My 5x5 Christmas Workout Plan

So it’s Christmas vacation and I’m visiting Ohio for for six nights and five days (to spend my first holidays away from my family in my 29 years!). In preparation for the trip, I thought a lot about packing (what to wear on Christmas morning?!), buying thoughtful presents for my boyfriend’s family, and of course, my planned workouts. 

I no longer believe in perfection and I'm trying to consistently step away from my perfectionist habits. Thank goodness.

But, I do believe in trying your best to feel your best. To me, that means that movement is key, even during vacation. I go CRAZY just sitting around, talking and eating all the time. One of the big reasons I chose to switch careers and become a personal trainer is that I love being on my feet. 

In traditional strength training, a “5x5” program, means you do 5 sets of 5 reps of one exercise, with a 1.5-2 minute rest break in between, to get you to 25 lifts total. Aka, 25 deadlifts, or 25 squats, etc. This means you've got to lift HEAVY (and have great form). It’s key for building hot, lean muscle. Here’s a video of me doing a 5x5 Deadlift program in August. I was sore for two days! 

A few days ago, the 5x5 concept struck me in a completely different way. What if I run 5 miles for each of the 5 days I’m in Ohio? That would be a pretty sweet way to stay moving, pump up those endorphins and feel great during the festive holiday cheer. 

Immediately all the negative “what-ifs” came pouring in to my mind. I’m human too.

What if it’s raining?

What if my GPS watch doesn’t work in their neighborhood? What if my Spotify doesn’t sync for my music?

What if it’s too cold? What if I have a tummy ache from too much sugar or alcohol? What if I don’t really feel like washing and blow drying my hair again that day?

What if they think I’m crazy that I’m running too much? What if I really don’t want to run? 

Yes. Even running coaches have their excuses. 

But then I thought, how COOL would it be if I ran 25 miles during my trip? How vibrant would I feel each and every day as I got out, hit the pavement, cleared my head, jump-started my digestion and came in to each moment feeling very much connected to my body, present, light-hearted and joyful? 

Yes, that's what I want for Christmas. 

So here’s how I prepped: I brought my GPS watch and charger, my old school Timex watch as back-up (in case I just had to do it by time and would run 45 minutes each day instead of clocking exactly 5 miles) and my cute little iPod Shuffle that was buried in my closet now that I mostly run with Spotify. Oh and layers of seasonal running clothes and my favorite Middlebury baseball hat in case it was raining. 


I’m happy to report I’m one run down and feeling great! My GPS watch worked like a charm and I was able to do 5 miles of loops around a VERY HILLY gorgeous neighborhood to some old music I had on my Shuffle. Killer! 

Now it's time to pick your Personal Trainer's Brain

So do I think running five miles, five times a week is going to give you the body you want? No.

Do I think doing the same type of workout every day and expecting results is legit? No. 

Do I think running is the key to losing weight? No, you gotta strength train! Heavy! 

Do I think running 5 days a week is good for your body? No. That’s too much repetitive impact and your body learns to store calories, rather than burn through them.

Do I think that steady-state cardio is the best form of exercise? Heck no! That’s why 1) I am a personal trainer and teach my clients to lift heavy and 2) a treadmill running instructor who coaches my runners through high-intensity intervals and 3) a private run coach who leads clients on tempo, track and speed runs. 

But …. 

Having a plan to feel my best while away from home and away from a gym? Yes. 

A workout where I don’t have to think, plan or focus on form, but just lace up those sneakers and go? Yes.

Time to think, process and be alone (so important for introverts!). YES.

Movement to help digestion and burn extra calories in my system? Yes. 

A re-set to the day and empowering myself to make better nutritional choices before and after my run? Yes. 

A type of exercise that is so ingrained in my body that it feels like home when I’m far-far away from home? Yes. As a competitive runner since age 13, running is so, so grounding for me. 

Endorphins so I can literally bring my happiest self to the table and enjoy all the Christmas spirit and joy? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Now back to you

What kind of movement can you commit to over the next five days?

Maybe it’s a thirty minuted daily yoga session (I’m loving YouTube’s Yoga by Adrienne’s 30 days of Yoga videos).

Maybe it’s a 45 minute walk every day with the same or different family member.

Maybe it’s the same strength training circuit (see this blog post for my Metabolic Conditioning Routine).

Maybe it’s walking lunges down your hallway or your driveway. Or 10 minutes of stretching to your favorite song on repeat. 

I promise you, movement can make your holidays happier. It doesn’t have to be hard. Because my friends, that’s what January back-at-the-gym is for!

Wish me luck on my 5x5! And who knows, I’m thinking about adding an extra 1.2 miles one of the days, so I can officially run my 26.2 "Ohio Marathon" this Christmas. 

Tell me about your Christmas workouts at this email or on Instagram! I’d love to hear about it. Let’s inspire each other.