Have you ever wondered how many calories you consume during the holidays … and how many you need to burn to avoid gaining weight? If you’ve worked hard enough (and burned enough calories) at the gym you’ll maintain your weight. If not … you end up starting the new year with yet ANOTHER resolution to lose the holiday weight!
Unless you’re a total recluse (and never leave your house) it’s incredibly hard to avoid the excess calories that come with the holiday season. High calorie foods play a big part in making parties, social events, and dinners ultimately more fun and enjoyable. For those of us who are concerned with maintaining our weight during the holiday season, subconscious thoughts that we may have include:
- How many miles of walking or running will it take to burn off this piece of cheesecake?
- Will a 50 mile bike make up for the beers and box of chocolates I had last night?
- If I do an “Insanity” workout before dinner will it help me eat less?
- Will a P90X Yoga X workout burn more calories than a Zumba class?
- Between running, biking or swimming … which burns the most calories?
Knowing the answers to these questions is only useful if you know how many calories are in the food and beverages your consume each day and the rate at which you personally burn calories. This can be done using a calories burned calculator and an online calorie counter!
Burning Calories with Exercise – Minutes Required
Determining how many calories you burn doing physical activity and exercise is not a simple calculation. Gender, age, height, weight and body composition (the amount of fat, bone, water and muscle that make up the human body) all play a part in determining the rate at which you burn calories. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the rate of energy expenditure when the body is at rest and accounts for 60 to 75 percent of total daily energy expenditure and plays a huge role in how the body uses its energy reserves. A lower rate is associated with a higher risk of weight gain and higher rate is associated with a higher risk of weight loss (assuming poor nutrition is not a factor).
Research has shown that three variables are directly related to resting metabolic rate:
- Gender: Males typically have a higher RMR due to a higher proportion of fat-free mass
- Fat-free mass: Individuals with a higher percentage of fat-free mass have a higher RMR
- Fat mass: Individuals with a higher percentage of fat mass have a lower RMR
To view the research click here.
As a result, females will need to do the following to burn as many calories as a male doing the exact same exercise:
- Increase the intensity
- Increase the time
- Increase the intensity and time (together)
Burning Calories Over the Holidays (SlideShare)
The SlideShare presentation provides examples of popular holiday foods and beverages and amount of exercise required to burn the equivalent number of calories (in minutes). The holiday foods and beverages include:
- Wine (6 oz. serving size) – 144 calories
- Beer (12 oz. serving size) – 156 calories
- Chocolates (4 pieces in a gift box) – 200 calories
- Gingerbread cookies (2 iced cookies) – 200 calories
- Eggnog (8 oz. serving size) – 343 calories
- Dinner sides (one small plate of salad greens with 2 Tbsp. dressing and one white dinner roll with 1 Tbsp. of butter) – 356 calories
- Mixed nuts (1/2 cup serving size) – 440 calories
- Turkey sandwich (3 oz. white and dark turkey, 1/4 cup cornbread stuffing, 2 Tbsp. cranberry sauce, 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise and 2 slices of whole grain bread) – 490 calories
- Apple pie (1/8 piece of a 9 inch pie with 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream) – 560 calories
- Turkey dinner plate (6 oz. white and dark turkey, 1/2 cup cornbread stuffing, 1/4 cup cranberry sauce, 1/2 cup candied sweet potatoes and 1/4 cup gravy) – 990 calories
The exercise and physical activity options include:
- Walking (3.0 mph; moderate pace)
- Weight training (vigorous effort)
- Cycling or spinning (moderate pace)
- Running (5.0 mph; moderate pace)
- Jumping rope (moderate pace)
All values are shown for a male (35 years old, 5 feet 9 inches and 200 pounds) and a female (35 years old, 5 feet 5 inches and 150 pounds).
Final Thoughts About Burning Calories this Holiday Season
The information provided in the SlideShare presentation (to view the presentation in video format click here) is meant to give you an idea of how much additional work you may need to schedule into your workout schedule to help you stay on track towards reaching your fitness goal (rather than take a step backwards or fall off track entirely). You CAN enjoy your holiday season with friends and family without guilt or a feeling or dread when you step on the scale.
Be realistic. Rely on facts (and not perceptions). Get ready to do the work!