There’s a reason that gyms and PT diaries are so full in January and it is called festive indulgence. With all that lovely Christmas food on offer, we end up eating far too much and exercising far too little, then regretting it all come January and starting a diet. Instead, try our Ultimate Guide to Working off Your Festive Indulgence- and you can enjoy those little Christmas delights without the guilt.
1) Advent chocolate. You’re never too old to enjoy an advent calendar in the run up to the big day, and with an average advent chocolate clocking up just 22 calories, it’s a sweet Christmas treat that won’t make your waistband strain. To give you an extra feel good feeling though as you eat your advent chocolate in the morning, pair it with 50 squats- or whatever you can manage in 4 minutes.
2) Mulled wine. There’s nothing that says Christmas quite like the aroma of mulled wine infused with cinnamon, cloves and spices, but just a single smallish glass (around 200ml) of mulled wine will pack in around 210 calories and 26g of sugar which is more than your entire daily recommended sugar allowance! If you’ve indulged on the mulled wine, do your body a favour with a 60 minute brisk walk- enough to burn off one glass of the spiced stuff and clear your head into the bargain. Two glasses? Make it 60 minutes each way!
3) Mince pies. Buttery, crumbly mince pies are literally everywhere during the festive season, so much so that it can seem a crime to have a cuppa without one! All that delicious pastry and boozy filling quickly adds up with a single mince pie containing around 10g of fat, 16g of sugar and 260 calories. An ideal exercise to counteract your mince pie is just 20 minutes of HIIT, or high intensity interval training. Do jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, step ups and high knees for 4 minutes each exercise. Do the exercise as intensely as you can for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds until you reach 4 minutes.
4) Christmas dinner. This is the big one, the meal you’ve waited all year to demolish- roast potatoes, turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, gravy, parsnips, cranberry sauce, sprouts, carrots and all! And if you include everything it is possible to include on a Christmas dinner then you’ll be consuming almost 1000 calories in your meal. So, on Boxing Day how about a session of shadow boxing? You don’t even need gloves, just find a quiet area of the house and do 30 minutes of punches and jabs, using your whole body as you duck and squat just like you’re in a proper boxing match. You’ll burn off approximately 300 calories- almost a third of that Christmas dinner!
5) Christmas pudding. Of all the indulgent treats of the festive season, Christmas pudding is one of the biggest, racking up a huge 300 calories in just 100g of pudding. Add in double cream and you double that to 600 calories! Fear not though, you can still enjoy your indulgent pudding by pounding the pavements later on. A 60 minute jog will help you to burn off around 500 of those pudding calories (depending on your weight, and how fast you run). If you can’t manage 60 minutes in one go, then spilt it with 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon.
6) Cheese and crackers. A big chunk of Wensleydale cranberry cheese and crackers is just the thing to see you through your epic Christmas to-do list. Pretty soon though you’re just left with a plate of crumbs and, at around 380 calories for 6 crackers, a whole lot of guilt too. Resistance training can really boost your metabolism and help you to burn calories more efficiently so head to the gym for a weights session. A good hour with the weights will sink around 300 calories- and your body will feel the fat burning effects for up to 2 days!
7) Chocolate log. The festive version of the Swiss roll, this beauty can be filled with whipped cream, booze and Belgian chocolate for a mega calorie hit- or you could go for plain old chocolate with buttercream and around 134 calories for 1/8 of the log. Do 15 minutes of burpees and you’ll use up that chocolate log energy in no time.
8) Champagne. Ah, that pop of the Champagne cork to celebrate the festive season, and at around 90 calories per glass Champagne is one of the less calorific drinks to enjoy at Christmas. Next morning, up the feel-good (and get the house tidy again!) with a mega house cleaning session, from changing the beds to cleaning the floors and windows, you’ll burn off about 230 calories for 60 minutes of activity.