By jared Boynton | 12/10/2016
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! The holidays are upon us once again, and so are the festivals, feasts, and family that come with them. This begs the question: is it possible for a mortal man to live through the 12 days of Christmas without gaining the 12 pounds of Christmas? And if not, many of those 12 pounds are going to be lean mass? There are a number of ways to combat holiday weight gain, and we’ll dig through them one by one.
First and foremost, be sensible. No amount of glycogen depletion, preparation, supplementation, or post-binge damage control will counteract a week-long devolution into mass gluttony. Yes, it’s the holiday season. No, that does not give you the green light to completely detach your mind and body from the principles that you hold dear for the other 11 months of the year. Cheat wisely and plan ahead with the strategies laid out below
This one seems obvious; and increased expenditure of calories will counteract an increased caloric intake. That being said… have you considered building the deficit BEFORE indulging, instead of playing catch-up after? Studies have shown that the thermic effect of food is greater during the 3-hour windows after consuming food, but ditching the family just to hit the elliptical after your holiday dinner isn’t exactly family-friendly.
Instead, consider increasing your volume in the gym ahead of time. Aim to deplete glycogen as a preventative measure, rather than a cure. Throw in some extra HIIT and up your rep ranges on the majority of your movements.
There are a number of supplements on the market designed to lessen the creation of fat tissue after a feast. Right at the top of my list is Lipodrene by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals: it’s a potent thermogenic and appetite suppressant, and will both assist in the burning of extra calories consumed as well as curb your desire to smash that entire pumpkin pie into your mouth.
If you’re stimulant-sensitive or simply want to avoid thermogenics in general, there are a number of supplements designed as Glucose Partitioning Agents; I recommend Nutrakey Chromium Picolinate, which will reduce insulin resistance systemically and allow for your body to quickly and rapidly eliminate the extra glucose pumping through your bloodstream after eating three pounds of your Grandma’s Christmas stuffing.
Combined with the previous two strategies, intermittent fasting implemented both before and after your gorge-fest will serve to control the damage quite well. Aim to do a full glycogen depletion workout followed by a fast until Christmas dinner, and follow that up with another fast until after your morning workout the next day. This will serve to force your body to use the calories consumed during your “big meal” for basic metabolic functions as workout fuel, instead of storing them around your waistline for future use.
If you stand around the water cooler with a few Registered Dieticians during the holiday season, you’ll likely overhear talk about the “second meal effect”. This refers to a process by which carbohydrate tolerance is improved as a result of consuming a lower glycemic-index meal a few hours prior to the feast. This causes the insulin-releasing effect of the TRUE binge to be dampened, as the body is still processing the lower-GI carbs from the earlier primer meal. On top of that, your desire to stuff your gullet with food from the Christmas Cornucopia will probably be significantly less if you’ve already got some food in your stomach.
At the end of the day, there’s no reason to let your second life as a Ronnie-Coleman-in-training get in the way of enjoying some food with your friends and family. As with everything in fitness, a solid plan of attack and a good base of knowledge surrounding the effects of what you’re doing and what you’re eating goes a long way.
Jared Boynton is a proud Advantage Supplements athlete with a wide range of knowledge on nutrition, supplementation, kinesiology, and biomechanics. His experience has been proven through years of real-world implementation with both his own physique and the physiques of numerous clients. You can contact Jared via email at Coach@JaredBoynton.com, as well as follow follow him on social media and his personal website as listed below:
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