The festive season workout

Stay fit throughout the distractions of Christmas and the New Year with this highly time-efficient workout by Fitness First personal trainer, Crystal Wildin.

Even though most of us like to relax, recharge and somewhat overindulge during the festive season, this doesn’t mean we should put our fitness goals on hold. Being persistent and consistent with your exercise over the holiday period will ensure you’ll feel fabulous coming into the New Year.

We’re here to help you stay committed to fitness this busy holiday season, so Fitness First’s Crystal Wildin has devised this efficient and effective circuit-style training session, which will see you get a serious workout in just 40 minutes.

Crystal says it’s based on functional movements that you use in everyday life as well, so it’s not complicated and doesn’t require the intense study of an exercise manual. “It’s a way you can efficiently and effectively get it done and still achieve your results in the least amount of time,” she explains.

Crystal’s advice is that you keep your rests between sets as short as possible, and increase weights each week to heighten the intensity. Always engage your abdominal muscles, and keep your shoulders down and back straight!

 1  Bent-over row

3 sets, 12-15 reps, 15kg barbell

Holding the barbell with palms facing away from you, slightly bend your knees and bend at the hips until your body is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and abs engaged as you squeeze through your shoulderblades and pull the bar up toward your bellybutton, with elbows close to your body. Hold for a moment before releasing with control.

 2  Squat to shoulder press

3 sets, 12-15 reps, 5kg dumbbells

Begin in a neutral standing position, with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Squat as far as your body will allow, keeping your weight on your heels as you activate the glutes and abs while keeping the chest up and back straight. Pause for a moment before returning to the start position. After fully rising, press the dumbbells overhead by extending your elbows and flexing at the shoulders. Return weight to shoulder height and repeat.

 3  Step-ups

3 sets, 12 reps each leg, 5kg dumbbells

Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Place your right foot on a step and elevate your body until you’re in a standing position at the top. Keeping your right foot on the step, lower your body in a controlled manner until your left foot reaches the floor. Repeat 12 times. Ensure your glutes and abs are activated to maintain stability and control. Repeat with left leg.

 4  Moving plank

3 sets, 12 reps each arm, body weight

Start in plank position with forearms on the floor, keeping hips in line with your chest. Using your right arm and then the left, push up into a straight-arm plank position, keeping your abs engaged. Lower your right forearm back down to the mat, followed by your left. Repeat 12 times, then repeat the exercise, starting with your left arm.

 5  Chest press

3 sets, 12-15 reps, 4-5kg dumbbells

Lying on a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Straighten arms so the dumbbells are directly above your chest. Slowly bend your arms, bringing the dumbbells toward you, until elbows dip slightly below chest level. Arms should be no wider than 90 degrees. Pause, then press the dumbbells back up to start position.

 6  Kettlebell swings

3 sets, 15-20 reps, 8kg kettlebell

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the kettlebell with palms facing toward you, pulling your shoulders down and back, and abs activated. Bend your knees slightly and bend at the hips, keeping your back and neck straight. Allow the kettlebell to swing between your legs, then drive your hips forward and swing the kettlebell forward, no higher than your shoulders. Keeping the abs engaged, swing the kettlebell back down between your legs. Repeat in a continuous motion.

 7  TRX row

3 sets, 12-15 reps, body weight

Grip the TRX handles, straighten your arms and walk forward until there’s tension in the straps. Start with your palms facing the floor. Keeping your torso tight, retract your shoulderblades back and down as you pull your body toward your hands with your elbows wide and in line with your shoulders. Lower your body back down to starting position and repeat the exercise.

 8  Oblique twists

3 sets, 30+ reps, 5kg medicine ball

Sitting on a mat, bend your knees and slightly lean back, holding your body to form a V shape with your thighs and torso. Ensure your back is straight and abs engaged. Hold a medicine ball in front of your body and twist your torso to the right, holding the ball just above the floor. Hold for a moment before twisting to the left. Repeat until goal repetitions have been accomplished.

Crystal Wildin is a personal trainer at Fitness First Macquarie and Castle Hill, as well as a clinical nutritionist. She has always had a passion for health and fitness, and finds great joy and reward in educating her clients on the necessity of living a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and good nutrition. Contact her at or @pt.crystal