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The No-guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan to Burn Extra Calories

Don’t let Turkey Day spoil your training gains. Make time for both turkey and training with this three-day, no-guilt workout from trainer Michael Blauner.

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Weekend warrior entering an empty gym ready to workout
Gorodenkoff
Weekend warrior entering an empty gym ready to workout
Gorodenkoff

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a celebration of the four F’s: family, food, football, and fun. But don’t let one turkey-size R—recklessness—spoil both your training and diet gains.

To help you stay both festive and responsible, we asked top trainer Michael Blauner, who has more than 30 years and thousands of sessions’ worth of knowledge, to design a workout routine that’ll help you enjoy the best of both worlds—hitting the gym and devouring the dinnertime spread—guilt-free.

His three-day No-guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan is created to hit the entire body and leave you feeling stronger by the weekend. His plan of attack will help you burn calories, develop strength and stamina, and keep you feeling great.

“‘You are what you eat’ is one of my favorite old sayings, and old sayings are typically old for a reason—because they usually make sense,” says Blauner, who is currently overseeing the revitalization of Excel Fitness in Hackensack, NJ, and can be found giving out tips on his Instagram page. “Curling 12oz at a time this week is not enough either. My new saying: Train as hard as you want to be.”

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No-guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan

Day 1 

This day consists primarily of bodyweight exercises done in supersets. You’ll need less than an hour for this fast-paced workout, which will leave you feeling like you have more energy coming out than going in.

For most exercises, go 12 to 15 reps, trying to finish each superset in under a minute. For pushups, pullups, and dips, perform as many reps as possible. Do each superset twice, resting only after the second exercise; if you’re feeling ambitious, you may do each superset three times.

Day 2

Intended to be done on Thanksgiving—will be a hard-and-heavy weight-training session. Blauner says this workout, which focuses on big, powerful motions, will hit every major muscle group in the body.

The goal of this workout is to maximize fatigue, which will lead the body to absorb extra protein, while the sustained elevated metabolism will help burn calories for longer. Once again, your workout will be performed superset-style, 8–12 reps per set. Afterward, indulge and enjoy, knowing that your body is making good use of all those calories.

Day 3

This workout will be less intense than the previous two, leaving you with plenty of energy for Black Friday shopping. (You’re welcome.)

Your challenge: Go for a run or hike in the park. If necessary, use a treadmill. Keep a pace of no less than 4mph. For each mile you complete, do two 100-yard all-out sprints (six sprints total). After the workout, you’ll do some basic calisthenics, and stretches of your choice.

The workout should take about an hour, leaving you plenty of time to prepare, indulge, and then go brawl with all the other crazies at Best Buy.

Go for it.

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Routine

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No-Guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan

Day 1: The Total-body Tune-up

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 18

Pushup

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
How to
Exercise 2 of 18

Medicine Ball Rotational Throw

Equipment
Medicine Ball
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 3 of 18

Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 4 of 18

Plank

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
30 sec.
Rest
60-90
 sec.
With medicine ball
Exercise 5 of 18

Goblet Squat

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 6 of 18

Walking Lunge

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 7 of 18

Chinup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 8 of 18

Dip

Equipment
Dip Station
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 9 of 18

Ball Slam

Equipment
Medicine Ball
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 10 of 18

High Box Jump

Equipment
Box
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 11 of 18

Flutter Kick

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
--
Rest
60-90 sec.
Don’t let your kicking foot touch the floor
Exercise 12 of 18

High Kick-Right Leg

Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 13 of 18

High Kick-Left Leg

Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
15
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 14 of 18

Jump Rope

Equipment
Jump Rope
Sets
2
Reps
1 minute
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 15 of 18

Standing Elbow-to-Knee Raise

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
60-90 sec.
Exercise 16 of 18

Situp

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 17 of 18

Cobra Pose

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
10-15
Rest
60-90 sec.
From pushup

No-Guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan

Day 2 (Thanksgiving): The Total-body Muscle-builder

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 18 of 18

Leg Extension

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 19 of 18

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 20 of 18

Seated Cable Row

Equipment
Lat Pulldown Bar
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 21 of 18

Leg Curl

Equipment
Swiss Ball
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 22 of 18

Cable Crossover

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 23 of 18

Hanging Leg Raise

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 24 of 18

Kettlebell Clean

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 25 of 18

Side Plank With Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 26 of 18

Lat Pulldown

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Wide grip
Exercise 27 of 18

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 28 of 18

Kettlebell Swing

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 29 of 18

Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
Exercise 30 of 18

Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 31 of 18

Triceps Pushdown

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
90 sec.
With rope

No-Guilt Thanksgiving Workout Plan

Day 3: The Cardio Calorie-burner

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 32 of 18

Run

Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
3 miles
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 34 of 18

Situp

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
100
Rest
As necessary
Exercise 35 of 18

Glute Bridge

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
60 sec.
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