Fast festive workouts: 30-minute fitness keeper

As the end of the year approaches, work demands increase, social calendars fill up and many of us find it challenging to squeeze in a full workout. Every day there’s a new function or event to attend and we all know that that means: indulgence! There will be plenty of food (healthy and unhealthy), lots of calories and the temptation of free-flowing alcohol.

Before you know it you’re stuffing yourself with food, minimising your workouts or dropping them entirely, and suddenly finding you’re all sluggish and tired.

In order to ensure you maintain your fitness during the disrupting festive season, Fitness First’s National Fitness Manager Michael Cunico has teamed up with top personal trainers to bring you a time-efficient workout.

The 30 minute fitness keeper

Fitness First PT Rhys Brooks has developed a short but intense 30 minute workout suitable for anyone with an intermediate level of gym experience. Ideally you should perform the program 2 to 3 times a week. Rhys says you should attack the program with focus and intensity. It’s going to hurt, but its bang-for-buck results will be worth it, he points out.


Warm up: sled push

Get into a crouched position, take a tight grip on the sled and keep the body locked tight. Look up slightly, keep your chest up and back straight. Push through the ball of your foot, using your legs and hips to drive the sled forward.

A1. Kettlebell swing

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width. Soften the knees slightly. Hinge from the hips, keeping the back straight. Swing the kettlebell between the legs, driving from your hips and finish the swing by contracting your glutes and thighs at the top of the movement. It’s important that you do NOT squat when you swing, but keep the knees unlocked and move from the hip.

A2. Kettlebell front squat

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, toes slightly pointing out. Lift the kettlebells to your chest maintaining a tall, upright posture. Push your knees out and squat down. Keep your weight evenly distributed in your feet. Ensure your knees follow in the same direction as your toes and achieve a bottom position where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive back up through the floor, keeping your bodyweight even in the feet.

B1. 1-arm dumbbell press

Place your feet under your knees and push down through your feet so your glutes are on. Position your working arm at a 45-degree angle to the body. Your opposite arm will be placed directly out to the side of the body to help you balance. Take a big breath in, tense your abdominals and then drive the dumbbell up towards the ceiling. Lower it back down with a controlled tempo.

B2. 1-arm dumbbell row

Place your non-working hand on the front of the bench and have the knee of the same side resting on the bench. Your ankle should be just off the bench.  Position your other leg directly out from your hip (you can take it some distance away from the bench, which will help you keep a flat back). Initiate the movement by pulling the dumbbell up to the side of the body beside the belly button.

C1. Isometric 45-degree hyper extension hold

Set the height of the pads up so that your hip bones are slightly off the pads. Lock your feet in place, squeeze the glutes and hold this position for 45 seconds. Your body should maintain alignment at all times.

C2. Active plank

Position your elbows slightly in front of your shoulders and keep your hands in line with the shoulders. Initiate the movement by firstly squeezing the glutes and tucking your pelvis under while on your knees. Next, lift your knees off the ground and get up onto your toes, and pull your elbows back towards your toes.

Rhys Brooks is a qualified strength coach and sports nutritionist based at Fitness First’s Bond Street club with over 13 years experience in the fitness industry. His business, Brooks Performance, can be contacted via or on 0478 219 260.

Videography by Nathan Ford.
Photography by Lee McCluskey.