Between the grazing on great-grandma’s classic cheeseball recipe while watching football and patiently waiting for the moment when the turkey is carved, and relaxing in front of the fire with a piece of pie once the day is done, the average American consumes just under 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you want to go ahead and burn all of those calories off. You head up to the MetroRecPlex and hit the weights, rotating an eight-minute circuit of 8-10 different exercises without resting in between each set. After an hour, you’ll probably begin to move at a slower pace, and ultimately burn fewer calories with each set. Even if you are somehow Thanksgiving Thor and you bust through each rep with minimum fatigue, at most you would burn around 1500 calories, leaving you with 3500 calories comfortably settling in to your bloodstream.
So, what can you do? What you should not do, for starters, is be discouraged. You should be excited for this big meal, and the best way to do that is to be prepared. Just as your immense workout of Thor proportions cannot cancel out the calories taken in by a Thanksgiving feast; one monstrous meal cannot cancel out a prep plan that includes a healthy lifestyle and lots of steady exercise. While that prep is great and getting in a few workouts for the big day is going to be the start of something magnificent, that’s not the end of it. Just because you can’t burn off all of the calories that you are going to consume on Thanksgiving Day in one failed swoop doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with deciding to go ahead and burn off a few of them! Even better, have some fun while you’re at it!
Luckily, the MetroRecPlex is open the night before Thanksgiving as well as the day of, giving everyone an opportunity to preventatively combat Nana’s stuffing. You have a couple of choices that are going to work best to keep you hopping through the holidays. First off, you can work out on your own by heading to the second level of the Plex and following a circuit workout that builds before the finish and is intended to deplete your body so that it needs to be refueled (refueled with green bean casserole and pumpkin pie). Secondly, you can easily take advantage of the swimming pools (both open at 6am on Thanksgiving Day) or the free weight room. Either way, make sure you are working some cardio in to your routine.
Finally, if you have no idea where to start or what to do, your best bet is to try out one of the two group fitness classes that are offered on Thanksgiving morning. The first class, H.I.I.T., also called high-intensity interval training, is a 45-minute workout that involves powerful rounds of different exercises followed by short breaks. The heart rate stays up, meaning that you burn more calories in less time. The instructor will lead you through this so that all you have to do is follow along. The second class offered at the MetroRecPlex is POUND, a cardio focused workout that is inspired by rock and roll drummers. Each person in the class will use lightweight drumsticks to channel their inner rock star while the instructor helps them blaze through a routine that will be as intense as Axel Rose’s last hotel party.
No matter what you do, remember that staying healthy and fit is all about balance. If you are somewhere that you don’t have access to a gym, add in a few push-ups here and there or go for a lower-calorie drink option. Stressing over what you are eating is going to do more damage than good, so remember to be thankful in the midst of it all; knowing that this is just the beginning of four more weeks of in-your-face desserts, Christmas parties and every other calorie-laden delicacy you don’t want to eat. Knowing this, you might as well start that balancing act today!