How many Christmas dinners are there in a triathlon?

Our partnered Nutritionist, Helen Money, from The Bosworth Clinic talks to us about Christmas day and just what this means in more digestible format than calories: triathlons. We also consider just how good (or bad) Christmas can be to triathletes. There is no point in getting bogged down in this one-off feast, as some people can do – have fun and enjoy yourself, in our experience you should be more concerned by the after dinner games, charades and overly-competitive family cardboard box games than how much you eat on Christmas Day!

Helen offering less nutritional advice, though not Christmas Specific

Helen offering less nutritional advice, though not Christmas Specific


How many calories are in a plate of Christmas dinner food?

Well that depends how high you pile your plate and what you wash it down with.

  • A starter of smoked salmon and prawn cocktail – 360 kcals
  • The full works of turkey, pigs in blankets, stuffing. bread sauce, cranberry sauce, goose fat roasted potatoes, vegetables and gravy – 630 kcals
  • Three 150ml glasses of wine – 342 kcals
  • Christmas pudding with brandy sauce – 530 kcals
  • Cheese and biscuits – 400 kcals
  • Two glasses of port – 208 kcals



How many Triathlons equal a Christmas Dinner.

That depends on how much you weigh and how fast you go but roughly it is the amount of calories used in 1 - 1.25 Olympic length triathlons.


What was the biggest daily allowance you have seen with your athletes in terms of Christmas Dinners?

For the ultra endurance races requirements are near to four Christmas dinners - watch out for red wine stains on your kit though but I have athletes that require on average the equivalent of two Christmas dinner a day during peak training season.


Should I avoid overeating at Christmas?

Overeating for one day is not a concern. However overeating from the 1st December - 1st of January will lead to weight gain and metabolic changes. Putting on too much weight over Christmas does make pre-season weight-loss more of a challenge and under eating as training picks up increases the risk of injury and reduces training performance.


What about the cheese course?  

The positive is that cheese contains calcium, however cheese is a fast way to rack up calories with 30g (small match box size) of brie coming in at 100 kcals.


If I do more active Charades, will that help?

It will, especially if it takes the family a long time to guess. Try Forrest Gump!


I can't train on Christmas day, so what could I do instead?

Rest and relaxation is not a bad thing. If you are concerned about weight gain here are 3 tips to help you through the day:

  1. Decide in advance what Christmas indulgences you enjoy most.  Avoid those you get less enjoyment from.

  2. Think about portion size. Could you get as much enjoyment out of a small slice of Christmas cake? Do you need 2 mince pies?

  3. Think about the quantity you are consuming in one sitting. Would you enjoy Christmas pudding later in the afternoon or with tea?