Ask Stew: Super Bowl Gut-Check Workout

A senior airman participates in a ruck.
Senior Airman Carly Brenner, 36th Security Forces Squadron defender, participates in a Defender's Challenge competition during Police Week at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, May 15, 2018. (Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/U.S. Air Force photo)

On big holiday feast days, it is common to see people getting after it with a challenging high calorie-burning workout prior to a smorgasbord of great food and drink.

Our local group typically does a traditional Thanksgiving Day workout that lasts a good 1.5-2 hours the morning before feasting. We do the same on birthday parties and other holiday events, where relaxing, eating, drinking and barbecuing is the plan of the day.

I never thought about it, but Super Bowl Sunday is perfect for a Gut-Check Workout to help you not feel as guilty when enjoying the benefits of a friend's Super Bowl party. Here is a related email that inspired me:


I would appreciate a workout which burns enough calories to make me feel less guilty about eating so much during the Super Bowl. Mistakes will be made.

Thanks, Ben

No, thank you. This is a great idea. Consider it done. It is now on the schedule to have a challenging workout on Super Bowl Sunday for my group of local workout partners. Typically a rest day during the week, we will make Sunday early afternoon a challenging workout where we might burn 600-700 calories. That is a good amount of calories to have in the bank before a Super Bowl party.

One beer is typically 100-150 calories, depending on the brand. Some beers are less than 100 calories (if you want to call them beer). A cookie is 100 calories. One chicken wing is 60 calories (less if you take off skin). Ten chips and salsa is 150 calories.

As you can see, the snacks and foods at a Super Bowl party will add up quickly in total calories. If you can burn 600-700 calories (or more) before a Super Bowl party, that should help you feel a little less guilty.

Here are some ways to put some calories in the bank before game time:

  1. Sandbaby Murph
  2. Go Ruck: One hour of rucking can burn up to 600 calories.
  3. Go Swim: 30-45 minutes can burn 600-700 calories.
  4. Go Walk: If you are a walker, it may take a little longer. You typically can burn 300 calories an hour of walking. So yes, it takes about an hour of walking to burn off five chicken wings.
  5. Top it off with a core workout: Stew Smith Core PT/TRX

Good luck this week. Build up your calorie deficiency bank, and not just the day of the Super Bowl. Try it all week. An extra 100-200 calories burned a day can add up to steady weight loss after a steady weight gain of the winter football season.

Or you can just not eat or drink at the game. Haha, just kidding.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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