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How to Offset Thanksgiving Calories

Posted on 11/11/2011 by Sarah Dussault // Filed in Community, Fitness, Holidays // Leave a Comment

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Americans on average eat between 3,000 and 5,000 calories according to most estimates on Thanksgiving Day.  Some experts even suggest upper limits reaching as high as 7,000 calories!  For many, this is more than double the suggested number of calories consumed per day.

Without exercise, a 150-lb female requires between 1,400-2,000 calories per day, leaving at least 1,000 calories of excess energy that will be stored in the body.

During my career in online health and fitness, I have found people are not willing to skip out on their favorites for lower calorie versions.  Holidays come once a year and should be embraced, but remember not to over indulge and practice portion control.  Incorporating exercise is also very important to maintain your weight during the holidays.

Many cities and small towns host road races called “Turkey Trots” on Thanksgiving Day morning.  These community events are social, fun and most importantly will jump start that metabolism.  Not only will you earn a piece of Apple Pie before the in-laws arrive, but you’ll also be more relaxed throughout the day.  Between awkward family dynamics and baking disasters, one of the many benefits of exercise helps reduce stress.  Visit or to find a local event near you.

If you don’t have a Turkey Trot near your Thanksgiving Day festivities, start with your own 10K cardio challenge.  Bring a sister, son, daughter or family member for company.

If the weather outside is frightful or you are limited to working out in a small room, try completing a Tabata interval workout.  The only equipment you will need is a timer, which you will be able to find on most Smart phones.  A Tabata interval is a 4-minute long interval that alternates between 20 seconds of intense work and 10 seconds of rest.  You repeat this sequence 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.

Studies have shown that this work/recovery timing burns more fat than steady state cardio.  It was also found to burn up to 800 extra calories by helping keep heart rate raised throughout the day, making this form of exercise ideal for a day like Thanksgiving.  Try doing 4-8 different exercises using the Tabata protocol.  Here are my go-to exercises for the Tabata intervals:

●     Push-ups

●     Planks

●     Jumping jacks

●     Mountain climbers

●     Sumo squats

●     Single leg dead lifts

●     Reverse lunges

●     Russian twists

Another activity you can try to help offset the calorie gorge is playing flag football with the family or going for a walk after dinner.

How do you offset Thanksgiving Day calories?

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