Total Gym’s Stay In Shape Over The Holidays Workout Series: Week 7 – Merry Muscles

week 7 merry muscles video

Keep your Figure During This Holiday Season:


Tis the season of giving, enjoying special moments with friends and family, and reflecting on all you have accomplished in the past year. Why not give yourself one of the best gifts you can give: a lifetime of living a healthy lifestyle.

We all know how the holidays can be filled with so much to do, which can cause unwanted stress. Rather than get yourself hung up on those “to do” lists, let’s focus on ways to enjoy and diversify some fun ways to stay fit while the holidays approach.

  1. Bake a Bunch

Bake or no bake – get into the kitchen for some fun!  Discovering new recipes with healthier ingredients can be a treat within itself!  Surprise your guests with this simple, tasty, treat for all to enjoy. No oven needed!

Dark Chocolate Treats

3 Ingredients Needed: cacao powder, coconut oil, maple syrup

*Could add to the chocolate mix: almond butter, jam, coconut flakes, nuts

Cacao powder unsweetened: 1 quarter cup
Coconut oil: 1 quarter cup (melt on stove/microwave)
Maple syrup: 2 table spoons
Wisk & mix in a bowl. Pour into a molding. Freeze 15-20 min. Serve & Enjoy!


2. Head to the Hills

No matter where you reside, find a special place to explore by foot. Whether you need to bundle up in the cold or shed some layers in the heat, take time to enjoy getting some fresh air with some scenic views while you sweat it out in the ‘hills’ of your location!


3. Relax & Rejuvenate

 All the shopping and holiday parties getting too much? Maybe it’s time to relax at a day spa or take a meditation class to rejuvenate your mind!


4.  Plan Ahead

I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again: if you want to stay fit during the holidays, planning your workouts and meals are required. Set aside a time that works with your holiday schedule, commit to it, and stick with it! If you plan ahead this will eliminate the excuse of ‘not having time’.


5. Make it a Family Event

The more the merrier! – Why not make it a family event and do something active that the whole family can enjoy? How about a snowball fight, football in the snow, or just some outdoor games? Having the whole family engage in fun activities can keep everyone fit and creates memories that last a lifetime!

Now let’s make our muscles jolly by going over this weeks ‘Merry Muscles’ workout!  The total body circuits are progressive and are intended to burn fat, blast calories, and condition your entire body. After that, the Pilates routine focuses on strengthening while lengthening your muscles.


Dedicate This Week To Your Holiday Goals With Week 7’s Merry Muscles Routine


This is the 7th week of the holiday program; so if you’re just joining in now, you have the option to refer back to week 1’s blog for the full program details and start from the beginning or you can pick up with week 5’s blog, which is the half way marker. I recommend printing or saving the 8-week schedule to your phone/notebook for an easy reference plan (found in week 1’s blog) as well as each new week’s workout.


Week 7 focuses on ‘Merry Muscles’ workouts, which are intended to move at an intermediate pace. You will perform:

  • 2 Total Body Circuits on non-consecutive days
  • 2-3 days Cardio Sessions of your choice (30-60 min)
  • 2 “Pilates Strength & Cardio” movements (routine below)


Listed below are the holiday goals along with the 7th week’s ‘Merry Muscles’ routine.


Holiday Goals

  1. Stay fit & active over the holiday’s
  1. Stay committed & disciplined
  1. Remain stress-free
  1. Enjoy the festivities but do not over indulge


The Workout:

NOTE: Week 7’s workouts contain exercises from the previous weeks routines with an added challenge. Therefore, if you have been following the series consistently, the exercises will feel familiar. The new variations and exercises are in PINK. Look over the changes before performing the workout!

WEEK 7: Merry Muscles – intermediate pace

Total Body Circuits & Pilates Routines

INSTRUCTIONS: Follow the plan for each day listed. On the Merry Muscles days, perform each exercise as a circuit (one after the other with no rest).
– Perform 10 reps for ALL exercises, 2-3x sets

Perform the same dynamic warm-up on BOTH Merry Muscles days: 10 reps/ 2 sets.

– 2 Jacks, 2 Jack Squats, Toe Touch Sweeps R/ L
– 2 Plié’s, 2 Side-to-Side Hops
– 2 Push-ups, 4 Diagonal Mountain Climbers
– Runners Lunge Stretch & Rotate

DAY 1: Total Body Circuit

EQUIPMENT: Hand Weights & Cables
Low-medium level & optional hand weights
1. Lateral Lunge with Side Arm Raises
2. Knee Tucks
3. Bridge Press with Chest Flies
4. Forearm Plank Slides (+single leg)
5. Straight Leg Lifts
6. Reverse Pulls & Row
7. Static Bicep Presses
8. Pullover Crunch (legs extended)

DAY 2: Pilates Strength & Cardio Routine

Warm-Up: on floor
1. Plié, Side Bends
2. Side Leaps
****  Medium- High level, Connect Foot bar  ****
1. Cardio:

Plié Jumps
Alternating Single Leg Hops (carefully watch footing!)

2. Strength:


3. Cardio:

Plié Jumps
Alternate Single Leg Hops

4. Strength:

Long Stretch (Beginner: bent knees) / (Advanced: extend legs)
Low level, Connect Cables

5. Strength:

Single Leg Stretch
Double Leg Stretch

REPEAT Routine 2x

Day 3: 30-60 min cardio session of your choice & stretch/ foam roll
DAY 4: Total Body Circuit
DAY 5: Pilates Strength & Cardio Routine
DAY 6: 30-60 min cardio session of your choice & stretch/ foam roll

NOTE: The Pilates Routine calls for using the “foot bar” for the setup of the exercises for seamless transitions.  If you feel you want more stability, support, and want to take more safety precautions during the cardio jumps, please use the “squat stand” accessory instead for those exercises.


NOTE: Check out the video to see how these exercises are performed.


Be sure to spend a few minutes stretching or foam rolling post workouts. This will help to recover your muscles and to prevent injury. Stay tuned for the FINAL week of our workout series, ‘Tight Package’ workout, designed to keep your body, mind and soul tight in the package you carry around each day!


Happy Holidays & enjoy making this season special.


Best to you,


Maria (purchasable workout videos)

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. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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