When I was in my young to mid-twenties, vacation meant drinking as much as possible, making out with at least one (or four) random dudes, and doing absolutely nothing responsible like answering work emails or exercising. But these days, I’m more into fitness and maintaining my bod while on vacay so I don’t come back looking like Kirstie Alley after a Twinkie convention. I’ll hit a Flywheel class if there’s one in the city I’m visiting, go for a long run (along the water if applicable), or try some wild workout class like Barry’s Boot Camp in NYC.

So with an upcoming weeklong vacation (read: bingefest) for my 30th, my friends and I are trying to schedule a few sweat sessions to offset at least a few of those 70384092834023 cocktails.

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We’re totally going to patent the Flying Puke Pose (to the dismay of unsuspecting instructors everywhere).

But will a Cirque yoga class be enough to cancel out those 18 Orange Crushes and 7.5 Fireball shots (and that’s just Friday night)? Who better to turn to on this topic than our resident health/fitness expert Cara Weaver? Cara, take it away (and take it easy on us).


In my health coaching, I will help someone plan around a glass of wine or cocktail because I live my life the same way; I will pass up just about any dessert, bread basket, and second helping of dinner if I can keep my wine on the table!

But just like the bottle at the end of the night, calories in alcohol are EMPTY, meaning zero nutritional value. This boost in your daily caloric intake due to alcohol only adds to the required effort to burn it off, whereas food with nutritional value can actually help you burn fat and supply vitamins and minerals.

You’re thinking, Cara, what the F!? Why aren’t you telling me I can polish off this bottle of wine (or two) and still look like Gisele! I know, I hear you. And since we all agree our social cocktails, confidence booster, and fun enhancer are here to stay, let’s talk about how we can booze it up, wake up, burn it off, and do it all over again!

First, before you try to get up with a hangover and run straight to the gym, drinks lots of water! Hopefully you chugged H2o before your head hit the bed, floor, couch, sidewalk, or back of the cab the night before, but no matter what, STAY HYDRATED. Go into an intense workout super-dehydrated and you will feel even worse later in the day.

On to the burn! Let’s take some examples and assume you kept it somewhat under control. And if you know basic math, you’ll know how to double (or triple) these recommendations if you were having an extra fun evening…

booze and burn


  • 3-4 glasses of wine is roughly 400-500 calories, but your body will forget they ever happened after running 5 miles or taking a 1-hour intense cardio dance/Bodypump-type class (but your head might not). Psst, need a running/working out playlist?
  • 5-6 beers can mean 600-700 calories, but if you get up and jump into a hardcore 60-minute cycling class or take a 90-minute power hot yoga class, you’ll be good to go (and sweating out pale ale). If your spin class is only 45 minutes (ahem, Flywheel), better throw 15-20 minutes of weight training in there afterward.
  • 3-4 vodka sodas are 500-700 calories (depending on who’s pouring) and you can burn ’em off with 1.5 hours of singles tennis or a 1-hour boot camp workout. Remember, if you’re using tonic, fruit juice, etc. your cal count skyrockets.
  •  3 margaritas or fruity mixed drinks weigh in at 1,200(ish) calories, which can be melted right off with 1.5 hours of fast jumping rope (like anyone can do that) or taking a 2-hour circuit-training class with interval cardio and calisthenics (if those even exist). Or you could do 1.5-2 hours of intense CrossFit with no stopping (and then you might actually die).

In short, it’s probably not best to pound the margs if you’re worried about your waistline. And this isn’t to say you can’t go out drinking/vacation/enjoy yourself without worrying about calories. Your body is constantly burning calories, so having a night (or weekend) of fun isn’t going to instantly pack on pounds you’ve worked so hard to lose, but when you mix fitness with pleasure, that Gisele body is even closer…

And PS, Ashley’s rule is: Flywheel double (cycle followed by barre) for every 10 vodka drinks. So basically every weekend.

Cheers to a sweaty summer!

Check out Cara’s website for more health tips and/or take one of her classes at Flywheel Atlanta (she is teaching early on July 4th so you can sweat it up to prep for those all-American drinks you’ll be having later).

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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Oh man oh man. The booze chart really makes me (almost) rethink the drinking I have planned for this holiday weekend.

  2. […] beverage of choice, so I’m willing to soak ‘em up then burn ‘em off on the reg (click here for how exactly to do that). In case anyone is wondering, there are about 25 oz. in a bottle of wine, so if you polish it all […]


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