The holiday season means family reunions, last-minute gift shopping, and Winter woes. It's all very exciting and very . . . tiring, which is why keeping up with a workout schedule can be difficult. On Thanksgiving week this year, I tested out the third-ever Sleigh the Holiday workout program from Love Sweat Fitness founder and personal trainer Katie Dunlop. This is the first time it utilizes the LSF app, and the four-week challenge is designed to keep you motivated amid busy times.
What Does Sleigh the Holiday Entail?
Sleigh the Holiday lasts for four weeks starting on Nov. 25 (we're currently into week two right now). Every day consists of a three-part workout routine if you've opted for the premium version of the LSF app ($8 per month for a year): a daily 30- to 60-minute "sweat sesh" that ranges from legs and booty to cardio, full-body, and more; a 10-minute workout called "Daily 10"; and a bonus move. At the end of Daily 10 is what Katie has named "LSF Roll Call," which holds you accountable for small goals. For instance, the roll call on week two day two says, "Sleigh the day by adding 10 squat jumps after every round of the daily 10!"
Each week is its own challenge with a targeted theme. Week one is "Thanks and Planks," week two is "Holly Jolly HIIT" full of calorie-burning plyometric moves, week three is "FaLaLaLa Love Handles," and week four is "Merry and Tight" focused on the glutes. "It's literally set up as I would personally train a client, so if you don't progress through all workouts in a week, you won't progress to the next week," Katie told POPSUGAR. "It's designed to help you build strength and endurance. You will see the rounds of circuits increase in number, intensity, and weights suggested as you go through the weeks."
The equipment and workout length also depend on which fitness level you choose in the app's settings. For instance, a beginner cardio session might look like 30-minute low-intensity steady state (LISS) cardio one day, but intermediate might be 30- to 45-minute moderate-intensity steady state (MISS) cardio and advanced could be 30- to 60-minute MISS. And if you don't opt for the premium version of the app, downloading LSF will still give you access to Daily 10 (plus the roll call at the end) and bonus moves. However, you won't have access to the sweat sessions and other premium-only features. Regardless, you'll be emailed weekly calendars to keep track of the schedule.
What I Thought About Sleigh the Holiday
I was only able to participate four out of the seven days during Thanksgiving week due to my travels, family plans, and long-lasting food coma. But when I did work out — Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday — it was a relief to know that I could simply go to the app on my phone and it was all laid out for me. I definitely liked the fact that I had structure, and the first week of plank bonus moves were great finishers.
My favorite workout by far was the full-body session that I did on Sunday with single-leg squats, lunge jumps, forearm plank and reaches, burpees, and other moves (all of the "sweat sesh" workouts I completed that week consisted of two circuits that you were instructed to do two times each). They were easy to follow, and because I selected the intermediate fitness level in the app, they required what I usually use during my workouts: a booty band, a bench, and dumbbells. Many of the workouts were home-friendly, but you might need access to cardio machines and more gym equipment depending on your level. I plan on continuing with the program intermittently until its completion due to the variety of easy-to-follow routines and the convenience factor of it all.
Note: On Thanksgiving, I counted the Turkey Trot 5K I did as my "sweat sesh" and proceeded, despite my sore feet and legs, to do the Daily 10 and bonus move on the LSF app. Because I didn't complete the designated workout on the app that day, it appeared in that slot the next time I worked out (on Sunday) — which brings me to part of the Sleigh the Holiday challenge that stumped me at first.
When you log a "sweat sesh" in the app, it automatically fills in with the next day's workout, so you might not realize that the daily goal is to do only one of the sessions before moving on to the Daily 10 and bonus move. (Katie said they're working on an update that won't auto-move the next workout into the "sweat sesh" field.) When you don't complete a "sweat sesh," it will roll over to the following day. But at the same time, you can't go back to redo Daily 10 and the bonus moves that you missed (those will change automatically). When I asked Katie about this, she said, "While you can't go back and do old weeks, with premium, you can access the challenge videos always in the library any time."
There's an option to skip workouts in the app, but Katie recommends you don't do this. She explained, "The workouts are designed in a particular order to ensure you're working muscle groups in the most efficient way and not overworking any one body part. So if you can't do a workout on a particular day, it's better to keep it until the next day so you're still working in that order and not just skipping ahead." But you do have the freedom to skip if you want to tailor the program to your particular schedule and preference.
How to Sign Up For Sleigh the Holiday
You can sign up for Sleigh the Holiday online for free here. You'll get a free explainer ebook that includes information about the challenges as well as printables and other goodies. As a reminder, downloading the LSF app will give you access to the Daily 10 and bonus moves, but you won't be able to find the daily sweat sessions. (Also, you can purchase Katie's Holiday Survival Guide on Glow by POPSUGAR.)
Joining the Sleigh the Holiday program is easy to do and you can do so at any time, but you can't start from the week one workouts; you'll begin with the workouts on whatever day you've signed up. Katie said, "If you can crush every week, amazing! If you crush one, skip one, and then jump back in, great! I always want TeamLSF girls to feel inspired and motivated consistently, and I really believe setting it up this way is helping make that happen." I'd say go for it if you're in need of structure and extra motivation this holiday season.