Workouts

A Full Plate of Fitness

The average Thanksgiving dinner contains 3,000 calories, so we created six 500-calorie workouts so you can enjoy every bite guilt-free—bring on the mashed potatoes!

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Don’t skimp on the turkey and gravy or turn down that slice of pie. Enjoy the annual American grub fest without any regrets this year—all 3,000 calories of it.

Work up an appetite, then work off that green bean casserole with these six 500-calorie workouts* inspired by a classic Thanksgiving Day meal.

And don’t forget that the Friday after Thanksgiving every year is Trim the Fat Friday at Gold’s Gym. We open our doors to anyone who wants to get in a good post-chow-down workout free of charge. So spend this Black Friday with loved ones at the gym instead of the mall—your body and credit card will thank you.

Just click on each of the six turkey-day favorites on the plates below to see the workouts created by Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer Adam Friedman.

Turkey Workout

Get your chest and wings—ahem, shoulders—in shape.

Weights:

Push-up With a BOSU
2 sets of 10
A BOSU is an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform; it looks like a stability ball cut in half. Place the BOSU soft side down, and hold on to the edges as you lie facedown with your feet together. Keeping your body straight, push up.

Incline Fly
2 sets of 20 reps
Lie on an incline bench with legs parted and feet firmly on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (use a challenging but liftable weight), arms extended above your chest and elbows slightly bent. Slowly lower the dumbbells out and away from each other until they are at chest level. Raise to starting position.

Military Press
4 sets of 12 reps
Sitting, raise dumbbells to shoulder level with palms facing out and your elbows bent and pulled in to your sides. Press the weights up and toward each other as you straighten your arms, keeping a slight bend in your elbows at the top. Slowly bring down and return to starting position.

Dumbbell Front Raise
4 sets of 12 reps
Standing, hold dumbbells in front of you with your palms facing your legs. Keep your elbows and knees slightly bent as you raise your arms straight in front of you to shoulder level. Slowly return to starting position.

Cardio: 30 minutes on the elliptical

Mashed Potatoes Workout

Keep your rear from looking like mashed potatoes by working your glutes and upper legs.

Walking Lunge
3 sets of 20 steps
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides. Step forward several feet with your right foot, and bend down until your right leg forms a 90-degree angle and your left knee almost touches the floor. Push off your left foot, and bring your legs together. Repeat on the opposite side.
For a more advanced workout, add in dumbbell lifts.

Wall Sit
45 seconds
Stand with your back against a wall. Lean back and slide downward until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position while keeping your abs contracted.
Step it up: While holding this position, squeeze a small ball between your legs to engage your inner thighs as well.

Lateral Squat
2 sets of 20 reps
Start by placing your feet four feet apart. Squat down to the right, keeping your weight on your right heel. Your left leg should remain straight. Sit as low as comfortable for one second, then power up and alternate legs.

Hip Adductor Machine
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Sit in the machine, and place your inner thighs against the pads. Bring your thighs toward the center of your body, and slowly return to start for one rep.

Side Lying Single Leg Hip Abduction
2 sets of 12-15 reps

Lie on one side with the back completely straight. Pull the bottom knee up toward the chest while the top leg remains fully extended at the knee in alignment with the torso. Keeping the top leg straight, raise it up in the air, leading with the heel of the top foot. Lower the leg back down so that it does not break the plane parallel to the floor. Repeat.

Cardio: 30 minutes on the treadmill with Level 5 incline or 25 minutes of running

Cranberry Jelly Workout

Fight off cranberry jelly belly with extra abdominal exercises.

Sit-Up Medicine-Ball Throw With Partner
2 sets of 10 reps
Sit facing a partner, holding a medicine ball in both hands. Lie back with the ball overhead, and tap the floor behind you. As you sit up, immediately throw the ball to your partner from overhead. Your partner should catch the ball in front of his or her head.
If you do not have a partner, you can mimic this exercise by lying down on a declined sit-up bench. Perform the same exercise, but do not throw the ball.

Stability Ball Crunches
3 sets of 10 reps
Lie back on a stability ball, with your feet flat on the floor and your body forming a 45-degree angle with the ball. Cross your hands, and place them on your upper chest. Contract your abs to lift your torso five to 10 inches off the ball, keeping your feet and neck stable, then slowly lower your torso back down.

Elbow Plank
3 sets
Lie on your stomach in a push-up position. Keep your arms bent, with palms and forearms on the floor and legs extended straight out, and be up on your toes. Contract your ab muscles and slowly lift your torso off the floor, keeping your palms, elbows, forearms and toes on the floor. Hold the position for 45 seconds, then slowly drop and recover for 30 seconds.

Side Trunk Raise on Hyperextension Bench
3 sets of 12 reps on both sides
Position yourself sideways on the hyperextension bench so that one hip is resting on the large pad and your feet are hooked under the foot pads, securing you. Let one arm hang down relaxed, and rest the other on your hip or behind your head. Slowly exhale, contract your oblique muscles, and lower your free arm toward the floor. Keep your neck straight, and avoid twisting your upper body. Inhale as you return to starting position. Alternate sides between each set.

Cable Wood Chop
2 sets of 10 reps
Put a cable on the high position. Stand sideways with your right shoulder close to the machine so that you can pull the cable down and across the body. Grab the cable with both hands. Your left hand should be on top, and the right hand should be on the bottom. Keep your arms straight, and pull the cable down toward the outside of the left leg. Switch sides and repeat.

Cardio: 30 minutes on a stationary bike

Stuffing Workout

Don’t let stuffing come “back” to haunt you. Work out your upper and lower back with these moves.

Pull-Up and Bent-Arm Hang
As many as possible, up to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Beginner: Have someone lift you so that your chin is level with the pull-up bar. Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing away from you, elbows bent. Hold yourself in this position for as long as possible, keeping your chin level with the bar.
Advanced: Hang on the pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing away from you, elbows straight but not locked. Slowly pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar, then lower to starting position.

Lat Pulldown Machine
4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
You may sit or stand for this one. Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, arms straight up and palms facing forward. Pull the bar down to your chest, elbows out. Return slowly to starting position, arms straight.

Bent Dumbbell Row
4 sets of 12 reps
Grab a dumbbell in one hand, and put the opposite knee and hand on a bench. The torso should be parallel to the ground. Start with your arm straight by your side, and pull the dumbbell up to the side of your chest (near the armpit), keeping your arm close to your body. Lower the weight back to starting position.

Lower-Back Extension Machine
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Adjust the seat so that the axis is in line with your hips. Start the exercise by slowly pushing back until your spine is naturally erect. Maintain tension as you return to starting position.

Cardio: 30 minutes on a stair machine

Green Bean Casserole Workout

Prepare to scoop up a nice serving of casserole by getting in a tough arm workout.

Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls
3 sets of 5 to 6 reps
Sit on the end of a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides and palms facing inward. Starting with the right arm, curl the dumbbell up, rotating your wrist 90 degrees so that you finish with your palm up. Squeeze your bicep for one second before lowering. Repeat on the left side. That’s one rep.

Standing Tricep Pushdown
3 sets of 10 reps
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of a tricep pushdown or cable machine with the cables, rope or straight bar hanging at about chest level. Grab on with both hands, keeping your elbows pinned to your sides. Push your hands toward the floor, fully extending your arms in front of your body to touch the top of your legs. Hold for a second, then reverse movement and return to starting position.

Straight Bar Preacher Curl
3 sets of 10 reps
Grab a straight bar and add barbells that are appropriate to your fitness level. Sit down on a preacher bench (a bench that has a slanted pad that sits in front of your chest and a padded seat). Rest your upper arms on the slanted pad and curl the bar down for four seconds then pull it back up in three seconds.

Bench Dips
2 to 3 sets of 10 reps
Position your hands shoulder-width apart behind you on the edge of a secured bench. Walk your feet out in front of you until you are resting on your heels. Lower your upper body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Slowly press off with your hands to push yourself back up to starting position.

Cardio: Elliptical machine for 30 minutes

Slice of Pumpkin Pie Workout

Get cut like pie with these all-over body moves.

Burpees
10 reps
Start in a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back to a push-up position and do one full push-up. Immediately bring your feet back to the squat position. Jump up on your toes with your arms overhead. That’s one rep.

Alternating Box Push-Off With Shoulder Press
2 sets of 20 reps
Place your left foot on a 12-inch plyometrics box with your heel close to the edge, and hold a pair of light dumbbells at shoulder level. Push off with your left foot to explode vertically, pressing the dumbbells overhead as you jump, and land with feet reversed.

Medicine-Ball Wood Chops
2 sets of 10 reps each side
Start with your feet more than hip-width apart. Hold a medicine ball by your right hip with both hands. Turn your torso to the left, and lift the ball above your head on the left. Move the ball from high to low across your body and end on the right side, as if you were chopping wood. Do 10 on one side, then switch.

Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swings
3 sets of 10 reps
Starting in a wide leg squat, hold the kettlebell with both hands and lower it so it nearly touches the floor. Swing the kettlebell up, keeping the upper back and abdominals tight, and straighten your legs as the kettlebell rises. Swing upward to around the height of the shoulders. Keep the glutes and abdominals squeezed tight at the top of the movement. Slowly lower back down into a wide squat and repeat.

Standing Calf Raise Machine
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Stand on the foot plate with your shoulders squared. Slowly rise up onto your toes and pause briefly, then lower your heels until fully extended. To work your calves one at a time, simply cross one leg over the other.

Cardio: 10 minutes on a bike, 10 minutes on an elliptical and 10 minutes on a stair climber

*500-calorie workouts based on 150-pound man. Calorie output varies depending on person’s size and weight, level of fitness, speed on fitness machines and weight of dumbbells used in weight-lifting exercises.