Burn 1,200 Calories Before and After Christmas Dinner

From contributing writer, fitness enthusiast Qamar Zaman
Learn about Qamar Zaman's workout plan to burn off those holiday calories (Courtesy photo)

Holidays are a time for gatherings with family and friends, but that also can mean a gathering filled with food-stuffing marathons and overindulgence in desserts. This can lead to packing on unnecessary calories. That's why it's important to have a game plan in place that will help you counteract the effect of eating a little more than usual over the holiday season.


Finding a workout plan that works for you is key to burning the number of calories you want to get rid of before and after X-Mas. Getting rid of 1,200 calories in a day so you feel your best before and after X-Mas doesn't have to be hard to achieve. Some of the greatest workout plans include an ideal combination of cardio and resistance (weights). We've done the hard work for you and simplified it in this mini-guide. Here's what you can do.

Start With a Warm-Up

Before you start an intense workout, it's important to prepare your body. Warm-up exercises are ideal for achieving this preparation, whether you start with cardio or resistance training. Warming up can also significantly reduce injury. A 2017 British Journal of Sports Medicine study of 4,000 women and men found that warming up helped reduce injuries, such as hip and knee injuries, by as much as 40 percent. You can opt for 5-10 minutes of light cardio, such as cycling on a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill. Just keep it simple.

Get in the Cardio

Whether you decide to hit the pavement or the treadmill, opt for a brisk walk to get you going. Studies have shown that brisk walking is an effective option for managing obesity. A 2017 Human Kinetics Journals study found that brisk walking was effective in reducing the waist circumference, fat mass, body mass index (BMI), and body weight in obese women and men who are younger than 50. Start walking fast to get your heart rate pumping. Go for a 30-45-minute brisk walk. You can also amp up the cardio and include a run to burn even more calories in a shorter time. Consider intervals to increase effectiveness. Here is a sample workout:

  • Five-minute brisk walk
  • One-minute walk jog
  • Five-minute brisk walk
  • Repeat cycle until 30-minute session ends

Include HIIT

Studies show that aerobic exercises offer a variety of benefits for achieving cardiovascular health, including lowering blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart disease. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) involves exercising at a high pace for anywhere between 30 seconds and up to a few minutes with recovery intervals of low-intensity exercises or rest lasting 1-5 minutes. When you include HIIT workouts in your routine, you can amplify these health benefits. For instance, a 2012 Australian Family Physician study found that including HIIT increased the benefits of weight loss and enhanced the outcome of metabolic and cardiovascular health.

Moreover, research shows that HIIT exercises that include a hydraulic resistance system, or HRS, are more effective than exercises done in a steady state, such as running on a treadmill at the same pace. However, it's essential to keep your target heart rate between 70-85 percent for effective results with this vigorous exercise routine.

You can also include resistance (weights) training in your HIIT routine to maximize results. Start out with a 1:1(one exercise to one-minute rest) HIIT routine, such as this sample workout:

  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • One-minute rest
  • 30 seconds of push-ups
  • One-minute rest
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • One-minute rest
  • 30 seconds of squats
  • One-minute rest
  • 30 seconds of donkey kicks
  • Repeat for three sets


Add Resistance

Add some resistance to your routine to burn more calories. Consider initially focusing on one part of the body, especially if you haven't been working out on a regular basis. Your body will need to recover the next day. Start with three sets of 8-12 exercises and take time to rest between sets. For example, you can try the following workout that's focused on arms and the core:

  • Bicep curls
  • Lateral arm raises
  • Elbow plank

End With a Cool-Down

Just as warm-ups are important, cooling down after an intense workout is an integral part of burning the last of your 1,200 calories from a X-Mas meal. You can try cool-down exercises that help to lower your heart rate appropriately and help you keep your balance, such as yoga or stretching. Try holding your stretches for 30 seconds and cooling down for a total of 5-10 minutes. Here are a few cool-down exercises you can try:

  • Hip stretch
  • Downward facing dog
  • Kneeling Lunge

Final Thoughts

You can also bounce back from overeating at X-Mas meals (and prepare in advance) thanks to the effectiveness of exercising. Burning 1,200 calories in a day before and after X-Mas meals is achievable with the right plan and frequency. Keep in mind that weight plays a factor in how many calories you burn too. Someone with more weight will typically burn more calories faster than someone with less weight. So, it's important to account for your weight. No matter which workout plan you decide to take on, make sure you consult your physician prior to starting. You want to make sure you're in good health, and the fitness plan matches your capabilities and fits your health needs.









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