I’ve definitely disappeared to the gym on holiday mornings before. I’m not proud of it. Ghosting on my family and friends for over an hour to lift heavy things and look at myself in the mirror (while they baste turkeys and scrub toilets) isn’t the best look.
But I go, generally, because I feel better about myself on days that I’ve worked out. My mind feels a bit sharper, and there’s no greater feeling than sweating and showering before the day really gets going — especially when you’re in for an eating extravaganza. It’s the same reason I try to work out on vacations.
That said, it’s possible to fit in a quick scorcher on a holiday morning without offending anybody: there are countless regimens on the internet that will turn your muscles into silly putty in 10 minutes or less. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below. These routines are ideal for basements, hotel gyms and driveways, require little to no equipment, and won’t preclude you from being a good, well-prepared host, or meeting your planned ETD for heading over to Grandma’s.
Don’t Drop the Bar
If I oversleep and have very little time to squeeze in a morning lift, I turn to this Chris Hemsworth and Luke Zocchi gem every single time. It’s a barbell workout, which can be accomplished with either a straight bar or an EZ bar. Put minimal weight on either side (five pounds at the most), then cycle through seven different exercises, doing 10 reps of each, for five full sets:
- Close grip vertical row
- Lunges left + right
- Overhead press
- Close grip tricep extension
- Bent-over row
- Bicep curl
The catch, as the name suggests, is that you can’t drop that bar. Not for a sip of water, not to check your phone. You’re completely locked in. That makes the workout go pretty quickly, which is why it’s ideal for the 10-minute format. It also makes it brutal. Sweat will be swimming down your nose. I’d recommend it leaving alone: wipe it, and it’ll just be more difficult to retain your grip on the bar. This is mostly an arms routine, though the lunges give it a full-body element.
Siphiwe Baleka is a triathlete, champion swimmer, health editor and full-time truck driver who gained 15 pounds over his first two months on the job. Unsurprisingly, trucking is America’s unhealthiest occupation. Baleka decided to combat those long hours of sitting and greasy truck-stop food with a regimen he calls “4-Minute Fit.” (He even wrote a book about it.) The concept: Before truck drivers sit down at the driver’s seat, they should exert maximum energy for four minutes. It doesn’t matter what their fitness level is, how much they weigh, or even what exercise they do. They just have to go all-out, and catalyze their metabolism in doing so, thus making sure they’re still burning calories while driving. It’s a fascinating prescription, and one you can definitely employ on a holiday morning. We’d recommend trying some of Baleka’s favorite exercises for four minutes, a couple of which — shadow boxing and knee crushers — are outlined in the video above. Think of this as a full-body endurance exercise. Get that heart rate up, and keep it there until you’re zonked and can tap out.
Jumping Rope with Oladije, Jr.
Michael Oladije, Jr., calls jumping rope “the most convenient, efficient and effective exercise in the game.” The former professional boxer runs a gym in NYC called Aerospace High Performance Center, has trained supermodels like Adriana Lima and Doutzen Kroes, and recently gave us the perfect 30-minute workout for jumping rope. It was delightfully simple: “Put together a playlist of 8-10 inspirational songs that will really get you going. Jump the length of each song, and take a 60-second break it between.” He acknowledged that that workout is virtually impossible for a beginner, and for you on a holiday morning, it’s laughably undesirable. So we’re urging you to go for 10 minutes. Queue up three songs, jump the length of each, and rest for 30 seconds in between. You’ll be a mess by the end. Remember to keep your jumps low (jumping too high makes the regimen a wannabe-anaerobic exercise) and lead with your hands, instead of your feet.
300 Abs Workout
Last spring, fellow InsideHook editor Alex Lauer and I tried our hands at getting six packs in 30 days. It went fairly well, all things considered. Among a variety of routines I turned to during those days, I enjoyed a quick workout I found online dubbed the “Spartan 300 Abs Workout” — in reference to both the movie that featured all those chiseled cores, and the amount of reps in the workout itself. I’d recommend this routine to anyone, especially someone pressed for time; it works in plank touches, scissors kicks, mountain climbers … you name it. All you need is a mat. Without rest, you can easily complete the whole thing in under 10 minutes.