Your Guilt-Free Super Bowl Playbook

by Harmony Furlong, Group Fitness Instructor

You made it through the holidays… but don’t relax just yet! Keep your game face on and prepare to sack Super Bowl temptations.

Preface Super Bowl with a workout. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends that you hit the gym or take a long, hard walk or run about an hour before eating. This will elevate your metabolism, and because your body will be starving for nutrients by the time the snacks are laid out, most of what you eat will go toward muscle recovery. 

If you can’t make it to the gym on game day, try to burn some of the anticipated calories during the game. There won’t be any jump roping in front of the television, so exercising in place is a must. Here are some great exercises that you can do without causing too much distraction to anyone watching the game, and they don’t induce too much huffing and puffing. 

1. Commercial Entertainment: Gently lift your rear off the couch and hover for ten seconds. Take brief breaks in-between during the entire series of commercials or perform the move more rapidly if you choose to do traditional squats.

2. For the Fun Lovers: Include your crew and do party push-ups for every score.  If the score is 10–7, drop down and bust out 17 push-ups.

3. Host the Halftime Challenge: Plan a fun activity for halftime. Remember, halftime is only 15 minutes so have it completely prepared BEFORE the game. How about an around-the-block relay challenge? Winning team gets to hustle back inside and claim the best seats in front of the boob tube. 

Fattening snacks like nachos, buffalo wings, dips (and don't forget beer!) make Super Bowl parties a challenge to make healthy eating choices. Here are a few tips so you can enjoy the game without gaining a pound.

Kick Off With Fiber: Place mugs of turkey chili on the first table that guests see as they walk into the room. This hearty meal, which includes beans and veggies, will satisfy beastly hunger and guests may not even realize you’ve duped them with a healthy alternative to beef. 

Tackle Cravings: Keep your buffalo wings; just remove the skin. Pass on the nachos and have fiber-rich popcorn instead. Here is one idea for a fresh take on traditional popcorn: toss a 3-ounce package of microwave popcorn with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for a sweet-and-spicy snack with about 15 calories per handful.

Pass on Big Portions: It's easy to overdo it. Put six tablespoons of guacamole into ramekins with baskets of about 30 chips on side tables. This is the perfect amount for two people to share.

Take an Alcohol Time-Out: Save calories by stocking an easily accessible cooler with sparkling and bottled water, healthy iced teas and V8-Fusion Sparkling drinks. Leave the beer in the kitchen or even the garage fridge, so you’re forced to travel to get it.

No matter what, enjoy yourself! Brush off any little indulgences you may allow yourself.  And keep in mind that gyms offer many excellent early morning classes on Mondays – so if you do happen to gorge too much, get your kiester to the gym the very next day. It’s never too early to start training for next season!