Burning Calories: Football Tailgating/Potluck Edition

by Evan

When it comes to those big football gamedays here in Wisconsin there’s a tradition like no other going on outside the stadiums, in the sports bars, or the homes of many football fans. The tailgating/potluck culture for Packer and Badger games not only brings fans to socialize together and cheer on their teams, but also supplies delicious meals and beverages for everyone to snack on.  But after a day of celebrating for your teams and snacking on those foods, how many calories are really being consumed? To get even deeper, how much exercise would you need to complete to burn off all those calories?

Starting with the calories… In Wisconsin, I believe that there are some obvious staples when it comes to tailgating/potluck food.  These foods being brats and hotdogs, cheese, and beer. Listed below I have those staple foods as well as some other popular additions that might show up depending on the day!


(All calories and serving sizes were taken from My Fitness Pal.)

  • Bratwurst: 220 – 300 kcal
  • Hot Dog: 100 – 150 kcal
  • Hot Dog Bun: 110 – 200 kcal
  • Busch Lite: 95 kcal
  • Cheese curds (5 oz): 550 kcal
  • Pulled Pork/ Sloppy Joe (4oz): 200 – 400 kcal
  • Hamburger Bun: 110 – 150 kcal
  • Pasta Salad (1 cup): 250 – 300 kcal
  • Potato Chips (1 serving): 150 kcal
  • Baked Beans (1 serving): 140 kcal
Depending on the combination of foods, those totals can start to add up! But how much exercise would it take to burn off all those extra calories?  On average, a person naturally burns between 1,400 to 1,800 calories a day. Otherwise known as ones “Basal Metabolic Rate” or BMR for short. This is the minimum number of calories used by your body to help it function throughout a day! Any physical activity or exercise just adds on to that total at the end of the day!

So back to my question from the beginning, how much exercise would it take to burn off calories from those different types of foods found at a tailgating/potluck event?  Listed below are different types of popular physical activities as well as the number of calories you’ll burn doing them over a 30-minute period.
(*DISCLAIMER – These calorie amounts are based on someone who weighs 155lbs. A general rule of thumb is if you weigh more, you will burn more calories vice versa.)

Physical Activity:
  • Weightlifting (Casual): 108 kcal
  • Weightlifting (Intense): 216 kcal
  • Stretching/Yoga: 144 kcal
  • Stationary Bike (Moderate): 252 kcal
  • Calisthenics (Moderate): 162 kcal
  • Walking (17 min/mile): 133 kcal
  • Running (10 min/mile): 360 kcal
  • Hiking: 216 kcal
  • Raking Lawn/Gardening: 144 – 162 kcal
  • Shoveling snow: 216 kcal

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