The holidays are upon us and if you live in the US, it’s almost time for Turkey Day a.k.a. Thanksgiving. It’s the one day of the year where we gorge on food and consume thousands of calories within a matter of one sitting.
As a fitness coach, I could just easily tell you to watch your portions, or to stay away from all the carbz, dessert, or booze.
But no, I won’t do that. I cannot (and will never) tell you to do any of those BS “holiday survival tips”.
Instead, I’ll show you a simple two-step approach on how to prepare for an all-out feast like Thanksgiving. Follow these steps and you can enjoy your favorite foods all you want, guilt-free. The goal here is to minimize (or even eliminate) the fat gain.
If you live in another part of the world and won’t be celebrating a holiday like Thanksgiving, you can still apply this nutrition hack whenever you have a planned feast — cheat days included.
Note: because of the amount of food you’re going to eat, chances are that you will still gain some weight due to the increase in water weight and glycogen stores in your body. In other words, stay away from the scale. No worries though as that increase in weight does not necessarily mean an increase in fat. As long as you get right back on track after the planned feast, your weight should go back to where it was.
Step 1: Strength Train the Day Before AND a Few Hours Prior To Your Feast
Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean that you should take a day off from your normal workout routine. If you want to keep the fat off, the last thing you want to do is sit on the couch all day.
What you want to do instead is to make sure that you get a muscle-depleting resistance training workout the day before and the day of the feast. This way, your muscle cells will act like a dry sponge that’s ready to soak up all the protein and carbs you consume for your night-time gorge.
You have two options for your workouts: 1) do a full-body strength training workout consisting mostly of compound exercises or 2) do a full body metabolic resistance training workout.
See the common theme here? You basically want to do a full body resistance training routine that will help prime your body for the foods you’re about to eat.
Which leads me to the next step…
Step 2: Keep Calorie and Carb Intake Low the Day Before AND the Day of Your Feast
You want to enter your all-out dinner in a calorie deficit that will allow your muscle cells to soak up all the amino acids and glucose coming from the food you eat. This basically means that you’ll be eating significantly less up until the feast.
Here’s one way to approach it: the day before, keep it light by eating nothing but lean protein, a serving of fruit, and an unlimited amount of green veggies for every meal.
Repeat for the morning and/or afternoon of your feast.
By the time dinner rolls around, your body’s muscles will be primed to absorb whatever it is that you take in.
You just have to remember, though, that because you have already filled up your body’s glycogen stores, try to minimize your carb intake again for the next couple days. My advice would be to slowly transition back into your regular diet by eating the same foods you had the day before the feast (lean protein, fruit, and green veggies).
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