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Try This 30-Day Workout To Trim Your 'Santa Belly'

Shrink your waistline and navigate this holiday season with a blend of festivity and fitness.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

With the holiday season approaching, it's tempting to indulge in festive treats and cozy nights by the fireplace, watching your favorite holiday films. But what if you could enjoy the merriment while also chiseling away that "Santa belly" you've managed to develop over the past year? Fortunately, a tight and toned tummy doesn't have to stay on your Wish List; it can become your reality. We chatted with Michael Masi, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who shares a practical and festive 30-day workout to lose belly fat and keep you in shape during the joyful chaos of the holidays.

If you struggle to avoid overindulging over the holidays, you're not alone. A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that the Christmas and New Year period during December is a key period of weight gain for most adults. However, the good news is that while it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday preparations, maintaining a workout routine can be a refreshing way to jingle all the way to a healthier, slimmer you. This 30-day workout to lose belly fat is designed to be effective and fun, ensuring you don't have to sacrifice the holiday spirit for your fitness goals.

Read on for Masi's 30-day workout to trim your Santa belly and reveal your sculpted midsection. Then, when you're finished, check out The 10 Best Weight-Loss Exercises, According to a Trainer.

Days 1-10: Foundation, Flexibility, and Cardiovascular Endurance

During the initial phase (Days 1-10), we will lay the groundwork for the month ahead. Think foundation, flexibility, and boosting cardiovascular endurance. A mix of bodyweight exercises, gentle stretches, and brisk walking or light jogging will warm your body up and ready for the next 30 days.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday (Strength Training)

1. Plank: 3 sets of 30-second planks

man high plank

Set yourself up in a plank position, with your arms straight beneath your shoulders. Engage your core, and keep your body aligned from your head to your heels. Hold the plank for 30 seconds, aiming for three sets. Focus on maintaining good form throughout.

2. Side Plank with Reach-Throughs: 3 sets of 5 reps per side

Start in a side plank position with your hand on the floor directly beneath your shoulder. Reach your top arm under your torso and back up toward the ceiling. Do five reach-throughs on each side, completing three sets. This exercise targets your obliques for a strong, defined core.

3. Deep Bodyweight Squats: 30 to 50 reps total with as many sets as needed

deep squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Aim for 30 to 50 reps, breaking them into sets as needed. This targets your lower body, particularly your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

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Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Cardio)

1. Brisk Walking or Light Jogging: 30 minutes

woman running

Lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement for a 30-minute brisk walk or light jog. Maintain a pace that elevates your heart rate without pushing you into breathlessness.

2. Jumping Jacks: 3 sets of one-minute sets

how to do jumping jacks demonstration

Start with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump while spreading your feet wide and raising your arms overhead. Do three sets of one minute each.

Sunday: Rest or Light Yoga

downward dog

Give your body a well-deserved break on Sunday. Take a complete rest day or do light yoga to enhance flexibility and promote relaxation. It's the perfect way to recharge for the next phase.

Days 11-20: Intensity Increase and Core Focus

As we move into the second phase (Days 11-20), prepare to turn things up a notch.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday (Strength Training)

1. Dumbbell Goblet Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps

illustration of dumbbell goblet squats

Hold a dumbbell close to your chest. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, keeping your back straight. Push through your heels to return to the starting position. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

2. Leg Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps

leg lifts

Lie on your back with your hands under your hips. Lift your legs toward the ceiling. Lower them back down without letting them touch the ground. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

3. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 15 reps

illustration of dumbbell deadlifts free weight exercises for men to build muscle

Hold dumbbells in front of your thighs. Hinge at your hips, lowering the dumbbells while keeping your back straight. Lower until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Return to the starting position. Aim for three sets of 15 reps.

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Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Cardio)

1. High Knees

high knees illustration

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shoulders back, and arms hanging by your sides. Lift your right knee toward your chest as high as possible, engaging your core muscles. Quickly switch to lift your left knee towards your chest as the right one comes down. Continue alternating knees in a running or marching motion. Swing your arms in sync with your knee raises for balance and coordination.

Perform high knees quickly, lifting your knees as high as comfortable. Keep your back straight and your chest up, and maintain a brisk and controlled rhythm. Continue for one minute, maintaining a steady pace for an effective cardiovascular workout. Then, walk for one minute. Do three rounds total.

2. Burpees

illustration of burpees

Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop into a squat position, and place your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back, landing in a plank position. Perform a pushup, lowering your chest to the ground. Jump your feet back to the squat position quickly. Explosively jump up from the squat position, reaching your arms overhead. Land and immediately go into the next repetition. Repeat this sequence for one minute, followed by one minute of walking. Complete three rounds total.

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3. Jump Rope

woman jump rope

Stand with your feet close together and your knees slightly bent. Begin swinging the jump rope over your head in a circular motion. As the rope comes down, jump over it with both feet, keeping them together. Land softly on the balls of your feet, absorbing the impact with your knees slightly bent. Use your wrists to rotate the rope; the movement should come from the wrists, not the shoulders. Jump rope for one minute before walking for another minute. Repeat for three rounds.

Sunday: Rest, Yoga, or Light Stretching

Sunday is another Choose-Your-Own-Recovery day. Get your hard-earned rest by engaging in active recovery, yoga, or light stretching to prepare your body for the final push.

Days 21-30: Advanced Conditioning and Core

In the final stretch (Days 21-30), it's time to step it up. You've built the foundation, cranked up the intensity, and now you're ready for the final push. Get ready to unveil a fitter, trimmer you just in time for the holiday festivities.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday (Advanced Core and Strength)

1. Dumbbell Squat Thrusters

dumbbell squat to press thrusters

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, positioned at shoulder height. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Perform a squat, lowering your body down. As you rise from the squat, push the dumbbells overhead into a shoulder press. Return the dumbbells to the starting position, and repeat for four sets of 20 reps.

2. The Pilates 100

Lie on your back. Lift your legs and head off the ground. Extend your arms straight by your sides. Pulse your arms up and down while keeping your core engaged. Perform 100 reps as fast as possible.

3. Alternating Step Back Lunges

front lunge exercise

Stand with your feet together. Take a step backward with your right foot, lowering into a lunge. Push off the right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. Alternate side for 20 steps per leg across four sets.

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Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (High-Intensity Cardio)

1. Sprint Intervals

Sprint for 20 seconds, then walk for 40 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 minutes.

2. Fast-Paced Cycling or Swimming

man swimming concept

Hop on the spin bike or jump in the pool for a solid 30-minute cardio session at a brisk pace. Maintain a brisk pace for 20 minutes.

Sunday: Active Recovery (Yoga or a Long Walk)

Engage in a yoga session focusing on flexibility and relaxation or take a long walk for active recovery.

Adam Meyer, RHN
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
Sources referenced in this article
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