The holidays are approaching with Thanksgiving leading the way followed by Christmas and New Years not too far behind. During this time of joy and happiness unfortunately, most people, including some of us bodybuilders, tend to forget about their bodybuilding workouts and nutrition plans.
If thoughts of dumping your fitness and bodybuilding program have crossed your mind, allow me to remind you that this road only leads to a physique that could be used as a "Before" picture on the latest fat burner ads.
However, what if I told you that with some planning ahead you can have your cake and eat it too? I promise you that if you practice self discipline and follow all of the tactics discussed below, your fat gain during the Holidays will be minimized, and provided that you train hard, even if you use my abbreviated bodybuilding holiday routine described below, you will come out with new muscle that you did not have before.
Essential Steps For Staying Fit During The Holidays
There are some key steps that need to be followed in order to stay fit during the Holidays. Follow the steps below and I guarantee you that come the New Year, losing weight will not be on your list of resolutions:
Plan your bodybuilding workout days one full week ahead. Because of the amounts of get-togethers and days that the gym may be closed, it is best if you decide a week ahead which days you will be attending the gym. Simply take out your calendar and schedule your workouts and even write down at what times these will be performed. In this manner, your chances of missing a workout due to parties or gym closures are eliminated.
Workout as early as possible, preferably first thing in the morning. If your schedule is really hectic, I would advise waking up early and getting the training done, if possible, right before you go to work.
If this is not possible, then try doing it at lunch time or right after work so that nothing else interferes with your workout. On days off from work, definitely get the training done as early as possible.
Hugo's Holiday Routine
If you feel that you really cannot dedicate more than 3 days a week to your training, then just try out my Abbreviated Bodybuilding Holiday Routine.
The routine is designed for a serious bodybuilder that wants maximum muscle along with definition and is willing to train 3 days a week for 75 minutes. If that is still too much then just cut 1 set for all the exercises listed and this will bring down your gym time by around 15-20 minutes.
Planning Cheat Days
Plan Your Cheat Days Wisely. I have to say that I am an expert at this one. Reason for this is because Thanksgiving, which is on the 22nd, my birthday is on December 5th, my anniversary on December 17th, Christmas on the 25th and New Year's on the 31.
So those are my cheat days. My advice is to attempt to space cheat days with at least 5-6 days in between, 6 being the better choice.
Eating Cheat Meals
Also, try to not stuff yourself. Instead allocate six hours of cheating per cheat day and instead of having just one huge binge meal that prevents you from even being able to walk after you are done, have 3 smaller meals instead; one every 90 minutes.
Take around 30 minutes to savor and make sure that after you are done with each meal you feel like you have a bit of room left. The best strategy is to eat until you are comfortably full.
After your cheat period, go back on your regular diet.
Workout Before Cheating
Before a cheat period it is great to have a tough workout first in order to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain. Reason for this is because after a workout the body is primed to absorb nutrients in the form of proteins and carbohydrates. Thus, having a cheat meal afterwards will ensure that most nutrients are used for recovery and muscle production.
Supplementing Before Cheating
Take some 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate and 300 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid at the beginning of your cheat period. These supplements help increase your cell's ability to accept insulin and thus assimilate the extra carbohydrates better. As a matter of fact, increasing insulin sensitivity is one of the reasons why I like to have a big workout prior to the cheat period.
Finally, a good thermogenic supplement like Labrada's Charge ASF is a good idea as well since this will ensure that your appetite is kept under control.
Essential Fatty Acids
Have some EFA's with your cheat meal. Research indicates that some essential fats like the ones found in flaxseed oil or fish oils have anti-lipolitic properties. In other words, they inhibit some of the enzymes responsible for fat storage. Because of this, by taking these fats with your first cheat meal of your cheat period, you can minimize some of the damage. They also serve as a good natural appetite suppressant.
Take some digestive enzymes prior to each one of your cheat meals. This will ensure maximum nutrient assimilation and will also help you avoid feelings of excessive fullness and indigestion. The best formula is a comprehensive enzyme formula with enzymes for proper digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Three to five hours after the cheat period has ended, have a 30-45 minute walk. I'm not talking about anything strenuous; around 3 miles per hour is a good pace.
Doing some cardiovascular activity after the cheat period has ended will start burning some of the carbohydrates that may still be lingering around. The more of these you burn, the less likelihood of storing body fat. If you cannot do this walk on the same day of the cheat period then try it on the morning after on an empty stomach.
As you can see, with some planning ahead you can have your cake and eat it too so to speak. Practice self discipline and I promise that if you follow all of the tactics discussed above your fat gain during the Holidays will be at a minimum, if any, and provided that you train hard, even if you use my abbreviated Holiday routine, you will come out with new muscle that you did not have before.