Stay Fit Through The Holidays With This Low Impact, High Intensity Thanksgiving Workout

November 20, 2017

Low-Impact, High-Intensity Pre-Thanksgiving Workout

With Thanksgiving around the corner, you may be wondering how to enjoy the holiday without ruining all of the hard work you’ve done to stay in shape. Taking a day off to eat, drink and socialize with friends and family should be a well-deserved, guilt-free event. The best way to prepare your body for a day of indulgence is to do calorie-burning cardio workouts the days leading up to the holiday. Lean up before the big day with a longer than normal session. Common sense says that overindulging yourself isn’t the smart thing to do or easy to recover from, but you can definitely enjoy a full meal and dessert without any weight gain if you plan your workouts around the holiday accordingly. Here is a low impact, high intensity, calorie-burning workout you can do anywhere before the big day. A resistance band is optional, but if you have access to one, use it to up the intensity and muscle toning on moves 3-5.

1. Stationary Skater: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width in parallel. Bend your right knee into a side lunge as you point your left foot. Lean slightly forward and bring your right arm behind you and your left arm forward with your elbows bent. Keep your abs pulled in and your shoulder blades down to maintain good posture. Stay in a low squat position as you transfer your weight to the left side into a side lunge and switch your arms. Continue skating side-to-side quickly, switching your arms each time for 1 minute. You may add light hand weights to this move to increase the intensity.

2. Plank Pike: Place your hands on the floor and walk them forward to a plank position. Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists. As you pike up by pulling your abs in, tap your left hand to your right knee. Place your left hand back down as you return to your plank and repeat with your right hand to your left knee as you pike up again. Continue alternating sides for 1 minute. (If you are far along in your pregnancy, you can modify this move by doing a plank on your knees.)

3. Shuffle Punch: Place a resistance band around your ankles to get an outer thigh workout with the next two moves. Stand with your legs slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart or just enough so that there is slight tension in your band. Hold your hands in fists in front of your chest. Step to the right with your right foot, then left, then right again. Tap your left toe on the ground as you punch your left hand out across your body to the right. Repeat on the other side, starting with the left foot. Keep the pace fast in these going for 2 minutes straight.

4. Squat Kick: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or far apart enough to keep the resistance band taut if you have one around your ankles. Your hands will stay together in front of your chest. Squat down, making sure to keep your weight on your heels and your knees no farther than your toes. As you rise up, kick your right leg up to the side in parallel and land back in your squat position on both legs. Rise up again, kicking with your left leg. Repeat at a quick pace, alternating sides each time. Do this for 1 minute.

5. Lunging Knee Ups: You may hold the resistance band taut around your wrists to work more of your shoulders or just hold your arms shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms above your head as you lunge back with your left leg forward and your right leg back. Keep your weight mostly on the front left heel only letting the ball of your right foot tap the ground. Press off the left leg to straighten it as you pull your right knee in and up to your waist, lowering your elbows down to meet your knee. Continue on the same side without pausing for 1 minute. Repeat on the other leg for another minute.

For the best results, take a few minutes rest and then repeat the entire routine 1-2 more times. Follow up Thanksgiving with a metabolism boosting HIIT workout.

Do you have a special workout regime you like to do around the holidays to stay in shape?

Also by Crystal: You Don’t Need A Waist Trainer—Do These Tummy Cinching Exercises Instead (Video)

Related: Post-Holiday Fitness: 4 Ways to Reset Your Body

10 Ways to Maintain Healthy Eating During the Holidays

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Video: Crysal Chin

Crystal Chin
Crystal is a professional dancer, writer and certified Pilates instructor based in Los Angeles. She inspires people to dance their true colors in life, never compromising their own self worth for any person, job or societal standard. She teaches her students about mindful movement and healthy living. When not writing, teaching, or dancing, she is learning all the beautiful life lessons her two dogs teach her just by their existence--forgiveness, being present and how to be unapologetically herself. Check out Crystal's blog at and follow her on Instagram crystalannchin, Twitter @CrystalAnnChin and Facebook.


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