorb extra protein, while the sustained elevated metabolism will help burn calories for longer. Once again, your workout will be performed superset-style, 8–12 reps per set. Afterward, indulge and enjoy, knowing that your body is making good use of all those calories.
Friday’s workout will be less intense than the previous two, leaving you with plenty of energy for Black Friday shopping. (You’re welcome.) Your challenge: Go for a run or hike in the park. If necessary, use a treadmill. Keep a pace of no less than 4mph. For each mile you complete, do two 100-yard all-out sprints (six sprints total). After the workout, you’ll do some basic calisthenics, and stretches of your choice.
The workout should take about an hour, leaving you plenty of time to prepare, indulge, and then go brawl with all the other crazies at Best Buy.
Go for it.