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How to enjoy a calorie neutral Christmas

Sports nutritionist Annie Simpson tells you how to make sure your winter fitness programme is not derailed by that last mince pie

Whether you are training for a sportive or simply enjoy cycling for fitness, adopting a structured training regime alongside a healthy and varied diet is important. As we all know it is very easy to over indulge at Christmas, and before you know it the festive period may have left you with some unwanted pounds and you spend the whole of January desperately trying to lose it as the cycling season fast approaches.

So here's some useful information to help you get through a ‘Calorie-neutral Christmas’ or at least give you an idea of what is required if you do slightly overindulge this Christmas.

The Christmas dinner (around 900 kcal)

The Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for how much we should eat states that an average man should consume around 2500 kcal per day and women around 2000 kcal a day to maintain weight. As you can see from this break-down, by taking average servings for your Christmas dinner you are already close to consuming 50% of your GDA on one plate, this doesn’t even include all the naughty festive treats and puddings that are probably still to come.

●      Roast turkey (4 thin slices) = 150kcal
●      Roast potatoes (3 medium) = 300kcal
●      Roast parsnips (2 serving spoons) = 43kcal
●      Cranberry sauce (2-3 teaspoons) = 40kcal
●      Carrots (2 serving spoons) = 13kcal
●      Sage & onion stuffing (medium portion) = 135kcal
●      Cocktail sausages (4) = 123kcal
●      Sprouts (2 serving spoons) = 40kcal
●      Bread sauce (medium portion) = 50kcal

Christmas dinner as a whole is not that bad for you. Turkey is one of the leanest meats available and a plate filled with vegetables is always great as you are ticking off some of your 5-a-day. However, you need to be careful with cooking methods, when roasting opt for olive oil as opposed to other fat. Where possible go with homemade condiments such as bread and cranberry sauce as these are generally healthier as you can avoid adding extra sugar. Be sensible with portion sizes, don’t eat with your eyes and pile it on your plate, chances are you will still eat it all. Start with smaller portions, as you will probably find them more than sufficient.

Let's check out some naughty festive treats and see how much cycling it takes to make them calorie-neutral:




Treat

Your body weight

To burn it off you will need to ride at 12-14 mph for

1 x mince pie = 190 kcal

60kg

25 minutes

 

75kg

20 minutes

 

Top Tip: When buying or making your own mince pies, always opt for an open-topped variety. Pastry is quite fatty, so using less will definitely help cut the calories.




Treat

Your body weight

To burn it off you will need to ride at 12-14 mph for

Large glass of red wine = 120 kcal

60kg

15 minutes

 

75kg

12 minutes

 

 

 

Pint of lager = 230 kcal

60kg

30 minutes

 

75kg

25 minutes

Top Tip: Drinking too much alcohol at Christmas will increase your appetite and may mess with your decision-making process. This means being able to say no to that extra serving of Christmas pudding probably isn't going to happen. If you want to drink it's better to opt for single spirits with slimline mixers, half pints, or dilute drinks down with soda. Alternating with non-alcoholic drinks should help you feel a bit fresher on Boxing Day and more likely to be ready and able to do some training.




Treat

Your body weight

To burn it off you will need to ride at 12-14 mph for

5 Quality Street or Celebrations = 200 kcal

60kg

25 minutes

 

75kg

20 minutes

 




Treat

Your body weight

To burn it off you will need to ride at 12-14 mph for

A handful of crisps (30g) = 150 kcal

60kg

20 minutes

 

75kg

15 minutes

Top Tip: When reaching for the dips this Christmas, go for tomato-based options such as salsa instead of creamy based dips like sour cream and chives. They are just as tasty but lower in calories.




Treat

Your body weight

To burn it off you will need to ride at 12-14 mph for

1 portion of Christmas pudding = 330 kcal

60kg

45 minutes

 

75kg

35 minutes

As you can see, when you settle down to watch a festive film or listen to the Queen's Speech and innocently tuck into a couple of handfuls of crisps, devour a few Quality Street or mince pies, and wash it down with a nice cold pint you could easily consume another 730 kcal on top of your Christmas dinner. 

Of course Christmas Day is just one day in 365 and for many the demands of their training/fitness regime are going to have to give a little on a day when people will have been cooking and preparing food and may not take too kindly to you not eating 'enough' of it it. Moderation is the word to bear in mind enjoy the day and don't fret too much about that extra mince pie, at least you now know what you'll have to do to work it off come Boxing Day and you've got the perfect excuse for a slightly longer than usual ride… or two.

A word of warning though, Christmas Day indulgence can be habit forming and it is quite easy for people to put on up to 7kg over the festive period, if these are kilograms of fat it will equate to something in the region of 53,000kcal, meaning you may have to ride for an additional 90 to 120 hours at 12-14 mph to lose these 7kg - that's quite a long bike ride.

You can find lots more detailed nutrition advice on Annies blog at www.otesports.co.uk/blog/
If you would like further information and nutrition advice on the best ways of balancing the demands of winter training and Christmas cheer 
don’t hesitate to contact the OTE team: thebunker@otesports.co.uk

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