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The only workout plan you need to torch those holiday calories

If you can turn those leftover-loving, cocktail-craving, exercise-evading tendencies around now and pursue healthier habits, you won’t need to make “getting in shape” your New Year’s resolution.

Ashley demonstrates a diagonal chop.
Ashley demonstrates a diagonal chop.Read moreCourtesy of Ashley Greenblatt

Do you need a fitness routine to help burn off your Thanksgiving feast? It may surprise you to learn that, on Thanksgiving Day alone, many Americans consume around 5,000 calories. That’s enough food to fuel most of your week, let alone a single day.

And that hefty number doesn’t include a weekend of loading up on leftovers. So if you feel sluggish post-pig-out, it’s likely due to your body working overtime to digest.

Our lifestyle choices in the week following this delicious, yet diet-demolishing day are crucial in determining whether we land on the naughty list. If you can turn away from those leftover-loving, cocktail-craving, exercise-evading tendencies now and pursue healthier habits, you won’t need to make “getting in shape” your New Year’s resolution for the 10th time.

Here’s your post-Thanksgiving, six-day fitness program (rest on Saturday):


With football games on, shopping season in full swing, and those lingering leftovers luring you in, it’s unrealistic to expect you’ll want an intense workout today. As you soak up your last day of holiday weekend leisure, schedule 15 minutes for some light stretches. Repeat this circuit two times.

Child’s pose. Begin in a tabletop position. Push your hips back until your glutes are resting on or at least near your heels. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.

Cobra. Start on your stomach with your hands stacked below your shoulders. Take a deep breath in as you push through your hands to lift your torso off the floor. Hold for two counts, then lower your chest back down to the floor. Repeat 8 times.

Glute bridge. Start in a supine position, with your knees bent and feet firmly planted on the floor. Push through your heels and hands, lifting your hips until they form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Keep your weight in your heels and hold for 15 seconds.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Revving up your heart rate is the game plan for these three days. You’ll need a cardio casserole layered with exercises that target the major muscle groups responsible for burning calories and boosting energy. Repeat this circuit three times.

Diagonal mountain climbers. From a plank position, quickly drive your right knee up toward your left ribs then repeat with your right leg toward your left ribs. Do not let your hips sag. Alternate for 60 seconds.

Step up, reverse lunge. Position your entire right foot firmly on a sturdy bench or step. Push through your right heel to stand. Hold until balanced. Now step down with your left leg and bring your right leg behind as you lower into a lunge. Your front knee should be stacked over your ankle and back knee under hip. Repeat this sequence eight times, then switch legs.

Jump squats. With your weight in your heels, hinge back at your hips to lower into a squat. Using your arms for momentum, explode up and land softly on your feet. You don’t need to jump high. Repeat 10 times. Modify by performing 15 air squats (squats without the jump).

Jog in place for 60 seconds. Then repeat the circuit.

Tuesday, Thursday

For these two days you’ll concentrate on core strength. This area of the body is responsible for spinal support, stabilization, and mobility, as well as pelvic strength and balance. Repeat this circuit three times.

Side plank dips. Rest on your right side with your shoulder stacked over elbow. Push through your forearm to elevate your hips. Extend your left arm overhead. When steady, dip your hips down toward the floor, then back up to the starting stance. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Plank walk-out. From a standing position, bend your knees and hinge back at your hips to lower your hands toward the floor. Walk your hands forward, and as you do, your legs will begin to straighten. Stop once your hands are directly below your shoulders. Hold this plank for five counts, then walk your hands back, press your weight in your heels, and return to standing by slowly rolling your spine up one vertebrae at a time. Repeat eight times.

Diagonal chop. Clasp your hands together to form a fist. Hinge back at your hips to lower into a squat, with your body weight in your heels. Bring your hands to the left side of your legs and adjust your feet so your toes point in that direction. Push through the balls of your feet and pivot them as you simultaneously rotate your upper body, swinging your arms up to the right. That’s one rep. Quickly repeat this controlled back-and-forth swing 10 times then repeat on the opposite side.

Jumping jacks for 60 seconds. Then repeat circuit.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to