It’s tradition for many of us to squeeze in a workout on holiday mornings before the festivities begin. It makes us feel better about ourselves (especially in anticipation of the large holiday meals) and can often be performed (at least, in part) in the company of visiting family and friends.

In this Thanksgiving Special Edition of Workout Wednesday powered by Bioastin, I suggest a workout that has lots of tempo changes to keep your mind alert and body moving.   I prefer that you do this session outside, but it can also be conducted indoors on the treadmill.

The key to this holiday morning workout is its High Intensity (HIIT) efforts. Here’s why:

1. The faster segments activate your fast twitch fibers. Don’t neglect them during the holiday season! To be maintained, they must be stimulated and fired.

2. The harder efforts also work the lower leg muscles and feet. Aerobic training alone does not provide enough stimulus for these areas.

3. The post-exercise metabolic furnace that you stoke during this session will keep burning long after the workout is over!   Best of all — if you DON’T eat for about 2 hours following this workout — you’ll start accessing even more fat burning enzymes (which is especially useful during the holidays when athletes are prone to overeating).

The total time of this workout is 55 minutes… just right!


8 min build to aerobic pace, then walk backwards for 90 sec, while stretching your hip flexors and squeezing your gluteals.
Set 1:

(On a treadmill? Set it to a 1% gradient)

10x 40 sec, RI 30 sec of very easy jog.

On the odd repeats perform a short, quick stride but allow the heel to rise above 90 degrees during the float phase.

On the even repeats perform 8 lengthened strides during the last 10 sec of each interval.

Go moderately hard on repeats 1 through 6, and quick & light on repeats 7 through 10.
Cruise aerobically for 2 min while mentally preparing for the main set.

Main Set:  

(If indoors, set your treadmill to a 1% gradient)

4x 50 sec, RI 50 sec jog

Begin each repeat with 10 fast double-leg hops, then transition to normal running for the remainder of each interval.

After repeat #4 there is no Rest Interval (RI); immediately begin a hard 4:30 effort.

An undulating course is preferred for this segment, because you can also work hard on the downhills.

(Treadmill runners should keep rotating 30 sec efforts at 2% then 5% then 3%.)

Jog for 3 min… and then repeat the entire Main Set.

Cool down:

5 min jog

Now enjoy your holiday!