We’ve hosted our relatives, given our thanks and opened our presents. The holidays—when even nutrition-conscious eaters tend to let loose—are coming to a close.
With the help of Dr. David Brock, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and Director of the Physical Activity and Wellness Laboratory at the University of Vermont, we’ve compiled a few methods to help you limit and burn excess calories and, more importantly, get you back out there.
1. Push Yourself. Doing just a short, easy Turkey Trot might make you feel like you can indulge in a second piece of pie. But if you really want to burn off a full meal, do one that that’s a 10K or longer and do it at your max speed so your metabolism will keep working. A 150-pound person will burn around 1,100 calories running at a vigorous pace for two hours.
2. Try Something New. The more you practice one sport, the more efficient you become and the fewer calories you burn. If you’re a runner, try cycling. You can burn 1,000 calories with just an hour and a half of strenuous biking, at a pace of 14-16 miles per hour. If you are a cyclist, try a master’s swim class.
3. Do Both Cardio and Strength Exercises. While cardio can help you lose body fat, it can also cause you to lose skeletal muscle tissue, the muscles that connect with your bones. Having a good amount of skeletal muscle tissue keeps your metabolism high, helping your body burn calories more easily. Without it, weight can come back fast. A 30-minute strength training or lifting workout will burn around 100 calories, and 20 minutes of running at an 8-minute-mile pace will burn about 300 calories. A recent Kennesaw State University study showed that a CrossFit workout called Cindy (which consists of pullups, pushups and squats) burns 261 calories in 20 minutes.
4. Keep It Fun. Scheduling regular exercise, getting social support and keeping it fun is the best long-term strategy. You don’t need to burn those 1,000 extra calories all in one day, but you should ramp up your exercise and cut back on calories for a few days after overindulging.
*Workouts are based on a 150-pound person. Calories burned will be slightly higher for those who weigh more than 150 pounds, and lower for those who weigh less.