12 Days of Christmas Workout Challenge + Festive Fitness Tips

Dec 13, 2023 | fitness, Weight Loss

With a Christmas pudding here and a cocktail there, our health goals tend to take a back seat over the holidays, along with our usual workout routine.  

I completely understand why: there are presents to buy, family and friends to entertain, the kids are home from school, and if you’re lucky, you might even be jetting off on a big blowout holiday. In other words, squeezing in a big gym session this time of year is not easy!

Your schedule may be more stuffed than the turkey, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get active. Instead of pushing your luck (and swearing you’ll get to tomorrow’s class), why not work out at home instead? 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no shame in enjoying some time off (and a few glasses of bubbly). Instead, it’s all about balance and moderation through the holiday season – trust me, every bit of effort counts, and your body will thank you!  

Looking after your physical health through December is the best way to start the new year feeling fab. If your fitness routine usually falls off the wagon during the festive season, these 12 Christmas-themed workouts are exclusively for you.

12 Days of Christmas Workout Challenge

Grab your water bottle and prepare to sweat through the season with my 12 Days of Christmas-themed workout challenge!

There’s something fun for each day leading up to December 25th, and they’re designed to be short but intense, so you only need a few minutes to tick off your daily activity.  

All 12 workouts can be done anywhere: in your living room, bedroom, backyard, kitchen or even the airport (if you don’t mind some strange looks). 

All workouts should begin after a quick warm-up, between 5 to 7 minutes. I recommend a jog, skip or combination of butt kicks, jumping jacks and bodyweight squats.

Get pumped, and here we go!

Day 1

Kickstart the season with a plyometric workout 

Feeling tired just thinking about the celebrations ahead? Kickstart your holiday season with this energising plyometric workout – it will give you the spark you need! 

How to do it: 

1-minute blast of each exercise for 3 rounds, 1-minute rest in between: 

  • High Knees 
  • Mountain Climbers 
  • Jump Squats 
  • Power Pushups (can do on knees)
  • Tuck Jumps
  • Burpees 

Day 2 

‘All I Want for Christmas’ arm workout 

Are strong, toned arms on your wishlist this year? Try Tracy Anderon’s 16-minute arm workout. 

If you haven’t heard of Tracy, this woman is known as the arm workout whisperer. She’s trained celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba, so she knows what she’s on about. 

Plus, it’s short and sweet: 16 minutes of this rigorous arm workout is all you need this holiday season.

How to do it: 

Day 3

Seasonal stair challenge

Today’s challenge is simple: maximise your steps and always take the stairs everywhere you go. Whether you’re still at the office or braving the shopping centre crowds, aim for 10,000 steps in total. 

Day 4

Summer beach body workout  

Prepare to move from head to toe with Tone It Up’s full-body workout video.  Twenty-four minutes and a set of dumbbells is all you need to feel this one in your muscles! After you’re done, reward yourself with some fun in the sun. 

How to do it: 

Day 5

Bubbly burpee challenge 

No, I’m not talking about the kind that comes in a glass! Before you indulge in all things sparkling for the holidays, boost your metabolism with burpees

How to do it: 

100 burpees, as fast as possible with good form. What time did you clock?

Day 6

Retro summer aerobics workout 

Enjoying the vintage-inspired summer of your dreams? Here’s another retro gem from the time capsule: Jane Fonda’s 80s-style floor workout. 

This video is an oldie that will have you smiling the whole way through! I love that it’s so retro and still makes you feel the BURN. Put on your best 80s-inspired workout gear, and you’ll have a blast. 

How to do it: 

Day 7

Christmas cheer rear workout 

You know the old saying, right? Here is a circuit to make that bum burn! 

How to do it: 

3 rounds: 

  • 50 squats 
  • 50 alternating lunges (1 leg = 1 rep) 
  • 50 hip raises (squeeze 5 seconds and lower) 

Finish with 3 rounds of 1-minute skipping. Count your reps per round – for an extra challenge, try to keep beating the previous round, or try some of these skipping variations

Day 8

Santa’s sleigh ab circuit 

When you think about it, Santa works hard stacking the sleigh and hauling around sacks of goodies – so there must be a strong set of abs under that round belly! 

Take inspiration from the man in red today and focus on your core strength.

How to do it: 

4 rounds to feel the burn:

  • 25 sit-ups 
  • 25 reverse crunches 
  • Plank 30 seconds 
  • 25 bicycle crunches 
  • 25 twist toe touches (hand to opposite toe) 

Day 9

Present push-up challenge 

Want to really strengthen those arms so you can carry more presents? Do this push-up challenge twice today whenever you get a few minutes to spare. Tally your total reps, and you will be amazed! 

How to do it: 

5 rounds of pushups to failure – knees or toes! 

Rest 30 seconds between the first 3 rounds, 60 seconds for the last 2 rounds

Day 10

‘Step and shop’ challenge

It’s the last chance you have to tick off your Christmas list – luckily, racing around the shops counts as incidental exercise

“Shopping is my cardio,” said Carrie Bradshaw – that’s your personal philosophy today. Remember, to get everything on that last-minute gift list, you’ll have to go fast!

For an extra challenge, park further away from the entrance (you may not have a choice on this one!) and stash your bags in your car rather than using a trolley. 

Day 11

Christmas Eve endurance challenge  

Patience is a virtue, particularly at this time of the year! Test your endurance while waiting for Santa with these little fitness challenges. 

How to do it: 

  • Exercise 1: Wall Sit 
  • Exercise 2: Sit Ups 
  • Exercise 3: Tricep Dips 
  • Exercise 4: Push Ups

Each exercise is done 3 times.

  • 1st round: 30 seconds
  • 2nd round: 45 seconds
  • 3rd round: 60 seconds 

60 seconds recovery between each round (increase or decrease if required)

Day 12


It’s the big day! Today’s mission is to enjoy the company of your family and friends. Plus, it’s time to tuck into all that festive food and wine (preferably in moderation, but that’s up to you!) 

You’re not totally off the hook, though – start the morning right with a 45-minute run, jog or power walk. It’s a great way to get centred and boost your metabolism before the celebrations commence! Jump out of bed and get it done first thing for a guilt-free day of treating yourself. 

My Top 7 Holiday Season Fitness Tips 

This time of year is when many of us lose perspective on ‘moderation’, and our oh-so-balanced routines fall out the window. 

With a few handy tips, you can stay on track for your fitness goals through the summer holidays. 

Here are my top fitness strategies for the Christmas period: 

1. Make realistic plans (and backup plans) 

Let’s face it – driving and parking anywhere is a nightmare the closer we get to December 25th.  This time of year, the extra hassle of getting to the gym will tempt you to skip it altogether. 

My ‘12 Days of Christmas’ fitness challenge above is a great place to start. At the end of this article, you’ll also find links to more home-based workouts to carry you through the summer holidays. 

2. Go for short, intense workouts  

If you’re pressed for time, you’re in luck: research shows even a short 15-minute workout can give you solid results. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) uses short, intense bouts of exercise followed by recovery periods, providing ‘similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts’ in a shorter timeframe. Win! 

3. Work out in the early A.M. 

My top holiday fitness hack? Skip the sleep-in and exercise first thing in the morning – there’ll be no chance of something ‘coming up’ or surprise guests dropping in! When you squeeze in that 30-minute workout or run early, you’ll still be able to relax and spend time with your family for the rest of the day. 

4. Make exercise your self-care routine 

While it’s meant to be “the most wonderful time of year”, the holidays are often the most stressful. Exercise is a great tool to manage the holiday madness – it reduces stress hormone levels and gives you a rock-solid excuse to take time out. When it’s all getting too much, take a break from the family, go for a jog and enjoy those feel-good endorphins! 

5. Balance your calorie burn  

If you’re working towards a weight loss goal, the temptation of Christmas treats can add a lot of stress to the season. My ultimate recommendation for worry-free indulgence? Stick to the the good ol’ calories in vs. calories out model. When you want to treat yourself without worry, plan a big calorie-burning workout. Maybe it’s a three-hour hike, a high-intensity RPM class, or a good solid run.

6. Book a fun run or event in January

Lock yourself into an event in the New Year, and you’re more likely to stay consistent with training throughout the festive season. Look around your local area – there are loads of community park runs! Team up with a training buddy (like a friend or neighbour) and keep each other motivated. 

It’s also a great excuse to take some time out. Your least favourite relatives are overstaying their welcome after lunch? Sorry, training for a 5K; gotta dash! 

7. Be kind to yourself 

This time of year can be unpredictable, so don’t get hung up if things don’t go to plan. Whether it’s unexpected guests, last-minute present shopping or waking up with a hangover after too much Christmas cheer, it’s not the end of the world to skip a workout. 

Remember, it’s only one day out of 365 – do your best, roll with the punches, and get through the silly season!

More Home Workout Ideas for the Holidays

Here are more home workouts to keep you active during the festive season:


Sign up to my jam packed newsletter and receive your


Includes your 1 week intermittent fasting meal plan, plus recipes!

Thanks for subscribing!

Pin It on Pinterest