I love Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because it’s the underdog holiday. Nestled between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving decorations only get a sliver of department store real estate next to the discounted costumes and tree trimmings. Or, maybe it’s because it’s a time to feast with your family and friends – enjoy delicacies that only come out this time of year. Either way, I’m a big fan of this holiday.

The meal, while quite delicious, can pack quite a punch calorically. According to the Calorie Control Council, the Thanksgiving meal itself averages out at 3,000 calories. Include drinks and appetizers throughout the day, and this one festive gathering can amount to 4,500 calories. To put it in perspective, a pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Many mamas need between 2,000 and 2,500 calories each day (this estimate is just an estimate and does not account for training schedule, nursing, pregnancy, age, height, weight, child’s first name or any other factor). The average Thanksgiving Day food intake can be double the average mama’s needs.

So, how many burpees would your average Thanksgiving meal “cost?”

About five hours of burpees.


According to JustHealth.net, doing a minute of burpees burns between 8 and 14 calories – if you are doing between 10 to 20 burpees per minute. It looks like they are including the push-up too (ugh). Averaging 15 burpees per minute, you’re looking at 4,500 burpees for Thanksgiving.

I’m not an advocate of calorie counting and I do not recommend avoiding a day full of fellowship, family time, laughs, and good food just so you do not go over your energy needs. I hope to put the meal into perspective and encourage you to use your tool of moderation as your guide when you are filling your plate or glass.

Here are a couple of tips to lighten the load of Thanksgiving:

  • Workout in the morning before the chaos of cooking, hosting, visiting, traveling, and eating take hold.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast and decent lunch to avoid being overly hungry when the bird hits the table.
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day. If you are enjoying cocktails, alternate your beverages with huge glasses of water.
  • Survey the goodies before you make a choice. Decide to enjoy the food that you put on your plate. Make this your one plate of food.
  • Wait at least twenty minutes before deciding on seconds. Choose dessert as your second helping rather than another round of mashed taters, gravy, and stuffing.
  • Don’t forget the leftovers! Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, cranberry sauce for days…some dishes taste better the second time around so leave some of the food to enjoy over the weekend.

And lastly, should you overindulge at the Thanksgiving meal, give yourself grace. Get up on Friday and eat a healthy breakfast. Go workout. Drink lots of water. One day of indulgence is not going to “wreck everything” or “make you a horrible person.” (These are real quotes I have heard from clients) Just like one healthy meal won’t turn you into Shalane Flanagan, one “off” meal will not ruin your health efforts. Be done with it and move on.

Oh – one more thing. If your hair is done and your make-up is on and you’re dressed up – please do not bust out 4,500 burpees for the pie. Girl. Instead, encourage your SLAMFam to bust them out throughout the month of December. 😉