The other week at Byrdie HQ, we had an anonymous gift exchange. (I received a lovely Diptyque Feu de Bois Wood Fire Scented Candle, $32.) Before the exchange, we each filled out a survey about our gift preferences, and one of the questions was "What is your favorite thing about the holidays?" My answer was none other than holiday drinks.
Spiked hot chocolate, hot toddies, and champagne are all so cozy and fun. The problem, of course, is that holiday drinks can be your fitness undoing. "When it comes to alcohol, it is not as simple as calories in … calories out," explains Kathleen Trotter, a personal trainer and fitness expert. "Consuming alcohol can actually encourage fat storage." Only the liver has the specific enzymes needed to break down alcohol. "And unfortunately, the liver carries out its job at a fixed rate," Trotter says. That rate equals about one drink per hour, which you should use as a guide.
"The main takeaway here is, sure, have a few holiday treats—life is worth living—but if you drink, have a moderate portion," Trotter says. With moderation in mind, you should be able to burn off those delicious holiday beverages. And with the help of Trotter, plus two other trusted fitness experts, we've put together a tongue-in-cheek guide to which exercises you'll need to do it.
Keep scrolling to learn the best way to burn off eggnog, mulled wine, champagne, and more!
Spiked Hot Chocolate
The workout: Burpees, 20 minutes
Six fluid ounces of hot chocolate spiked with Bailey's adds up to 204 to 232 calories, says Courtney Paul, celebrity trainer at RIPPED Fitness in NYC. It's a fairly heavy drink, so you'll need an intense workout to burn it off. Twenty minutes of burpees should do the trick, says Paul. (But again, that's only for a mere six ounces of delicious cocoa.)
The workout: Elliptical, 10 minutes
A dainty four-ounce flute of champagne to ring in the holiday equals somewhere around 90 calories, says Paul. This is one of the lighter holiday drinks, so working it off won't take too long. "To burn that, devote 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer at a 5-mph pace," Paul says.
The workout: Pilates, 35 minutes
"This holiday favorite is pretty soothing, so why not jump-start your next morning? Literally!" says Jeannine Bergmann, a master trainer and the founder of Pilates One. A six-ounce hot toddy contains about 180 calories, and 35 minutes of the Jump Reformer Pilates method will target your core and legs to burn it right off. "Mixed in with traditional Pilates exercises helps clear the body and head with mindful movements," adds Bergmann.
The workout: Tabata training, 20 minutes
A five-ounce glass of mulled wine usually boasts around 100 calories. To burn it off, Trotter recommends 20 minutes of a HIIT workout, like Tabata. "One cycle of Tabata takes four minutes and is made up of eight 20-second sets of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of complete rest," Trotter says. The sets can be made up of exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, or dumbbell squats. "After one four-minute Tabata set, rest for one minute, and then move on to your next exercise." Five of these sets will be enough to make it as though that mulled wine never happened.
The workout: Push-ups, 15 minutes
That super-sweet after-dinner wine flows strongly during the holidays, and just 2.5 ounces of the stuff contains around 115 calories. "The best way to push this out your system is with 15 minutes of push-ups," says Paul. Your family won't think it's weird if you drop to the floor right after dessert, right?
The workout: Boxing, 30 minutes
It's the most festive drink but also the heaviest. "One five-ounce glass of eggnog ranges from 145 to 222 calories," Paul says. This will take at least 30 minutes of vigorous boxing to fight off. But it'll be so worth it.