12 Days of Fitness Advent Challenge

Happy December 1st! 

As a festive holiday lover, I’m so excited to be final counting down the days to Christmas. Although I’m aware that for many of us this is going to be a totally different occasion to the ones we have previously enjoyed. 

Alas, with the festival of indulgence upon us I am relieved that most of us in the UK will be allowed back to the gym. There is no better excuse than Christmas to overindulge and be gluttonous but I always try to maintain a gym schedule so I don’t turn into a couch potato and undo my year of hard work. 

To be completely transparent I have found Lockdown 2.0 really hard and just not had the motivation for home-workouts. The gyms opening up on the 3rd is certainly a huge relief for me and if you are struggling to find the motivation to get back in the gym then why not attempt my advent challenge?

Here is a 12-day challenge that you can incorporate into your gym workout:

Recommended equipment

Yoga Mat

Dumbbells

Kettlebells

Day 1: Ab Challenge

12 reps for each exercise, no rest between each exercise. Repeat the set 3 times with a 30-second rest between each set.

  1. Mason twists (try adding a 6kg weighted ball)
  2. Heel taps 
  3. Bicycles 
Day 2: 2.5 km run or 5km cycle 
Day 3: Leg Day

12 reps for each exercise, no rest between each exercise. Repeat the set 3 times with a 30-second rest between each set. 

Squat + weight

  • Using a dumbbell/ kettlebell or weighted ball hold the weight close to your chest and squat

Reverse lunges + weight

  • Using dumbbells or kettlebells hold the weights either side of your body and let them hang whilst lunging 
  • My favourite is using a sandbag and placing it across my shoulders

Romanian deadlifts + weight 

  • Using dumbbells or kettlebells hold the weights in front of your thighs, bend your knees to a 45-degree angle, so the weights are now level with your knees, and stick your bum out. Then slowly squeeze your glutes whilst returning to a standing position
Day 4: 100 consecutive skips 
Day 5: 5 pull-ups

If you have never tried these before then this might sound like an easy challenge but attempt to do 5 pull-ups in a row. If you already know your pull up max then try to hit that!

Day 6: Ab Challenge 2

12 reps for each exercise, no rest between each exercise. Repeat the set 3 times with a 30-second rest between each set. 

  1. Mountain Climbers
  2. In and out crunches
  3. 1-minute plank
Day 7: Arm Day

12 reps for each exercise, no rest between each exercise. Repeat the set 3 times with a 30-second rest between each set.

Weighted Lateral Raise

  • With dumbbells in each hand, raise the weights from the side of your body to shoulder height

Overhead tricep extension 

  • With dumbbells in each hand, start with elbow bent over your head and weights positioned at shoulder blades, slowly extend your arms straight above your head

Row and tricep extension 

  • With dumbbells in each hand, first start off by bending your knees, pushing your butt back bend forward so your chest is in line with the floor
  • For the row: extend your arms fully and then bend your elbows bringing the weights towards your waist
  • For the tricep extension: In the same position you finished the row in, with weights at your waist, slowly extend your arms straight behind you and then bend your elbows bringing them back into your waist
Day 8: Hit 10,000 steps 
Day 9: Leg Day 2 

Leg Press

  • The most effective way of using the leg press machine that I have found is to do 4 sets
  • On your first set start with a weight you are more than comfortable with just to warm up 
    • For me this is 80kg, I know I can easily do 12 reps and my legs don’t burn after
  • For the next set increase the weight
    • Again, for me, this is adding an extra 10kg. I can comfortably do all 12 reps but my legs can feel the impact
  • For the next 2 sets, hit your max and feel the burn
    • For me, this is 110kg or 120 kg, I know that depending on my workouts for the week sometimes I really struggle with the 120kg 

*I’m just saying the weights I use as an example to help explain my workout process. Please don’t feel pressured to achieve these goals as it will only cause injury*

Abductor Machine

  • Yes, this is the machine that everyone associates with giving birth, it isn’t the most flattering exercise but it really works!
  • For this machine, I would do 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Starting with a weight you are really comfortable with 
    • For me, this is 45kg
  • The other 2 sets try it at your max weight, ensuring you hit all 12 reps
    • For me, this ranges between 55 or 60kg, again dependent on the tiredness of my legs from my recent sessions 

Hip Thrusts

  • Lying on your back use either the bar from the squat rack or weighted ball place gently onto your lower abdomen
  • Bend your knees and with your feet flat on the floor, make a V shape with your legs
  • Slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling, ensuring your core is tight and your back is straight. If you have a weak core you might find your back curves and this is likely to cause injury
  • Do 12 reps and repeat 3 times
Day 10: 10-minute stretch

I’m always amazed at how many of my fellow gym-goers don’t stretch, it is one of the reasons I believe I keep my injuries to a minimum. After every session, no matter how short it has been, I ensure that I finish it with a 10-minute stretch. 

This is my favourite stretching video to follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXWh-dowiLg&t=523s

Day 11: Jump Challenge
  1. 11 x Plank jacks
  2. 11 x Jumping jacks 
  3. 11 x Box Jumps

Repeat 3 times 

Day 12: 12 rep Ab Challenge 

12 reps for each exercise, no rest between each exercise. Repeat the set 3 times with a 30-second rest between each set.

  1. 12 x Up and down plank
  2. 12 x Hip dips 
  3. 12 x Weighted side bend

Good Luck!

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