Use These 12 Holiday Fitness Hacks to Leapfrog Into the New Year

Use These 12 Holiday Fitness Hacks to Leapfrog Into the New Year
Presented by Spartan Training®

Spoiler alert: You’re strong enough. That’s not the issue. The question, during this crazy-busy holiday season, is whether you can keep in touch with your exercise habit with the tumult of the holidays.

After all, staying healthy and fit during the holidays is no simple task. There’s lots of bread to break and glasses to clink. Training routines are often interrupted. Regular workouts are cut short—or out.

That’s why we created this 12-day series of fitness games, hacks and dares, with the help of Spartan’s top trainers. Nothing on this list will be too difficult or time-consuming. But together they’ll lay a rock-hard foundation for yearlong commitment to health and fitness.

Up for some games to keep your exercise habit alive? Excellent.

Exercise Habit Holiday Playground

Day 1

 Go for a run

Gym closed? Lace up, says Madeline Dolente, Spartan SGX trainer and owner of MadFitness in Washington, D.C. “The holidays are a great time to work on speed and endurance. Add 30 burpees and a 1-minute plank after every mile.”

Day 2

 30 for 30

As soon as you bounce out of bed, do 30 squats and pushups, says Spartan SGX Trainer Billy Heatherly. In fact, consider this your daily morning exercise habit for the rest of the year. That way, even if your day gets eaten alive by work deadlines or family responsibilities, you’ve managed to get a mini-workout under your belt.

Day 3

Eat more protein

It’s time to be nice to your stomach again. Cut back on carbs and “focus on getting ample protein at every meal, which helps ward off muscle loss,” says Tina Kuharski, a personal trainer and nutrition coach at Life Time Fitness in Maple Grove, Minnesota. “This also creates thermogenesis, which requires the body to expend more energy to digest food.”

How much protein? Here’s the formula:

  1. Start with your weight in pounds, and divide by 2.2. The result is your weight in kilograms.
  2. Multiply your weight in kilograms by a number that represents your daily activity level: 0.8 for no activity, 1.2 for light activity, 1.5 for moderate activity, and 1.8 for strenuous activity.
  3. The resulting number is the number of grams of protein you should eat on a daily basis.

Day 4


You may be feeling a little stiff after watching The Santa Clause on repeat for days. Add some easy yoga movements to your daily exercise habit, says Dolente.

Great moves for a good stretch: mountain pose, child’s pose, and downward dog. Do the moves as a circuit, holding each for 5 to 10 breaths, and complete three to five circuits. Make sure you breathe deeply and exhale completely.

Day 5

Take 5

If you can find five gold rings, hang from them and do some pullups. Otherwise, lean on this lucky number to advance a fitness goal, suggests Dolente.

Want to improve your grip? Do five rounds of 1-minute dead hangs. Want to get faster? Do five sprints at the track. Want to jumpstart your endurance? Add 5 minutes to the time you spend running or climbing floors on the Stepmill.

Day 6

 Get up and out

Spend extra time on your feet when you’re not working out, says New Hampshire–based Spartan SGX coach Todd Cambio. Cycle to the store. Walk to a friend’s house. Take the steps every chance you get.

The days of taking the path of least resistance are over. This type of resistance training is good for you too.

Day 7

Phone a fit friend

Ring in the New Year by recruiting a workout buddy to keep you accountable for your fitness goals in 2018, suggests Taylor Walker, a Spartan SGX and nutrition coach based in Miami Beach, Florida. You do the same for him or her.

And if fitness friends are hard to come by, “find an instructor that inspires you and makes you want to work harder every session,” she says.

Day 8

Add an item to your bucket list

Should old acquaintance be forgot, give them a day to remember. Gather friends, grab some buckets, and head to the hills, suggests Karissa Dougherty, Spartan SGX trainer at Synergy Fitness Center in Fresno, California.

“Fill that bucket up and start walking,” she says. “Track your distance and every quarter mile set down your bucket and crank out 10 burpees.” Consider making this a holiday tradition. 

Day 9

Cut your toasting

The time for raising glasses is finally over. Now is the time to cut back on alcohol and sweet beverages. Swap mealtime drinks with water, says Dolente, and along with beer and wine, avoid calorie-loaded beverages such as fruit juice and soda.

Day 10

Embrace the suck

If you live in the northern hemisphere, January is generally the coldest month. It’s tempting to take your workout inside, or put it off till tomorrow. Don’t. “The weather doesn’t tell you if you can train or not,” says Heatherly. “It just tells you what to wear.”

If you don’t have cold-weather workout gear, today’s the day you’ll fix that. Then check out these 4 Cold-Weather Training Tips That Will Spike Your Performance.

Day 11

Lock in a daily burn

You’re likely back in your routine of work, family, and friends, and wondering how you’re going to keep your exercise habit front and center. We have a few ideas:

  • Check out our daily Workout of the Day. We post a new workout every weekday.
  • Download our new bodyweight workout plan. No weights. No machines. No fancy bands or bouncy balls. Just you, your body, and the commitment to put in the effort. It really is that easy.
  • Sign up for Daily Burn’s Spartan Training program. This is a follow-along workout—you do what the trainer does. There’s no an easier way to get a safe, effective, Spartan-approved workout. Plus, your first month is free and you can workout anytime, anywhere.

Day 12

Commit to 2019. Let your exercise habit thrive.

Amp up your fitness and wellness routine NOW. Click here to find a Spartan Race close to you!