12 Days of Fitness Challenge: 1st Day of Fitness

Give your body and soul a gift by staying active and stress free during the holidays so that you can really enjoy what it’s all about.


The 12 days of fitness challenge will help you get your sweat on while staying in the spirit of the season.  This workout challenge motivates you to commit to a goal and encourages you to go at your own pace to accomplish the daily tasks.  So get ready to carve out some holiday time for yourself, train hard, and sweat off those delicious deserts you couldn’t pass up!




This challenge entails a specific workout each day supplemented with 4 special exercises that progress in reps or time over the 12 days.  The workouts are effective in burning extra calories, efficient in improving muscular strength and tone, and will release stress so that you can carry on your merry way in minimal time.



12-Days of Fitness Challenge plan at a glance:


1st Day of Fitness: Core

2nd Day of Fitness: Legs

3rd Day of Fitness: Arms

4th Day of Fitness: Total Body Challenge

5th Day of Fitness: Legs & Core

6th Day of Fitness: Arms & Core

7th Day of Fitness:  Cardio & Core

8th Day of Fitness: Total Body Challenge

9th Day of Fitness: Legs & Cardio

10th Day of Fitness: Arms & Cardio

11th Day of Fitness: Core & Cardio

12th Day of Fitness: Total Body Challenge


Ultimate Challenge Goal by Day 12:

  • Plank Hold: 3 minutes (180 sec)
  • Squats: 150 reps

Lunges: 75 reps per leg  (300 total squats & lunges)

  • Push-Up / Pike-Up: 24 consecutive reps


Now hold on to your reindeer, as we will explain in more detail how the 12-Day Challenge works so you know what to expect.



This first blog is a lot to take in, but broken down each day, it will be quite simple for you to achieve!



Every day of this holiday challenge you will be given a series of exercises to complete.  The workouts are grouped into 4-day increments that target certain muscle groups (schedule listed above).


Each workout contains 4-5 exercises that target the legs, arms, core, cardio or a specific combination of moves.  Every 4th day (day’s 4, 8, & 12) will be a ‘total body’ workout compiled of 6 exercises chosen from their previous 3 days.  Therefore, you should be familiar with these movements.


Note: We chose the ‘total body’ exercises for you, however, if there are ones you prefer doing instead, choose 2 exercises from each 3 day block to create your own ‘total body challenge’. 


Exercise Prescription:

  • Days 1-4: 10 reps, 1 set
  • Days 5-8: 10 reps, 2 sets
  • Days 9-12: 20 reps, 1 set



Each day you will be provided a “Daily Challenge” that progresses in small increments by time or repetitions.  These exercises make up the ‘Ultimate Challenge’ goal by Day 12.  The exercises consist of:


  • Plank Hold
  • Squats & Lunges
  • Push-Up / Pike-Up (TG) OR Push-Up (standard)


These exercises are body weight movements that require your motivation and proper form to complete.  They can easily be done anywhere; at home, at the gym, at the store… you get the point!  The ‘Push-Up/ Pike-Up’ exercise is meant to be performed on the Total Gym (TG), however, if you do not have the equipment with you, performing good old ‘Push-Ups’ will do just as well!


The daily challenges are goals to achieve.  They are designed to be completed at once, however, if they cannot… don’t give up!  We’re all at different fitness levels so take it at a pace you can succeed.  You have the entire day to complete the challenge, check it off your list, and stay motivated for the next day’s goals.


Consistency is the key to success!



Ultimate Goal: build up to 3 minutes (180 sec) by day 12.

  • Perform a plank each day. Holding with good form, increase the amount of time by 15 seconds per day to reach a total of 3 minutes!
  • Modify: drop the knees to the ground and keep an elongated position from the head to the knees.



Ultimate Goal: build up to 300 total reps

  • SQUATS: 150 reps
  • LUNGES: 75 reps per leg (= 300 total)
  • Every other ‘odd day’ (Day’s 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11) you will alternate between performing a set number of squats or lunges. The reps will increase each workout to build up to the Ultimate Goal.

Form: Be sure your form is spot on to prevent injury and to get the most out of the exercises.

  • Squats: keep the knees in line with the toes as you press the hips back into a squat. Aim for the thighs to parallel the floor, while keeping the chest lifted and shoulders back.  Press the weight through the heels and activate the glutes and hamstrings throughout the exercise.  Vary the stance to target different muscle angles.
  • Lunges: keep the knees in line with the toes as you bend and straighten the legs while keeping the torso perpendicular to the ground. Make sure your foot stance is wide enough to create two 90-degree angles when the knees are bent.
  • Modify: make the range of motion smaller and focus of proper form.



Even Days: PUSH-UP / PIKE-UP (TG) or PUSH-UPS (no TG)

Ultimate Goal: build up to 24 consecutive reps

  • Every ‘even day’ (Day’s 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) you will perform either a push-up/ pike-up on your Total Gym or substitute a regular body weight push-up for convenience when the equipment is not available.
  • Modify: drop the knees to the glide board or to the ground and keep an elongated position from the head to the knees to perform the exercise.


This challenge will have you decking the halls while jingling your bells!


Now that you have an overview of the next 12 days, it’s time to get focused, motivated, and determined to make the holiday’s work for YOU!






Equipment needed: Total Gym


  • The 1st day of Fitness challenges the CORE.
  • Perform each exercise for 10 reps, 1 set in Circuit Format.
  • Complete the ‘Daily Challenge’ by the end of each day.
  • Adjust the incline to accommodate and challenge your strength level.


Begin each workout with a dynamic warm-up & conclude with a cool down.

  • Warm up: Perform a 3-minute dynamic warm up to prepare your muscles in all ranges of motion. (Ex: jumping jacks, squat knee up, lunge & twist, etc.)
  • Cool Down: Conclude each workout with a series of stretches to recover and lengthen the worked muscles. Stretching will prevent injury and prepare you for the next workout! (Ex: runners lunge, figure 4, forward fold, down-dog, etc.)



  1. Torso rotation
  2. Pullover crunch
  3. Side crunch
  4. 3 Forearm plank pull / 3 Back extension



  • PLANK HOLD: 15 seconds
  • SQUATS: 25 reps


Check out the video to see how these exercises are performed!



These challenges are not meant to overwhelm or frustrate you.  It’s intended to excite and motivate you to accomplish something magical during the holidays and develop a routine for the New Year.  Plus, it’s the best gift you could give yourself because it doesn’t cost a thing and it keeps giving to your health every single day!


Let’s get your holiday sweat on and burn it out!


Stay tuned for the 2nd Day of the Fitness Challenge.


Merry Fitness,


Maria & Mark


FOCUS OF TODAY: Make a plan


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. http://www.groovysweat.com http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos) http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you for making these videos!

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