Surviving The Holiday Fat Attack

This year, you strike back against fat! Here are two preventive measures that you can take to evade the holiday fat attack.

That time of year is soon to be upon us. In addition, to doubling your credit card debt with tons of holiday gifts for people that you love and hate, if you are not careful you may double your bodyweight as well. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration.

However, packing on a good thirty pounds of good ole fashion American fat is not an exaggeration and is all too common. Well, this year I am going to give you some weapons to strike back and survive the fat attack. This year, you strike back! Here are two preventive measures that you can take to evade the holiday fat attack.

Defense Tip 1 Keep Working Out

This one seems like a no-brainer. However, I find that whenever people feel busy the first thing that they do is cut back on working out or cut out training all together. Interestingly enough the average American watches four hours of television and I doubt that changes during the holiday season. Time to prioritize which means turn off Dr. Phil and all those lame reality shows and get those workouts in.

To be fair, I realize that hitting the gym several times a week can be problematic. However, there are tons of different things that you can do at home to stay in shape. In fact you can get a great workout in with your own bodyweight exclusively.

Here is a sample HOC (high octane cardio) cocktail program that will ramp up your metabolism and keep your muscles toned.

Sample HOC Program

One-minute of jump roping
25 Pushups
One-minute of jump roping
25 bodyweight squats
One-minute of jump roping
25 sit-ups

Do each round of the jump roping and bodyweight exercise back to back. For example, do one-minute of jump roping and immediately drop on all fours and knock off twenty-five pushups. Then take a one-minute break and proceed to the next round. Do the above rounds three times at each workout.

When you can do all three rounds with one-minute breaks, decrease the breaks between each round to thirty seconds and work back up to nine total rounds. Your long-term goal is to do all nine rounds with no rest at all between each round. When you can do that your will become a fat burning machine that is impenetrable to the holiday fat attack.

Make sure that you do this program three times a week. Focus on simply working out during the holiday season and do not worry about getting better at each workout. Just get the workouts in and worst-case scenario you will maintain your current level of fitness until you have time to ramp up training during the New Year.

Also, as an alternative to one-minute of jump roping, try jogging on a treadmill or one-minute of stationary bike work. If you cannot complete the recommended number of pushups and sit-ups in the above article, the start with what you can do and work your way up.

If you enjoy lifting weights and want to maintain or build as much muscle as possible during the holiday season then drop overly complicated programs and apply "the compound solution." No there is no need to whip out your high school algebra textbook to ascertain what "the compound solution" is. In weightlifting there are two types of exercises compound exercises and isolation exercises.

Compound exercises are ones in which several muscle groups are worked at the same time. For example the bench press works your chest, shoulders, triceps, and even your lats. Alternatively, the bicep curl only works the bicep and to a smaller degree the forearms. Thus, if time is a factor, you are far better off concentrating on compound exercises than on isolation exercises.

Actually, even if time is not a factor you are better off focusing on compound exercises. Compound exercises are like top sales performers in a company. Similar to the top sales people, compound exercises are the 20% that do 80% of the work. Give yourself a reward by letting compound exercises do what they do best, transforming your body into a solid rock.

"Compound Solution" Program

Here is a "compound solution" program to keep you in tip-top shape.

Monday

Primary Exercise Barell Deadlift
2 sets of 5 reps

Place a barbell in front of your feet so that the barbell is touching your toes. Hold your chest high and bend your knees slightly. Now push your butt out as if you are trying to sit in a chair behind you. As you push your butt out squat down and pick up the barbell that is in front of your toes.

Keep your eyes straight ahead at all times. Lower the barbell back to the floor and stand up again for the next rep. take 2 seconds to lower the barbell and two seconds to stand up with it.

EXERCISE A-1 Military Press
2 sets of 5 reps

Place a barbell in a squat rack at chest level. Take a breathe in and grab the bar off of the pins so that the barbell is resting in your upper chest below your neck. Press the barbell stratght up and as the barbell passes your head lean into it slightly so that the barbell is locked out behind your head.

Hold the lockout position for one second and then lower the barbell slowly back to the starting position. Pause for a second at the starting position and then do the next rep. Take four seconds to lower the barbell and two seconds to press the barbell.

EXERCISE A-2 Pull-up
2 sets of 5 reps

Hand off of a pull-up bar and make sure that your arms are locked out. Look up slightly and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Now lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat for another rep. Take four seconds to lower yourself and two seconds to pull yourself over the bar.

If you cannot do a single pull-up yet then have someone help you over the bar and then lower yourself slowly back to the starting position. These are called negative only pull-ups.

EXERCISE Dumbbell Side Bend
2 sets of 5 reps (left and right)

Stand up straight and pick up a dumbbell and hold it out the to side like a suitcase. If you have a dumbbell in your right arm then lean to the left as far as you can. Do not bend your knees or twist your body at all.

Repeat for several reps and then place the dumbbell in your left arm and lean to the right for the same amount of reps.



Wednesday

Primary Exercise Barbell Squat
2 sets of 5 reps

Place a barbell in on some pins in a squat rack at chest level. Place your hands on top of the bar and slide your head under until the barbell is resting on your traps and shoulders behind your head. Breathe in and take the bar off the pins be standing up and taking a step back.

No squat down as until your knees break the parallel position and then stand back up. Take 4 seconds to lower youreself and 2 seconds to stand up.

EXERCISE A-1 Bench Press
2 sets of 5 reps

Lie on a bench and slide down the bench until the bar is at eye level. Grab the barbell and push your back into the bench as you unrack the bar. Now lower the bar slowly to the bottom of your chest and then reverse the direction by pressing it back to the starting position.

Keep pressing the barbell until you arms are locked out. Once you have locked the barbell out, reverse the direction and lower it back to the starting position. Take 4 seconds to lower the barbell and 2 seconds to press it back to the starting position.

EXERCISE A-2 Bent over Barbell Row
2 sets of 5 reps

EXERCISE Hanging Leg Raise
2 sets of 5 reps



Friday


On each workout day, do A-1 and A-2 in antagonistic fashion. In other words, do A-1, wait one-minute, do A-2 wait one-minute, and then do another set of A-1. Go back and forth until you have completed two sets on each exercise. Take three-minute breaks in between each set of the primary exercise, which is the first exercise in each workout day.

If you are really strapped for time, then simply do the primary exercise as your workout and live to fight another day. Compound exercises such as the deadlift and the squat work just about every muscle in the body. In fact old-time strongman used to use barbell squats in which you breath heavily between each rep to build up their chest. Did it work, you bet your Christmas stockings that it did.

If you are more interested in getting toned and built like a Greek statue, then simply reduce calories and follow the compound solution. Contrary to popular opinion, lightweights and high reps is not the way to get toned. Heavy weights and low reps force you to contract your muscles as hard as possible, which will make them harder and denser. Consuming extra calories will make them bigger.

However, maintaining your caloric intake or lowering it will ensure that you do not get bulky. Ladies, reread the previous line as many times as possible until it becomes a mantra. In fact, put it on a piece of paper and place it on your mirror. Read it every morning until you believe it.

If you are dedicated to being the envy of all of your friends and family at those high calorie holiday parties that you must attend then try doing the compound solution three times a week in addition to two days of the HOC cocktail. Otherwise, try two days of each program every week.

Defense Tip 2 Keep Eating Healthy Food

This is another obvious tip that people often forget during the holiday season. Just because you are getting bombarded with sweets and treats from every direction does not mean that that is all that you should be eating. You want to eat some holiday cake and cookies, go for it. Want to enjoy the holiday season with a few late night cocktails?

By all means, be my guest. However, combat all of the garbage with two leafy green salads every day and make sure to get a good amount of protein and fat each day to slow down all of the sugar going into your bloodstream. The insulin spikes that are caused by sugar consumption are the main culprits that cause you to gain fat fast. This is one of the main reasons that people get fat fast during the holiday season.

An easy way to prevent these insulin spikes is to have some protein and fat every time that you eat sugary junk food. For example, have a handful of almonds or walnuts before you head off to a holiday party as a preventive strike to the cakes and cookies that will follow. Or have a protein shake with some flaxseed oil before having any cookies or cakes.

Obviously, you should do your best to keep junk food consumption to a minimum. However, I am a realist and understand that the word discipline is not in everyone's arsenal. Nevertheless, be smart and take a few pre-emptive strikes to avoid the insulin fat attack.

Another no-brainer that will not cost you a dime is to make sure that you drink 10-12 cups of filtered water daily to keep your system clean and to flush out toxins. Finally, drink two cups of organic green tea daily to boost your metabolism.

Well there you have it. This holiday season I want you to dictate the rules of engagement rather than being a slave to parties and junk food. Have a great time, but follow the advise in this article and you will not have to spend the first half of 2005 losing all of the fat that you packed on during the holiday season. Send me an email in January at mahler25@yahoo.com and let me know how you did.