Thanksgiving Workout: Begin, Burn, and Build in 30 minutes

During the holidays it’s easy for us to get off track. There is so much to do-shopping, cooking, decorations, entertaining. I have found that shorter, intense workouts help me to stay on track when time is an issue. They are not only more practical from a time management perspective but also in terms of consistency. We are more likely to exercise daily if it fits in our busy schedule. Also shorter workouts can deliver quite a bit of intensity, because there are so many exercises condensed into a brief period of time.

I  call this workout Begin, Burn, and Build because it really addresses all three. The Burn and Build are easy enough to define. Cardio and weight bearing exercise address both burning of fat and building of muscle. However, the “Begin” at first seems out of place. In my own experience I have found that beginning new goals doesn’t work well for me in the New Year. I have had better success starting new habits before or even during the holiday season. The little extra discipline and push at a challenging time of year makes us feel good, and when the New Year hits we are all ready off and running, ready to go!

Because this workout does contain a lot of different movements, feel free to take rest where needed and to modify speed, resistance, reps, and sets up or down for your fitness level and goals. It’s not about perfection. It’s about consistency.

Give this workout a try and let me know what you think. It begins with 15 minutes of cardio and ends with 15 minutes of weight training. Dumbbells are optional on this. You can use just bodyweight and work up to dumbbells once you have the form.

Begin with this 15 minute Spin Workout (can also use a recumbent or regular exercise bike and stay seated). RPE or rate of perceived exertion is on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hardest level and 1 the easiest. Adjust speed and tension for your fitness level.

  • 4 minutes:  Warm up. Seated 80 rpm with light tension
  • 4 minutes:  Seated. Increase resistance every minute. 80 rpm. Moderate tension.
  • 1 minutes:  Decrease resistance. 80 rpm light tension
  • 4 minutes: Stand and increase resistance every 30 sec. 50-70 rpm. Heavy tension
  • 1 minutes: Cool down at 75-80rpm and light resistance


After you complete the cardio workout, do the 15 minute muscle circuit. 3 to 4 Rounds

Squats moderate weight. 10 repetitions
Walking Lunges moderate weight 10 each leg, 20 steps total
Reverse Lunges No weight. Move quickly 10 each leg alternating for 20 steps total
Sumo Squats single moderate to heavy dumbbell   10 reps concentrating on depth and range of motion

And…if you have the extra time, it doesn’t hurt to end with a little hot sauna!

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