As the holidays approach so do increased family gatherings, religious celebrations and time off work for much needed vacations.
However, this can be a double-edged sword when it comes to maintaining the physique you worked so hard to construct all year long because of all of the high calorie foods, alcohol and missed days from the gym that accompany these wonderful events.
So, with that in mind I will discuss some dieting, training and supplementation strategies that one can use during the holidays to help keep the “damage” to a minimum.
The overall goal for the following is to cut back a bit on overall calorie intake, boost insulin sensitivity so carbs have less of a chance to be stored as fat, and increase proteins to enhance metabolism and the thermic effect of food.
- From Thanksgiving till the end of the year, cut your daily carbohydrate intake in half, and replace 50% of those calories with lean proteins.
- If you know the following day is going to involve eating a lot of junk foods from morning till evening, then cut carbohydrates to near zero (the day before). Increase protein consumption from lean sources by about 50% and healthy fats by 25%.
- If you are planning one large cheat meal with family or friends on a particular day, try to plan an intense weight training workout right before so many of the extra calories will be shuttled towards muscle and not as much toward fat cells.
- Reduce overall sodium intake in your daily diet to help offset the large quantities you will likely ingest at the cheat meals you will partake in. This will keep you from holding too much water under the skin, which not only blurs muscle definition, but can also be quite uncomfortable.
The overall goal of the following is to optimize cardio toward max fat burning (in minimal time) and to use weight training to burn more calories/enhance metabolism, while maintaining muscle mass.
- During the holidays make a concerted effort to start each day with fasted cardio, which is the best time to burn body fat.
- Utilize HIIT cardio rather than Steady State so that you can burn more calories in a minimal amount of time. This will allow you more time to enjoy your vacation and/or time spent with family and friends – without worrying whether you did enough to keep your physique on track.
- When weight training use mostly free weight, compound exercises, as these types of movements involve more muscle groups and require balance and stabilization – the result of which is a greater caloric expenditure.
- If you wish to cut back on days spent in the gym around holiday time, try training just three non-consecutive days per week – using a full-body routine. You may even want to try a circuit-style program so you can get through it much faster, and even get a cardio workout as well.
- If you still want to be in the gym 5-6 times per week but need to get in and out more quickly than usual, try cutting your rest between sets in half. While you will likely need to reduce the poundage on each movement (from what you normally can handle), the more rapid pace will force the muscles to work extra hard, producing a unique type of stress.
- Another option for quicker workouts that can still create a powerful anabolic response is to utilize supersets, tri sets, or even giant sets. Again, while you may need to lower the weights a bit, the intensity will more than make up for it.
The overall goal of the following is to utilize specific supplements around the holidays that will speed the metabolism, enhance calorie/body fat expenditure, reduce appetite, assist with sleep, provide vital micronutrients and increase energy and focus.
ISOFLEX: This is the highest quality whey protein on the market – containing near zero sugar. During the holidays when many meals may be low on protein and high in fat/carbs, ISOFLEX is a great way to make sure your body is still getting what it needs to maintain its muscle. Use it between meals or along with each cheat meal to keep protein intake high and to help control appetite.
RAPIDCUTS: Since it is clear that most people will be relaxing their diet during this time of year, and allowing themselves all kinds of sweets, treats and “off the normal menu” meals, we need to offset some of these extra calories. Luckily, ALLMAX engineered RAPIDCUTS, which is a powerful blend of ingredients meant to speed the metabolism, incinerate body fat, and provide nearly instant energy for cardio and weight training workouts. This is very important during the holidays, since big, carbohydrate laden meals can often produce feelings of extreme lethargy. Take one capsule in the morning and another in the early afternoon.
MCT’s: As I mentioned earlier in the “Diet Hacks” section, it is a good strategy to greatly reduce carbohydrate consumption around the holidays. ALLMAX MCT’s contain a special form of fat that is rapidly turned into energy, rather than being stored in adipose tissue. Additionally, MCT’s have also been proven to boost the metabolic rate and coax the body to use more fats for fuel during workouts. I suggest taking a tablespoon at all meals that contain little to no carbs.
KETOCUTS: Again, this is another amazing product to make use of, especially when you are purposefully cutting back on your intake of carbohydrates. It contains BHB ketones, which when combined with MCT’s can greatly increase one’s energy, stamina and endurance by providing fuel for muscular action and reducing lactate (which can reduce training output when too high). Take 1-2 scoops before morning cardio and before weight training workouts.
VITASTACK: During the holidays you may find that you are not taking in as wide a variety of nutrient dense foods as you normally would, which makes it a vital time to use VITASTACK. This is the most comprehensive vitamin/mineral/antioxidant blend in the industry, which will make sure all of your body’s micronutrient needs are met during intense training/dieting phases. I recommend taking one pack per day with a meal.
LIGHTS OUT SLEEP: Because you are most likely ingesting far more calories than your body is used to around the holidays, it is vital that you allow your body time to revitalize and recuperate, as well as to process and assimilate all of the extra food. LIGHTS OUT SLEEP will help you to fall asleep faster; remain asleep longer; and experience a deeper and more productive period of rest. Additionally, it will keep you from waking in the middle of the night and feeding on leftovers, which will only increase your chances of accruing more body fat. Take 1-2 capsules about 30 minutes before bed.
Without a doubt, you should enjoy all of the things the holidays have to offer. However, if you use at least some of the “hacks” above, you can come out the other side without having set your physique back too far – and trust me, you will be quite happy about that!