Getting in shape and staying that way are two separate processes, each with their own set of challenges; while the former can be achieved by those with the discipline and desire needed to consistently eat and train in line with their specific shaping requirements, it is the latter we tend to struggle with most.
Maintaining hard-won muscle definition is harder than it sounds. With the ongoing routine and diligence required to stay in shape and the many temptations which may conspire to undermine our best intentions, we must be ever vigilant to ensure complacency does not set in.
FOR SOME, STAYING IN SHAPE IS SIMPLY NOT WORTH THE TIME AND EFFORT.
This article is not for them. Then there are others who feel that the sacrifices they must make to maintain a head-turning physique outweigh the many benefits to be gained by being in their best physical shape. They persevere, but reluctantly so. The problem here lies with the word sacrifice, which implies we are forced to act in certain ways to achieve an outcome.
TO SUCCESSFULLY TRANSFORM OUR PHYSIQUE AND TO MAINTAIN THE PROGRESS WE HAVE ACHIEVED.
We must change such thinking. Rather than labeling as sacrifices the steps to transformation success, instead think of them as choices that we have complete control over. Don’t become overwhelmed with the task of staying in shape (which may appear insurmountable if viewed in its entirety). Instead, take care of the smaller things, like avoiding added sugar, drinking enough water throughout the day, and sleeping soundly on a regular basis.
Before you know it you will be doing all that is necessary to stay in shape without even thinking about it. Conversely, should you choose to engage in activities over the holiday period that will stifle your fat loss efforts you may experience a loss of momentum which may set you back by months.
SO DON’T LET THIS HOLIDAY SEASON UNRAVEL THE GREAT PROGRESS YOU HAVE MADE OVER THE PAST YEAR.
Make the right choices, take ownership of the process of staying in shape, and continue to build on your success. Here are four further choices you can make to ensure you will not be playing catch-up.
By ensuring our caloric intake is sufficiently high to where we feel well-satiated and continue to possess enough energy to train hard, we are less likely to binge-eat these holidays. Eating too few calories can be just as destructive to the building and maintaining of lean muscle tissue as eating too many.
SO IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE MAINTAIN THE RIGHT BALANCE OF NUTRIENTS
(that which has enabled you to get to where you are) needed to offset the starvation mode which signals a sluggish metabolic rate and which may result in feeding frenzies in an attempt to restore the balance. A slow metabolic rate combined with a propensity to binge is a sure-fire recipe for excessive fat accumulation. Avoid this at all costs this holiday season!
Up The Cardio
With many parties and functions to attend and much celebrating to be done over the holiday period, many of us will struggle to maintain a lean physique. The Christmas weight gain many of us experience has become accepted and normalized to where fat loss tops the New Year’s resolution lists of many. We can choose to eat a little of the wrong foods these holidays, but such an approach is untenable for many; it invariably leads to a slippery slope of engorgement which soon spirals out of control. Before we know it we have soaked up 1000-plus calories and have set our progress back.
IDEALLY, WE WILL CONTINUE TO PACK OUR MEALS AND EAT IN LINE WITH OUR PHYSIQUE GOALS AND FOR THE MOST PART THIS IS WHAT MANY OF US WILL BE DOING.
However, there will be times when we do wish to indulge a little, and the metabolic boost we receive may in fact be a good thing. But, as an insurance policy, we can increase the duration of each of our cardio sessions; by adding 10-15 minutes to each session we may burn 150 or more additional calories. This can result in a caloric deficit of over 1000 per week and will allow us more nutritional leniency. Yes, even as dedicated bodybuilders, we can have our cake and eat it. But we must do the cardio to burn it off.
Go Easy On The Condiments
Because the holiday season signals a disruption to our normal routine, many of us are more inclined to consume convenience foods, oblivious to the hidden calories contained within. Rather than being creative with our cooking methods we may, due to the pressure to be in several places at once, simply add a liberal serving of ranch dressing or barbeque sauce, for example, to our regular bodybuilding fare.
WE MAY ALSO DOWN ONE OF MANY DIFFERENT SUGAR-LADEN SPORTS DRINKS IN PLACE OF A CARBOHYDRATE-RICH MEAL.
The problem is, the 100-200 calories contained in the average serving of some condiments (one tablespoon of tomato sauce may, for example, contain as much as 4 grams of sugar and 5-6 of these servings can easily be consumed in one sitting) and the 40-50 grams of sugar packed into a 700ml sports drink can derail any effort to stay in shape. To stay in shape, curtail, or eliminate entirely, the consumption of condiments and sports drinks.
Maintain The Winning Edge
Maintaining a rigorous schedule of consistently intensive workouts and clean nutrition through the holidays is likely to be furthest from the minds of those of us who have spent most of 2015 in the training trenches. Many, in fact, become complacent in their training habits once the holiday season begins. Occasionally missed workouts and meals, half-hearted cardio sessions, an array of sugary, fatty foods and a general lessening of training intensity are common hallmarks of such complacency, often resulting from an alteration to our regular schedule and an increasing number of distractions.
WE BECOME SIDETRACKED AND LOSE FOCUS.
But because we are committed to the fitness lifestyle we already have the skills needed to plan for and manage our daily training and nutritional requirements. We must maintain such diligence through the holidays. We can still party and have fun but with the added satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that accompanies a disciplined mindset. Remember, we want to start 2016 strong; this means we must not falter in attending to our training or nutritional requirements now.
Be Committed, Not Complacent
That the holiday season is upon us does not mean we may sabotage all of the good work we have put in over the past 12 months. In fact, we must now begin planning for a successful 2016 and a strong start is always the best start. So, by all means enjoy your holidays, eat well and up the calories a little as you relax and recharge in preparation for next year’s training calendar, but keep the positive momentum going so as to ensure your current level of progress is maintained.
ALLMAX NUTRITION WOULD LIKE TO WISH YOU A Healthy and PRODUCTIVE Year!