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Holiday Resource Guide 2013

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Rose Bachtel, Andy Petranek, John Burch & Luke Kayyem

We know this is a difficult time of the year to eat right and stay in shape. So we created this guide to help you out as much as possible. Use at your own will. We’ll be waiting for you in the New Year, armed with workouts and a new diet challenge to get your year jump-started. But for now, enjoy the time off and festivities with family and friends. Party on! 

BTW- If you like this and want more, feel free to give us a call – 323-284-8906










Its that time of year again, the 6 week period from Thanksgiving to New Years Day during which your time and focus is split so many different ways that it’s difficult to maintain focus in your training and eating.


(For best results, read this section THEN do the workouts)




So, what are some of the ways that you can deal with this period – so that at the very least you have a plan that you are committed to (other than the default “Whatever… it’s the holidays. I’ll get started again in January.”)


  1. Give yourself a break. Literally. Identify a 2-week period between Thanksgiving and New Years that you are going to TAKE OFF.  And take it off!  Completely! Now to make this effective, it means that during the other four weeks, you need to be as committed as ever to your diet and training.
  2. STAPLE workout. Identify ONE thing that is your staple. Something you like doing that takes almost ZERO effort. Commit to this on the days where normal training simply isn’t an option. Here are some ideas: run, stretch, mobilize, burpees, push-ups/sit ups. Once you’ve got the movement(s), pick a time domain and/or a rep scheme.  Write it down.  This is your STAPLE workout. Here are the steps to take to do this:
    1. Choose 1, 2 or 3 movements (ex. Run, push ups)
    2. Decide how much time you have (10, 15, 20 min)
    3. Pick either “for time” or “as many rounds in x min” format
    4. Decide a distance / reps for each movement
    5. 3, 2, 1… GO!
    6. Use the workout suggestions in the 2nd half of this to make it a “no-brainer” for yourself. All are designed to be fast and effective, and take no time to get started because they don’t require driving anywhere. You could even do it with another person to make it a bit more challenging.
    7. Turn your normal workout time into family/friend adventure time.  Get out and mountain bike, surf, ski, snowboard, in-line skate, take a hike, go climbing. I know, it’s hard to consider “fun” activities like these actual workouts, but guess what… they are! Relax. Enjoy. Have fun!
    8. If you’re even half human or you have kids, you’re definitely going to be spending more time than usual in front of the TV (specials, movies, football, etc).  Make this time your workout and/or your mobilization time.  It’s very easy to SAY this, and then not get your ass up off the couch when the TV’s on.  This will definitely test your commitment.  Try this – NO couch or comfy chair… all TV watching must be done from the floor.



The other half (or more) of the equation is the food choices you make over the holidays. Talk about a difficult time of the year to stay on a diet, not eat sugar, stay away from desserts, cookies, treats! I find it almost impossible. Another problem –- going to holiday meals/gatherings, people tend to eat HUGE quantities of food because the food is so great (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years Day, etc). Last but definitely not least –- alcohol & other drinks such as beer, wine, drinks, eggnog, holiday coffee drinks, etc.


Here are some suggestions for dealing with food over the holidays:


  1. Give yourself a break. Identify one event every week over this period that you’ll let yourself go to and enjoy…  Put NO limits on yourself for this event.  Goal is to not be a total GLUTTON, and not get WASTED, but give yourself a time-out from your normal disciplined eating.  Remember that for this to work effectively, you’ve got to keep yourself on track during all the other meals and events you’re attending that week.
  2. Pick ONE vice that you’re going to allow yourself to have over the holidays – JUST ONE.  Set your weekly limit and then decide how you’re going to allocate it over the course of the week.  It should feel slightly challenging. For instance one glass of wine every day would NOT be much of a limit (unless you regularly have 2 glasses per day), however, 3 glasses per week might work.
  3. Big dinners – while I wouldn’t say you have to RSVP ‘no’ just to maintain your diet, it is a very good idea to go in with a plan. Two suggestions here:
    1. Never attend a holiday dinner hungry. Eat normally all day prior to dinner and then eat a healthy snack just before you go. It won’t guarantee that you won’t overeat, but at least it will reduce your chances of stuffing yourself.
    2. Pick one indulgence each dinner. Allow yourself to have this, but be super strict on the other elements of that meal.




Here’s the deal. The ideas above are just that… ideas.  You could make a case for them ALL ‘sounding good’, especially when just sitting here reading them.  Turning any of them into action is quite another story… and it’s the other piece of the puzzle.  That said, prior to the start of this holiday period, read through these ideas and choose 1 from each category (Training / Nutrition) that you’re willing to be committed to.  WRITE IT DOWN.  PRINT IT OUT.  HANG IT ON YOUR COMPUTER, ON YOUR BATHROOM MIRROR, ON YOUR REFRIGERATOR -– wherever you know you’ll see it and read it.


To step it up another notch, choose a dollar amount you’re willing to be accountable for if you DON’T do what you commit to.  Also pick a recipient whom you’d rather not pay.  Then if/when you don’t do what you said you’d do, write the check.  If you made it a large enough sum, believe me, you will start living up to your word.








We have included lots of Travel WODs under the Travel WOD section of our website. The key is to make sure you keep active during this time – but don’t worry about PRing or getting in a killer, super long workout. Just STAY ACTIVE. Just in case you don’t like any of the Travel WODs listed on our website, here are some more WOD ideas.


All of the workouts listed below will be able to be accomplished in about 20 minutes or less (no time excuses) and require no equipment.


The way it’s broken down is the workout is named, the standards are explained, and if you need to modify or scale, there are suggestions for that as well. Finally, for those of you hardcore people, we have ways that you could make it more challenging.


There is also a glossary at the end for some items that may require further explanation. Google or YouTube is also useful for this.


Please stretch and warm up as needed prior to all activities for at least 10 minutes. Some of these workouts may be too challenging to complete so listen to your body and stop where you need to.





Workout: Max Effort Pushups.


Breakdown: Complete as many pushups as possible in one unbroken set. The moment any part of your body other than your hands and feet (or knees if that is your starting standard) rest on the ground the set is over. Record your “score” of push ups competed.


Standards: Chest touches the ground (ideally) before stomach, arms are locked out at the top. See the glossary for more details.


Scale: Do from your knees.


Make it more challenging: Pick a person to go head-to-head with and see who lasts longer. Do three times, resting exactly 2 minutes between sets.





Workout: 400 walking lunges.


Breakdown: Use a stopwatch or some way to time yourself. Manage your work to finish as quickly, with good form, as possible. Remember to keep your shoulders above your hips when lunging. Keeping count may be difficult.


Standards: Back knee kisses the ground every rep.


Scale: Do 300, 200, or 100 lunges.


Make it more challenging:  Do as many lunges as you can without a rest. If you get 400, give yourself a gold star.





Workout: Burpee Ladder.


Breakdown: Do 1 burpee the 1st minute, 2 the 2nd minute, 3 the third, until you can no longer perform that number in that minute. Your score is how far you get in minutes. For example, if you get to 13 minutes and can’t go any further, that’s your score.


Standards: See glossary.


Scale: Do every-other minute.


Make it more challenging: Jump over a 12 inch object after each rep or jump to have your hands touch a target one foot above your standing reach with arms extended.





Workout: Run for 10 minutes then turn around and go home.


Breakdown: Try to go as far as possible in 10 minutes in one direction (a mile, mile and ½ or more) then go back.


Standards: One foot in front of the other.


Scale: Run/walk as needed.


Make it more friendly: Invite someone to run with you and go at a pace that allows you to talk. If you cannot talk, you’re probably going too fast.





Workout: 10 rounds of 30 second hold of handstands, V- up, squat.


Breakdown: Using a continuously running clock, do 30 seconds in a handstand hold, then 30 seconds in a V-up, then 30 seconds in a squat. Attempt to do all 30 second periods unbroken and transition as quickly as possible from one movement to the next. Use something to keep track of your rounds, like a piece of paper and a pen. This workout will take 15 minutes total to accomplish.


Standards: Handstands – inverted with feet against the wall, hands firmly planted on the ground just outside shoulder width. V-ups – sitting on the ground, balance on your butt (legs extended and off the ground, upper body also off the ground), midsection tight. Squat – crease of hips must be below the level of knees.


Scale: Handstands – invert yourself as much as possible. This could be a yoga headstand hold or a steep incline pushup position. V-ups – engage your midsection, this could be done with legs extended and arms reaching up as far as possible forcing your shoulder blades off the ground. Squat – if you’re limited by flexibility squat to a chair with your butt barely touching.


Make it more challenging: Start and stop the clock at each movement to get a full 30 seconds of work and the only “rest” is the time it takes to move to the next movement.





Workout: 200 tuck jumps


Breakdown: Think about being springy like a pogo stick, bounding off the ball of the foot, then tucking your knees up at the top of the movement.


Standards: Feet leave the ground at the same time, when in the air, both knees must rise above the hips.


Scale: do 100 or 50 reps.


Make it more challenging: Have a friend keep count and use their extended arm as a height target above your sternum forcing you to touch his hand with your knees with each tuck jump to count.





Workout: PT Test – max pushup, max sit up, 1 mile run.


Breakdown: Recording each effort, one attempt with unbroken pushups and sit ups. Rest exactly 1 minute between movements. Time yourself on the run.


Standards: Same as above for pushups. Sit ups – see glossary.  Your sit up set is done when you stop the rhythm and rest on the ground between reps.


Scale: Pushups from knees, sit ups could be 10 inch straight leg raises from the prone position and run ½ mile.


Make it more challenging: No rest between movements.






Workout: 200 squats for time.


Breakdown: Start the clock and bust out 200 squats. Rest as needed but the clock still runs.


Standards: The crease of your hip must go below the level of your knees at the bottom of your squat. When standing, the hips must be fully open.


Scale: 100 squats.


Make it more challenging: Try not to stop until you get past 50 and take breaks only a total of 3 times before reaching 200.





Workout: Stretch.


Breakdown: Use Youtube to find Yoga or stretching videos.


Standards: Stretch the entire body for a total of 20 minutes.


Scale: none.


Make it more flexible:  watch any video here:





Workout: “The Vortex”


Breakdown:  With a continuously running stopwatch, run 1.5 miles.  At each minute mark, alternate between 10 jumping lunges (one rep is both left and right) and 10 push ups (so at minute 1, do 10 jumping lunges, minute 2, 10 push ups, etc). Continue in this fashion until either you have finished 1.5 miles, or you get “Vortexed” (have no time to run after finishing your lunges or push ups).
If you finish, your time is your score. If you get Vortexed, your time at the Vortex and your distance completed is your score.



Standards: 1.5 miles, see pushups and lunge standards above


Scale: 1 mile, 5 jumping lunges and 5 pushups.


Make it more challenging:  Vortex +1 or +2…  do 11 jumping lunges and 11 pushups or 12 and 12.





Workout:  A gallon + 500 step-ups.


Breakdown: With a continuously running clock, complete 500 step-ups while holding a full gallon of water overhead with one arm. Alternate the leg that steps first and steps back down. You may switch hands holding the water as needed. Record the time it takes to complete.


Standards: Box must be above 10 inches in height. Must be a full gallon of water. Arm must be locked out straight overhead.


Scale: Any size step. Don’t hold anything.


Make it more challenging:  Use a 12 inch box or higher and use 2 gallons (or a moderately heavy weight) of water, each being held at the same time, one in the left hand and the other in the right hand, overhead. Every time you stop to rest do 10 sit-ups. The clock doesn’t stop when you do your “rest work” sit-ups.





Workout: 1.5 mile run + burpees


Breakdown: With a continuously running clock, run ½ mile, stop and perform 20 burpees. Do this 3 times. Record the total time.


Standards: 1.5 miles. See glossary for burpees.


Scale: Just do the run.


Make it more challenging:  Double the burpees (40 total) to be done at each ½ mile.





Below is a glossary of terms with their explanation.


 “The Push up”
Lie down on the floor on your chest, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground with your toes on the floor on the balls of your feet. Push your upper body away from the floor while squeezing your core. Locking your arms out at full extension and lowering back down until your chest touches the deck/floor. Press back up and repeat. Perform these from your knees or on a wall to scale.

“The Squat”
Stand with your feet slightly outside of your hips and your feet firm and flat on the ground. Slowly push your hips and butt back and down towards your ankles while pushing your knees out wide and raising your arms up above your shoulders. Concentrating on form and proper technique, we want to ensure safety and efficacy through each movement. Keep your head, chest and shoulders vertical emphasizing the maintenance of the lumbar curve.

“The Burpee”
From a strong standing position, squat down and jump into a pushup (dropping down as fast as possible). Touch your chest to the ground and explode up off the ground back into a squat. Next, stand and jump off of the ground while clapping your hands over your head.

“The Jump Rope”

Hold one end of the handle in each hand comfortably and not too tight. Step over the rope so it is behind your ankles. Rotate both handles forward while jumping off of the ground so that the rope swings under your feet. Keeping your arms at 90 degrees and close to your body, rotate your wrists forward as fast as you can jump and repeat. This exercise can also be done without a rope.

“The Sit-up”
Lying on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the ground until your elbows cross the top of your knees. Lower yourself back down until your shoulder blades touch the ground.  Then repeat. You can also place the bottoms of your feet together and let your knees drop to the side. This is called a butterfly and will take your hip flexors out of the movement, making it harder.






  1. I.               Walk. Get up and get outside. It’s easy and everyone can do it, even if you’re in L.A. and nobody does. Pick up a couple of those recyclable grocery bags and head out to the farmers market, a movie or a fro yo spot. If you are eating out, pack your seeds, nuts or jerky. Ask for all dressings on the side and double veggies instead of fries or potatoes.


  1. II.             Compete. It brings the best out in everyone, especially when you compete against your brothers. One of my favorites is the push up contest.  1) Go head to head, 1 for 1 until someone can’t finish the reps. If you need to scale, you can use your knees, the kitchen counter top or a wall. Advanced students can use the handstand push up. 2) Max effort pushups in 1, 2 or 3 minutes. If you’re watching the game, bet that anytime your team gets scored on you’ll drop and do 20 pushups or bet 100 pushups on the game. If your family is goofy like mine, bet them “anytime” pushups and use them to watch the look on your mom’s face when you’re doing pushups in the aisle at Whole Foods. You can also do max effort push up hold, plank hold or squats.


  1. III.            Play. Pick a sport and play it. Tennis, golf and bike riding are just a few examples. Play catch, Frisbee or Hoover ball. Pick up a new basketball when you’re out on your walk and dribble it the whole way home switching hands after every 50x. Pick up a couple jump ropes and teach your cousins the double under and they can teach you to play double dutch, both are fun and challenging. If you’re a fan of Brett Favre and you think you still got it, find a pick up football game on Thanksgiving to play in.  You can also check Craigslist for times and locations.


  1. Work. It seems like every trip home I clean out the garage or paint the barn. It’s usually a pretty physical job that’s also very rewarding. If you can pitch in at your community youth center, homeless shelter or donate blood you will be doing a great thing for someone else and show the younger members of your family how important community service is.




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