Workout Guide to the Month of December

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, the craziest month of the year is upon us.

December is a time for holiday shopping, parties, and eating a ton of food.

I have a very small family and have a minimum of 4 Christmas parties this year. I can only imagine what that means for people with larger get-togethers.

As good as this month is for all of the positives; it is horrendous for progress in the gym.

Training is usually an afterthought for most people, and they will only get to the gym if they can squeeze it in.

For those that are willing to make time to train and continue their progress, there are a couple of modifications that we can make.

Sessions need to be time efficient, focused, and yield a high benefit when performed.

Doing 14 drop sets of bicep curls might seem awesome when you have all the time in the world but it doesn’t cut the mustard when the schedule fills up.

  1. Focus on the big rocks

Every workout should have 1 exercise that is the absolute priority. If it is a squat day, then all effort goes into the squat and the rest of the session is supplemental or accessory work.


There is not enough hours in the day to have heavy cleans, squats, and deadlifts in one day.

After you have the priority, all other exercises are designed to supplement or complement that exercise. An RDL will help develop the hamstrings in a way that the squat does not and walking lunges train single leg strength.

Pretend I told you that you could only perform one lift for a given day and then you have to leave the gym. These are the exercises that should get the brunt of your attention. 

  1. Narrow your focus

It is easy to get lost as to what kind of exercise is best for this time of year.

On one end, you may want to train just to counteract the overindulgences of food and drinks. Conversely, you may just want to continue doing what you have been to maintain progress.

Both options work and surviving the holidays can be broken down into 2 simple options; train for as much strength as possible or get the heart rate through the roof with resistance training.

Training for strength goes with the above point and the second option is traditionally done by metabolic finishers.

When the schedule gets crazy, a finisher can be a whole workout. Here are a few examples:

KB/DB Complex 1

Holding a kettlebell or a dumbbell perform:

10 swings

10 squats

10 deadlifts

10 overhead presses

Repeat for 10 minutes

KB/DB Complex 2

8 overhead presses on one arm

Carry the kettlebell 20 yards in the same hand

8 overhead presses on the other arm

Carry the kettlebell back in the 2nd hand

Repeat for rows and RDL’s

Sled Push Complex

Sled push 15 yards

A challenging set of pushups (should be able to perform 4 rounds)

Sprint 15 yards and back

Plank for 30 seconds

Repeat for 4 sets

Some of these finishers can take about 10 minutes. Sometimes that is all that is needed when the schedule gets hectic.

It is important to make your workouts as efficient as possible during the holiday season. Focus on what is important and make sure that part of the workouts gets done well.

Do not worry about cardio if your goal is to get strong.

It is important not to get lost in the shuffle when time is tight.