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Holiday Highs and Lows + Weekly Workouts

Hi! I don’t know about you guys but I’m feeling the holiday hustle in full force. The ratio of “what I hope to achieve and do” versus “what actually happens” is pretty comical right now but I’m just taking it one day at a time. I thought for today’s weekly workouts post that I would discuss both emotional and physical health during the holidays.


It’s easy to talk about things like staying active to combat holiday stress and splurges. It’s another thing to talk about taking care of ourselves emotionally during the holiday. One thing that really surprises me about the holidays is how they can stir up a huge range of emotions. I started my Saturday morning yoga class by sharing that although it’s a festive and joyful season of the year, I was feeling kind of sad. I had just received word that one of our students lost her father, another teacher is dealing with a mother who is very ill after just losing her father earlier this year, a friend is going through a separation and I am feeling a little displaced by the first holiday with no family gathering at my grandmother’s house.

So while holidays mostly bring joy, gifts, family gatherings and love, they can also come with the paradox of sadness, loneliness, changing traditions, changing family dynamics, loss, etc.


Since I’m finding myself sorting through a myriad of emotions and flooded with memories from holidays past, I wanted to bring this up today because it’s been on my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the love and abundant blessings in my life this holiday season but I think it’s so important to normalize talking about our feelings, especially during times where we are expected to feel a certain way and we just don’t.

So whether you’re feeling high or low, don’t judge it and don’t feel guilty for talking about it.

Back to the physical side of things…a good workout always seems to help clear my head and resettle my emotions so here’s how I’ve been working out this week.



Hot yoga


Strength/CrossFit-ish workout

10 back squats (115#)
10 ring rows
10 push ups (perfect push ups)
10 GHD sit ups

3 rounds:

10 deadlifts (115#)
10 ring rows
10 burpees
10 GHD sit ups

This was a great little workout and I was definitely feeling the GHDs for two days after. And check out the perfect push up video. While I admit that I do “chest push ups” often, I like to challenge myself with the “perfect” push up from time to time. Much more work on the tris and shoulders!


Hot yoga


3 miles treadmill sprints + strength + hot yoga (my kind of triathlon!)

3 miles treadmill:

1 mile to warm up at a moderate pace
1 mile of 45 seconds on, 15 off at a 7:15 pace
1 mile of 20 on, 10 off at a 6:30 pace

Strength, 3 rounds:

12 chest flies (20#)
12 assisted pull ups (machine)
12 assisted tricep dips (machine)
12 split squats with rear leg elevated on a bench (holding two 20# dumbbells)
12 straight bar bicep curls (30#)
12 single leg deadlifts, each leg (holding one 20# dumbbell)
12 side raises (#15)
12 plate squat to press overhead (25# plate)

Loved this strength circuit. I don’t use machines often but I love the pull up and dip machine. I feel like I can really focus on engaging my lats in the pull ups and can’t cheat by “swinging” my core/hips. Also a big fan of split squats with a lifted rear leg. Makes it so much more intense in the working leg.

Hot yoga to stretch it all out after. Such a treat to make the time to fit this all in! These kind of workout days are few and far between.


Hot yoga



3 mile run

Zoey has become the best, most enthusiastic running partner. Makes my heart happy.


Teach Total Strength

I have a killer little “4-3-2-1” planned for them that I’ve tested on several clients already. I can’t wait to share it here soon!

Off to teach!

How are you feeling this holiday season? Give me one word, a sentence or a paragraph! (excited, happy, joyful, grateful, a little of both, behind, stressed, extremely organized…???)

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Hilary December 20, 2015, 5:26 pm

    I was feeling a little down lately about Christmas, being in a new place and not being home for the holidays for the first time can be weird, and honestly make ya feel like it isn’t Christmas at all!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 21, 2015, 9:33 pm

      It’ll definitely be weird! I’m grateful that I got to see my family recently but holidays aren’t the same without them.

  • Emily @ My Healthyish Life December 20, 2015, 8:29 pm

    I like the looks of your strength workout on Thursday! Might give it a try. This is the second day that I’ve felt the Christmas “chaos” because I was preoccupied by school. So not having too much time to think about things has made me extra joyful and content this season. Doesn’t sound logical!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 21, 2015, 9:34 pm

      I know what you mean! I hope you like the workout!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen December 21, 2015, 5:33 am

    I’m totally with ya on feeling the holiday hustle! I am home with family now and feeling much more at peace, but I still agree…sweating just makes me feel balanced 🙂 (heading to spin right now before anyone wakes up!)

    • Jen DeCurtins December 21, 2015, 10:04 pm

      Sounds perfect! Good for you for making time for it!

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt December 21, 2015, 9:21 am

    Such a good point about talking about stuff. I often pin stuff up because I don’t want to seem negative– because I DO have so much to be grateful for. But the holidays can be hard.
    I’m cautiously joyful and a little stressed this holiday :-)))

    • Jen DeCurtins December 21, 2015, 10:11 pm

      I think we all need to be reminded of that from time to time but especially during the holidays!

  • Allyssa December 21, 2015, 9:41 am

    I love your blog and this post! I like getting workout ideas from you and hearing about your daily life! I am excited for the holiday season! I just finished getting my master’s degree so I am excited to start relaxing a bit this holiday!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 21, 2015, 10:12 pm

      Thank you and congrats!! That’s a huge accomplishment!

  • Arthi December 21, 2015, 10:34 am

    I’ve been feeling … Extremely grateful.

    This is the first holiday season in a VERY long time that I’ve actually been able to relax … And just enjoy the days. I quit my job of six years on November 18th and don’t start my new job until January 25th (did that intentionally!) and it’s been wonderful to simply relax! Incredibly grateful of the time off and opportunity to savor the holidays.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 21, 2015, 10:13 pm

      That’s awesome! Enjoy the time you have to rest!

  • Sarah @ SarahRuns26 December 21, 2015, 10:42 am

    I love this post. I can totally relate. Most of the holiday season I’ve been super happy and enjoying the little things. Then I get a bit overwhelmed at how much there is to do and how quickly the time is going and am I really appreciating things and enjoying them like I should?! There’s a bit of sadness because my grandma isn’t here anymore and my 100-yr old grandpa isn’t in the greatest health. I am doing my best to be ok with ALL of the emotions as they come and trying to remain in the moment. I always try to reset to joy, but some days that is easier said than done!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 23, 2015, 5:14 pm

      You’re right, it’s easier said than done but you’re certainly approaching it with the right mindset!

  • Joy December 21, 2015, 11:03 am

    I’ve been feeling a bit sad the past few days. The sadness always creeps up on me this time of year because I lost my mother 15 years ago and her birthday was on Christmas Day. So even when I’m not consciously thinking about her, that sadness is there and I definitely feel it especially the last week leading up to Christmas. I’m still happy overall and love this time of year, but totally understand where you’re coming from.

  • She Rocks Fitness December 21, 2015, 11:56 am

    Christmas is always a whirlwind of emotions…I always feel all over the place, but right now I have my list; I did my workout; and I am ready to get things done. I need to relax a little though and enjoy it. I’m home in NJ for a week and I want to just enjoy it. It’s unfortunate how much stress we put on ourselves this time of year, when it should be fun and enjoyable. It is tough, but I always find a sweaty workout or long walk with the pups is a great way to put things in perspective. XOXO

  • Hillary December 21, 2015, 12:26 pm

    This has been a tough holiday season for me. The last 3 months have been spent not working out and putting on some weight. I’ve finally decided to work on beating the final vestiges of my eating disorder that I’ve avoided for years. Not exercising has been the hardest, but I know it’s for the best right now. I’m just grateful that I have so many loving and supportive people surrounding me right now.

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