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How Much Exercise Would It Take To Burn Off Your Christmas Dinner?

Christmas is a very exciting time for a lot of us, getting to see relative and family we haven’t seen in a while, opening presents that we either love… or pretend to love and the all-important Christmas feast that brings everyone together. For all this excitement we quite often begin the mental preparation for our Christmas day at the beginning of December. This is not because of the relatives or the presents… mostly. In fact, it’s the thought of the massive family dinner. This both excites us and scares us. More often than not we reduce the amount of food we eat a week or two before Christmas day. But why is this you ask?

From looking at various studies and from personal experience including the painstaking task of counting the calories of my family’s previous Christmas dinner the average person will eat anywhere between 4000 and 7000 calories on Christmas day.


Now to put this in perspective the majority of us looking to stay in shape are very particular with the number of calories we take in and quite often cut a wee treat here and there to make ourselves feel better.

Now a standard KitKat bar with 4 fingers is roughly 218 calories. If we take the 7000 calories on Christmas day it would be equivalent to eating 33 four-finger KitKat bars. All of a sudden missing out that one KitKat bar seems irrelevant doesn’t it?

It’s easy to search the internet to find out the equivalent amount of an individual meal you would have to eat to equate the 7000 calories, for example:

8 fish suppers including chips, 13 big mac meals including chips and drink, 9 large salt popcorns from the cinema, I could go on and on, oh and 79 bananas… the food doesn’t always have to be unhealthy after all.

Instead of rattling off food and calories I am going to provide a little table of how much exercise it would take to burn off 7000 calories. Remember that technically the exercise would usually take place on the same day as the food intake to prevent any physiological adaption (weight gain).

Calories Burned
Total Distance/Reps
Total Time (average)
105cal/mile (9.5 min mile)
66.66 miles
633.27 mins (10.55 hours)
52cal/mile (19min mile)
134.6 miles
2557.69 (42.6 hours)
Swimming (freestyle)
514cal/hour (slow pace)
13.61 hours
Cycling (10-12 mph)
39cal/mile (5min mile)
179.5 miles
897.5 mins (14.96 hours)
Trampoline (bouncing continuously)
48cal/10mins or 288cal/hour
1458.33 mins (24.31 hours)
Push-Ups (20/min pace)
20,000 Press-Ups
1,000 mins (16.66 hours)
Sit-Ups (10/min pace)
12,281 Sit-Ups
1,228.1 mins (20.47 hours)
Doing Nothing (resting metabolic rate)
8403.36 mins (140.1 hours)

From the table it might seem strange that the body weight training of sit ups and press ups burns so few calories, however, it does not take into account the effect the training will have on your metabolic rate or muscle growth after all a distance runner will have nowhere near the muscle definition of a gymnast. So despite the reduced calories, the body weight training is actually more beneficial in a variety of aspects compared to the cardio.

As for doing nothing, this is your basic metabolic rate. Your body burns a certain number of calories each day just to function. On average this is anywhere between 1000 and 1400 calories and if your body has fewer than this it can begin to shut down if this state is prolonged (also more commonly known as starvation). Everyone is unique so this is just an average and if you want to know your specific metabolic rate a quick internet search will be able to provide the calculation.

So if you do nothing after your binge it will take you roughly 5.83 days to get through all those juicy calories. Don't worry though, you can use this information to fuel your New Year's Resolution!

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