With the holidays starting this week I figured now would be a good time to drop part 2 of my holiday series to help you make the most of the holidays while giving you a fighting chance of staying in shape.
Without further to do here it is:
Mind your macros
Protein, Carbs and fats baby
If you aren’t tracking what you eat already now is a perfect time to start. Sitting and talking around the dinning room table leaves ample time for you to mindlessly eat. I tend to do this with mixed nuts or my Achilles heel, peanut M&M’s. If you keep track of what you eat then it is less likely you will go crazy and over indulge. Try keeping you daily calorie allotment the same and this is the only time of year I follow if it fits your macros (IIFYM). If you try to stay within your macros then you keep from mindlessly eating and indulge where you want to indulge. I am a big fan of the MyFitnessPal app for keeping track. All my clients that pick the Nutrition or Aesthetic package get setup with their own account. Huge help instead of the pen and paper route.
Eat what you want…. within reason
Don’t neglect Grandma’s cookies
The holidays, regardless of what denomination you follow or ethnic background you come from, there is always some focus on food. Whether it is an entrée or desert there is only one time a year you get to enjoy that particular food. So by all means enjoy it. If Grandma only makes her world famous cookies once a year, then you better eat her damn cookies. Save your indulgences for the things that you really love and not just food because it’s there. Store bought cookies and pies can be eaten year round plus homemade dishes and deserts are more than likely made from real ingredients. Store bought prepared foods are usually the cheapest ingredients, which allow for the highest profit margin.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Chances are the family or friend’s house you are going to doesn’t keep cooked chicken breast and brown rice handy in the fridge. Before you leave your house prepare 3-4 high quality protein meals just incase. Sometimes the turkey takes a little longer than expected and you need to eat. Pack some high quality protein with you for just such an instance. Mixed nuts, string cheese, protein powder protein bars or a small container of chicken just to hold you over and keep your daily protein up. No need to pack carbs, you will get more than enough while dining.
Lift heavy and go slow
Don’t skip leg day!
I try to schedule a leg day before or after a holiday. Working your legs recruits the largest muscles in the body. Sure you might walk around like your 90-year-old grandfather after, but at least some of the food you eat will go to repairing your muscle that you just destroyed and not to your stomach. If anything he’ll enjoy someone else being his speed. Win-win.
Lifting heavy and increasing time under tension also recruits more muscle fibers, which will help manage some of the excess calories you will consume. Shoot for a 4-0-2 rep time. That means take 4 sec to lower the weight, immediately change direction at the bottom of the movement and take 2 sec to raise the weight. You might hate me later but you will make gainz. Your welcome.
Scheduling a workout for the next morning can also help mentally so you don’t over indulge the night before. I know I like to hit the gym with a full tank so I’m not just sputtering through the workout.
Throw in a metabolic workout
Tabata to the rescue
Do you have a spare 4 minutes and need to get out some energy? Try a Tabata workout you can do anywhere. All you need is an extra set of clothes and a shower. Tabata is basically high intensity interval training (HIIT). The workouts are short 4-6 minutes, and alternate 20 sec of work followed by 10 sec of rest. You can do sprints outside in 20 degree weather or you can do a simple workout like this in the comfort of the indoors.
Repeat 6-8 times.
For this workout do as many burpees as you can in 20 sec, rest for 10 sec and do as many split jumps as you can in 20 sec. That is one round. Rinse, lather and repeat for 6- 8 rounds. After 4 minutes you will have completed a full body workout that will have you metabolism cruising for the next 48 hours. Not to mention you will be sweating like a pig. Now go shower dinner is almost ready.
Gainz are made in the bedroom
No I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about sleep. When you’re sleeping the body goes into repair mode and mends the muscles you destroy in the gym. If you want to gains size or strength then sleep. Without it you are just working against yourself. Take the holidays to rest and repair. You don’t have the normal everyday stresses of school or work so take the time to rest. Sleep in if you can and try to catch up on some shuteye.
Be Captain Hydration
Don’t forget to drink water. We all know the benefits of water so don’t ignore it. Being hydrated allows your metabolism to work at optimal capacity and also helps to curb cravings. Most of the time when you have cravings it’s actually your body being slightly dehydrated. Drink a glass of water, wait 20 min and re-assess the craving. Chances are the craving goes away.
Drinking a glass of water before a meal can help limit how much you eat by taking up space in your stomach.
Go easy on the booze
Occupy your mouth socializing and not with alcohol
Hanging out with family you only see once a year during the holidays can sometimes lead to consuming alcohol to either make the conversation run smoother or to deal with that annoying family member. Alcohol is not calorie free. Alcohol runs about 9 calories per gram as compared to protein and carbs at 4 calories per gram. A shot (1 oz) of vodka can run you about 64 calories and there aren’t any added sugars in vodka, that’s just straight alcohol. A typical light beer is about 110 calories per 12 oz can. When consumed, the process to metabolize alcohol takes precedence over any of the other macros (protein, carbs or fat). So anything you eat while drinking takes a backseat while the alcohol is in your system. Since alcohol is calorie dense, the energy requirements when the other food is metabolized is less which translates to more stored as fat rather than used for energy.
Incase you ignored the last part
I knew you would.
So you plan to throw caution to the wind and hang from the top of the Christmas tree pretending to be King Kong. Fair enough. Here area few things you can do to help elevate the hangover the next day champ.
- Load up on potassium rich food like avocados. Avocados have more potassium than bananas and are easier to work into a snack than bananas. Before you indulge in the booze, have an avocado or some guacamole and add salt. This will help you retain water; which will help with the dehydration the next day.
- Stick to clear alcohol. Dark alcohol has impurities, which help making you feel like you got kicked in the head by a horse the next day.
- Drink 1 glass of water for every drink. Again this helps with the hydration.
- Eat burnt toast. The burnt toast is actually activated carbon, the same stuff that is in your water filtration system. The burnt toast acts as a filter and reduced the amount of alcohol in your system. They have had good results in studies with burnt toast and acetaminophen overdoses.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!