Thanksgiving Day Fitness

Airmen run in a Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving.
Airmen of the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing start Thanksgiving off with some exercise during a 5K fun run Nov. 28, 2019, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (Senior Master Sgt. Ralph Branson/U.S. Air Force photo)

Thanksgiving is a day to spend with friends and family and enjoy the fruits of your labor for a day. Instead of being thankful just for the food on the table and a day of watching football, get out in the morning and get something done. Maybe it is yardwork in preparation for visitors later in the day.

But if you think about it, Thanksgiving Day is a great day to get in a Turkey Trot, a football game or a workout that can ease some guilt on an afternoon of gluttony. Below are some ideas for your Turkey Fitness Day.

Our local group is on its 17th-year tradition of an 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day workout. Here is a classic workout we typically do on an outdoor pull-up bar and a running trail:

Classic Run/PT:

Warmup with PT pyramid: Pull-ups x1, push-ups x2, abs x3

  • One pull-up, two push-ups, three abs of choice
  • Two pull-ups, four push-ups, six abs of choice
  • Three pull-ups, six push-ups, nine abs of choice
  • Stop at 5, 10, 15.

Run one mile at an easy pace/stretch.

Repeat 3-4 times.

  • Max pull-ups
  • Max push-ups one minute
  • Max abs or plank pose one minute
  • Run one mile

You can use a track, a playground with monkey bars or a gym (if open on Thanksgiving).

If you have a group of hard chargers, try workouts that require weighted resistance with sandbags, backpacks or dumbbells like the Sandbaby Murph; Circuit Training for a home gym; or a gym, if open. 5 Minutes On/5 Minutes Off.

Go for a long ruck, run or bike for an hour.

The goal is to take some time and burn some calories on a day that is easily the biggest day of consumption for most of us. Regardless -- enjoy.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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