Thanksgiving Workout: Exercises For Before and After Turkey Day

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

thanksgiving workout

Avoid packing on unwanted holiday pounds this Turkey Day by choosing effective Thanksgiving workouts the day of your feast and all week long!

Doing so is one of the best ways to maintain a lean physique and avoid feeling sluggish this holiday season.

A Thanksgiving workout isn't just beneficial on the day or week of Thanksgiving, as you can incorporate the exercises below into your routine all year long to get or stay ripped!

Remember, it's best not to do a Thanksgiving workout right after a large Thanksgiving feast.

Many people prefer to exercise in the morning or before their Thanksgiving dinner.

After dinner, help clean up the meal, go for walk outside with your family, or do another activity that keeps your body moving.

Then get rolling again on Friday.

Don't let Thanksgiving scare you into thinking that weight gain is inevitable — it's not!

Stay on track all through the holidays with this 30-day December workout plan! 

 

7-Day Thanksgiving Workout

Consider this 7-day Thanksgiving workout before, during, and after Turkey Day!

Workout 1: Circuit Training

Do each of the exercises in your circuit for a minute.

Then, rest for a minute if needed and complete the following circuit.

Do at least two sets of each circuit in the set.

Add dumbbells or kettlebells if you need extra resistance.

Circuit 1

  • Mountain climbers
  • Jump squats
  • Shoulder-touch planks
  • Front raises

Circuit 2

  • Burpees
  • Sumo squats
  • Plank jacks
  • Upright rows

Circuit 3

  • Rope jumping
  • Man makers OR squat to press with dumbbells
  • Plank rows
  • Lateral raises

Workout 2: HIIT (20-30 minutes), Long Cardio (30-60 minutes), or Weightlifting

Take your pick of workouts on day two, depending on your fitness level, body weight goals, and workout preferences.

Choose weight training exercises, HIIT, longer cardio, or combinations of cardio and strength workouts.

Workout 3: Circuit Training

Do each of the exercises in your circuit for a minute.

Then, rest for a minute if needed and complete the following circuit.

Do at least two sets of each circuit in the set.

Add dumbbells or kettlebells if you need extra resistance.

Circuit 1

  • Jumping jacks
  • Jumping lunges
  • Crunches
  • Pushups

Circuit 2

  • High knees
  • Side lungs
  • Russian twists
  • Triceps extensions

Circuit 3

  • Tuck jumps
  • Weighted walking lunges
  • Leg raises
  • Triceps kickbacks

Workout 4: Rest, Light Cardio, or Yoga

It's your call if you need to take a day of rest, do yoga, or complete light cardio on day four of your Thanksgiving workout week.

Workout 5: Circuit Training

Do each of the exercises in your circuit for a minute.

Then, rest for a minute if needed and complete the following circuit.

Do at least two sets of each circuit in the set.

Add dumbbells or kettlebells if you need extra resistance.

Circuit 1

  • Box jumps
  • Deadlifts
  • Bicycle
  • Front double biceps curls

Circuit 2

  • Box step-ups
  • Bent-over reverse flys
  • Ab roller exercises
  • Lateral double biceps curls

Circuit 3

  • Skaters
  • Back extensions
  • Side planks
  • Alternating biceps curls

Workout 6: HIIT (20-30 minutes), Long Cardio (30-60 minutes), a Turkey Trot, or Weightlifting

Add it to your Thanksgiving workout routine if you'd like to run in a local turkey trot or other race.

If you're not a runner, do other forms of cardio or muscle-toning exercises instead.

Workout 7: Rest, Light Cardio, or Yoga

Choose a lighter workout, yoga, or rest on day seven.

It's important to listen to your body.

Even if you choose to rest, avoid sitting down all day — keep your body moving with activities of daily living!

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Muscle-Building Exercises

Use weights you have at home or hit the gym to complete a Thanksgiving muscle-building workout.

You might choose upper-body workouts, lower-body exercises, or full-body weightlifting exercises to train targeted muscles and get your blood pumping.

Examples of muscle-building exercises that work each of the main muscle groups include:

Shoulders

To train your shoulders, try seated or standing shoulder press, incline shoulder press, lateral raises, front raises, bent-over reverse flys, upright rows, seated rows, plank rows, and pike pushups.

Arms

Work your arms by choosing biceps curls with dumbbells, biceps curls with a barbell, hammer curls, incline curls, prone dumbbell curls, triceps extensions, triceps kickbacks, triceps pull-downs, triceps dips, diamond push-ups, skull crushers, reverse curls, and wrist curls.

Back

Train your upper and lower back by doing bent-over dumbbell rows, bent-over reverse flys, lateral pulldowns, seated rows, deadlifts, back extensions, plank rows, wide-grip pullups, pushups, upright rows, kettlebell swings, and good mornings.

Chest

Train your chest by doing wide-grip pushups, narrow-grip push-ups, diamond push-ups, incline pushups, bench presses, incline presses, decline presses, flys, cable crossovers, parallel bar dips, and alternating dumbbell bench presses.

Legs

Don't forget to train your legs regularly by doing squats, jump squats, lunges, leg presses, hamstring curls, leg extensions, calf raises, deadlifts, wall sits, side squats, alternating jumping lungs, walking dumbbell lunges, and box step-ups.

Hips

Strengthen and stretch your hips by using a hip adduction/abduction machine.

You can also incorporate standing lateral leg raises and side-stepping with a resistance band into your weekly routine.

Abs

You can train your abs just about every day if you want to!

Mix and match the following: crunches, planks, sit-ups, weighted sit-ups, lying oblique crunches, standing oblique crunches, side planks, leg raises, leg raises with an exercise ball, the bicycle, and mountain climbers.

Other options include ab roller exercises, hanging knee raises, exercise ball crunches, lying flutter kicks, medicine ball Russian twists, plank jacks, shoulder-touch planks, and V-ups.

You might work on only certain muscle groups during each strength-training routine, combine strength exercises with cardio workouts, or do full-body strength training as part of your Turkey Day workout routine.

Check out the Fit Father Project YouTube Channel to learn how to do the above exercises — and so much more!

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Additional Ways to Stay Active on Thanksgiving

In addition to doing fat-burning, muscle-building Thanksgiving workouts, there are other ways to keep active this holiday season and all throughout the year!

Keep your body moving as much as possible by:

  • Doing yard work
  • Playing sports
  • Being active outdoors with your kids
  • Washing windows
  • Cleaning the floors
  • Vacuuming
  • Walking your dog
  • Power washing
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Grocery shopping
  • Cooking
  • Doing dishes

Any activity that keeps your body moving enhances calorie burning and helps you avoid unwelcome holiday weight gain on Thanksgiving — and all year long.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Other Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Doing Thanksgiving workouts isn't the only way to avoid holiday weight gain this season.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep regularly, minimize stress, and drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Most importantly, maintaining a healthy diet plan is vital.

Choose nutritious foods, nix high-calorie deserts, and limit or avoid alcohol.

Practice Perfect Plates by filling half of each plate of food with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with fiber-rich starches (sweet potatoes, corn, peas, dried beans, whole grains, etc.), and turkey or other protein-rich foods.

Add heart-healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc.) to each meal, and don't forget to consume dairy foods or calcium-rich plant-based equivalents three times a day.

Eat your non-starchy vegetables and protein foods first before the higher-carb options to avoid overindulging.

It's usually best to consume frequent meals throughout the day, rather than just two or three larger meals.

That way, you're less likely to get extremely hungry and overindulge during the Thanksgiving feast.

If the holiday season is stressing you out, avoid eating for emotional reasons.

If you find yourself reaching for snacks because you're bored, depressed, anxious, or stressed, go for a walk or do something else you enjoy instead of eating.

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on a Thanksgiving workout.

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

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