Roast Calories On Turkey Day 5/5 (1)

Before the tryptophan kicks in from turkey overload, get in an EPOC workout that will be still be roasting calories by the time you begin your Thanksgiving feast!

Do An Epic Workout To Elicit EPOC

After an epic workout, meaning one that you worked through intense intervals at your maximal effort and pushed your body to failure, your body must transition to recovery mode also known as EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.

According to research, during EPOC your oxygen consumption is elevated for up to 24 hours to restore per-exercise cellular functioning. This means that you are going to burn off some serious calories all day.

There’s no better day to engage in EPOC inducing training than Thanksgiving before an epic meal.

The Best Pre-Thanksgiving Feast Workouts

Almost all types of exercise elicit EPOC, but they are not all created equal. If you want to get the 24-hour afterburn, you have to exert yourself; go all out! Have you heard the saying “Run like you’re hungry?” Well, pretend you have to chase the rafter (flock of turkeys) down before you get to eat the bird.

Here are the top three ways to pre-burn off the turkey, Granny Lou’s famous stuffing, and Momma’s sweet potato casserole:

Time Under Tension (TUT) Training To Failure

If you plan to hit the iron, use time under tension training and work your muscles to failure. Focus on training large muscle groups with heavyweight compound exercises at a super slow pace. In just 30 minutes you can complete a full-body workout that will make you feel like you’ve spend hours in the gym and get a serious afterburn.

Try this full-body workout. Remember to keep the reps at a slow pace to keep your muscles under constant tension. Lift heavy enough that you reach failure at the end of each round. No counting reps!

Get your bird legs warmed up:

5-minute incline walk or jog on the treadmill

Superset these:

Complete 2 rounds of each exercise. Do one minute for the first round of both exercises. Then start with the second round for 45 seconds repeating the two exercises. You will not count repetitions. You should lift heavy enough to reach near or complete failure during the allotted time.

  • Super slow barbell back squats
  • Barbell hip thrust
  • Leg Press
  • Hamstring curl
  • Front squats
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Bent over barbell rows
  • Barbell chest press
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Concentration curls
  • Preacher curls
  • Triceps extensions

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT training has proven itself over and over again to elicit EPOC. That’s because you are working at at least 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate during the intense intervals.

Want a phenomenal HIIT workout? Check your local gym class offerings for Strong by Zumba or join an Orange Theory! Strong by Zumba is NOT a dance class. Both of these workouts are solid HIIT training for about an hour. You will leave feeling like you put in some serious the work.

Sprint Intervals + Bodyweight Exercises

Gym closed on Thanksgiving day? No problem! Hit the streets, the outdoors, or the track for some sprint intervals combined with body weight exercises.

Research has shown that just 2 minutes of sprint interval exercise elicits 24-hour oxygen consumption similar to 30 minutes of steady state cardiovascular exercise.

Using the following routines, you can put in a quick and efficient workout that will keep your body burning for so long that you won’t feel bad eating 2/3rds of the pumpkin pie (but you may need a second sprint session soon)!

Try one of these outdoor interval workouts:

  1. Take a medicine ball to an open area. Squat down and then thrust the medicine ball as far as you can throw it. Sprint to it. Pick it up and repeat the process. Try this for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Sprint the straights of the track and walk the curves for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Run bleachers. Sprint to the top and slow the pace coming down. 20 minutes of bleachers feel like certain death!
  4. Mark off 100 yards up a steep hill. Sprint to the top of the hill. Walk back down. At the bottom do 15 bodyweight squats, 20 jumping jacks, and 10 pushups. Repeat for 15-20 minutes.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful that you have the power to better your body every day. Demolish your workout and then go enjoy the time your family and friends. You’ll feel great after your workout, and you’ll burn off your food and drink while you’re lounging around watching the game!

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Sarah Chadwell

Sarah Chadwell