The Man Cave is in the gym (you can find us there most days) trying to work off all the extra calories we've taken in this December between nights out and work Christmas parties.
That's quite a tall task, as Anthony Lynch of Raw Gyms demonstrated to us earlier this week by filling us in on how many calories we take in if we head out for a few nights out in December. What with all the Christmas fun, it can be difficult to shake the excess weight that we're likely to put on, especially with how hard it is to simply burn the nearly 9,500 calories that we calculated our man Adrian Collins had taken on. We sent him for a punishing trip to the gym with Anthony for a five minute circuit that would push him to his limits, and he breaks down exactly what he had to do all week to try and get back to level par after a week of excess. Here's how he got on:
That circuit that Anthony showed me was pretty difficult, there's no two ways about it, and while I did one round as a run through with him there, that only burned 67 calories. If I wanted any hope of getting to the goal of 9,500, I had to do a few rounds, and you do notice your body getting to grips with it pretty quickly. While on the first day I was totally burned out after three rounds, the next day I was able to get to four, burning approximately 335 calories.
If you think you have it in you (I haven't as of yet, but there are still a few days to go) then you can aim for five, but with late nights, heavy eating and not much in the way of spare energy, it would be a real struggle, and this circuit tends to make you feel like you might lose your lunch, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time after eating before attempting it.
As you might have guessed from the maths, just doing this circuit alone is not going to get me anywhere near the goal, and in fact will only burn around 2400 calories throughout the week. As Anthony pointed out in the last piece, you will get a little bit extra thanks to EPOC, and your body working so hard during the circuit, but if I wanted to get to the goal, then I was going to need to do some more work.
That meant going for a run in the evening having tackled the circuit in the morning, and aiming for a certain amount of calories. Thankfully, I enjoy running, it gives me some time alone with my podcasts, and I tackled my regular route to see what kind of calorie count I could get. I did a distance of 3.35 miles in just under 25 minutes, that burned about 475 calories, and I threw in some sprints at the end for good measure. But that wasn't all...
The other problem was that I needed to cut about 500 calories from my daily intake, so that meant portion control and keeping an eye on carbs. There was plenty of carb rotation going on (some days where I would only have them at breakfast) and attempt to eat clean when not doing any extracurricular activities.
When it comes to food, the diet stayed pretty disciplined outside all the nights out and the odd breakfast roll. Every week, I make a spreadsheet of what I'm going to eat that week so I can stay on top of the cooking as well as ensuring that I don't snack on things that I don't need, but in December as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it become more difficult to resist those sweets. That's probably why Anthony rounded it up to 9,500, and I'm honestly not sure if I managed to cut the extra 500 every day.
All in all, with the circuits (2,345 calories) and the running (3,325 calories) I came nowhere close to getting the total I needed, with a paltry 5,670 total despite all the effort I was putting in and working out twice a day. When they say you can't out-train a bad diet, this is what they mean. There simply isn't enough time in the day, or at least my day anyway, to be able to burn off that amount of calories. If i'm generous, I'd say I was able to cut 500 calories out maybe five of the days, which still leaves me about 1500 calories short of the goal of 9,500.
When it comes to Christmas excess and reaching for that extra mince pie after dinner, then I've learned a pretty important lesson: I won't be able to work it off in any reasonable amount of time. That's not to say don't let yourself go on the day and enjoy your nights out, but as Anthony outlines in the first part of this series, there are smarter choices that I could have made that might have gotten me closer to the goal. As it is, I have a few more days of double sessions ahead of me...