If you find it very difficult to eat healthy during the holidays, and make time to stay in shape, you are not alone. Most people find it hard to resist the holiday cookies, fresh pumpkin pie, creamy mashed potatoes, the homemade gravies and the creamy eggnog fortified with good old Captain Morgan (I-there mate-eey!).
Compounding the problem is the many invites and holiday tasks, which compete with the time you would normally spend on yourself, like being in the gym.
During the holidays the temptations to break the diet and skip the gym seem to be everywhere; at home and at the office.
Common Pitfalls Include:
- Office potlucks and holiday parties.
- The neighborhood kids candy drives.
- Your significant other's office parties.
- Family and friends holiday gatherings.
- Counter snacks that seem to be at every front reception desk, be it a doctor appointment or even at the neighborhood tune and lube.
If the mere site of these tempting delectable high fattening morsels don't do you in, then you are like many others; the peer pressure wins you over. It is understandable how many people do not want to be the odd man out at a party or offend a host by not eating Grandma's special secret gravy recipe.
It is also certainly understandable that you do not want to offend a host or embarrass a date or spouse by bringing an 8 quart Tupperware Bowl of chicken, broccoli and cauliflower to the event and subsequently "light up the room brighter then the multicolored lights hanging from the house trim".
We all know that managing your food intake can be hard year round, and is even harder for the reasons just mentioned. There are even more "evil forces" at work as well, such as holiday stress and emotions, which can also cause many strong people to seek comfort in high calorie and high fat foods.
Statistics show that the holidays are known to be a cause of high stress and can trigger depression for many people. When the holidays roll around depression and stress are often the byproducts of high expectations we carry around with us. The holidays bring out the blues in many people, especially those who've recently lost a loved one or who are separated from their children or friends.
It also brings on the blues by the stresses of spending too much money on gifts and trying to meet all the demands and complete all the tasks we've added to our schedules because of the holidays. All of these stresses can in turn elevate certain hormonal levels, like cortisol, which can actually drive many people to seek comfort in high glycemic carbohydrates and high fattening comfort foods.
I will discuss later ways to manage stress and manage cortisol levels to help you beat the odds and successfully stay away from the "call to eat" when stressed.
Tips To De-Stress
- Prioritize chores and responsibilities and realize that no one has time to do everything.
- Slip away from gatherings, if you begin to feel stressed, rather than allowing the tension to build. The key is not to let stress build up.
- Take breaks and allow yourself to relax whenever possible.
- Exercise regularly, even if it's just a brisk walk, and avoid overeating and excessive drinking.
- Consider meditation, and relaxation exercises such as yoga to "de-stress" and increase your mental focus.
- Try this tension buster: take a deep breath and hold it for 3 seconds. Breathe out slowly, letting your shoulders slump into a more relaxed position.
Make The Time For Fitness
During the holidays there are many more events to attend, holiday shopping requirements, end of the year business tasks to complete, daylight is shortened... There are a number of legitimate task tugging at your "gym time". However, these are also the important reasons to schedule your gym time.
Maintaining muscle mass is important not only for the sake of appearance, but also to help prevent your metabolic rate from slowing. Working out will also provide many additional benefits to you during this high stress time of the year.
Working out will also help reduce the holiday stress. If you are stressed out, you'll be too exhausted to make good food choices. All your favorite comfort foods will start to look even more tempting.
Working out will keep you away physically from the holiday junk food temptation, if only for a little bit, while speeding up your metabolic rate making your fat burning engine run faster, and more efficient.
This will also increase your internal GH levels, helping to promote a more anabolic environment which would further fuel your internal fat burning machine (Cortisol levels will also be kept in check).
By scheduling your workout you will be forced to properly manage your other tasks and set goals and boundaries and stay focused.
Once done with your work out you will feel more relaxed, more refreshed and more able to attack the remaining tasks you have efficiently and with vigor.
The 45 Minute Non-Stop Holiday Workout.
Since over the holidays there will be a number of tasks tugging at your time and giving you excuses not to get to the gym, I would like to suggest another alternative for the holiday season: the 45 minute non stop holiday workout.
This in not for the faint hearted as I have brought more than one client to his or her knees and praying to a porcelain statue. The key to the workout is simple. You have a planned focus workout, which is mapped out in your head prior to getting to the gym. Once you arrive there you are off to the races.
You know what weight you can handle. You have alternate exercises picked out in your head in case a machine or bench is being used. The bottom line is you give 100% per rep, per set, and you keep going. If you have to rest, you rest no more than the time it takes to change the bar. Now move to the next station.
By decreasing the rest between sets forcing the muscles to work harder while in partial recovery. You also increase fat burning, and lower the risk of injury in that you can use lighter weights than if you were taking longer rest between sets which allow your muscles partial recovery rather than this approach of progressive stimulation.
The key here is also to maintain extreme focus and concentration with each rep with the end result to increase the INTENSITY, not just the weight used. Increasing the intensity in a smart way will increase success. Without intensity you can lift as much as you like and you will still only obtain very minimal results.
What many beginners fail to realize is that the progressive overload principal only works when muscles are hot. Therefore, the best way to use this principle to your advantage is to decrease the amount of rest in between sets.
Lifting with less rest between sets also has the added benefit of increasing muscular endurance, which is essential at all levels of training, as muscles need to be able to tolerate the build up of lactic acid.
If you can increase your ability to tolerate lactic acid, you will be able to complete more reps and therefore experience greater results.
An added benefit is that if you train quicker, you will also need to do fewer sets, which will allow you to squeak in the work out, during the busy holidays when you think you do not have the time. I have gotten killer workouts with clients in 20 minutes, when I had them moving full blast. Doubtful? Look me up when you are in the LA area?
Managing The Temptations:
You do not have to give up your favorite foods to maintain a healthy diet during the holiday season. Small adjustments in your eating habits can make a big difference in your health, your physique and overall well being.
Tips When Attending Events:
- Eat smaller pieces or portions. If you must have some of the "less healthy" dishes try to eat smaller pieces or portions.
- Add some fiber, roughage, salads, and vegetables without the high fattening dressings, butter or sauces and eat them first to increase your satiety level before gorging on the sweet and higher fattening items.
Seriously speaking, good portion control and adding good foods to your meal will allow you some normalcy, while also allowing you to enjoy the flavors of the foods without feeling as stuffed, and without feeling deprived.
- Choose low glycemic index foods. Lower glycemic index foods will have less of a "spike" on your blood sugar levels. It will also keep your energy levels more stable and will be less likely to drive you into a temporary "sugar coma" where your young nephew will have the opportunity to pick your pockets and draw mustard glasses on your face and add a nice shade of rouge to your cheeks.
- Choose the sparkling water instead of the alcohol (believe me the entertainment of others drinking while you stay sober is worth the price of admission); especially at office parties.
- Practice "focused eating." Enjoy one bite at a time; thoroughly chew your food until the flavor is minimal, before swallowing. Also be aware that it takes time (usually approximately 20 minutes) for a feeling of fullness to reach the brain from your stomach. This satiety (fullness) time will vary from person to person and food to food so find the time that works best for you.
- Recognize the delay and use it to your advantage so that you do not overeat (and need to unzip those pants and catch your breath after a meal). Do not feel the need to finish what is on your plate just because it is there or because it is "paid for".
- Exit the event before the desert cart rolls around. You also won't have to wait an hour for the valet to bring back your ride.
- Mingle, jingle and network. The more you walk and talk the more friends you will make, the more calories you will burn, and the less food you will be stuffing into your mouth.
At The Office:
- The baked goods made and left on the front desk counter or lunchroom by your peers.
- The candy and gift baskets delivered to the office by your clients or vendors.
- The office parties.
- The "team" holiday lunch invitations.
- Small bags of pretzels (a low fat food).
- Low-fat crackers, cereals.
- Fruits in natural choices.
- Cans of tuna, chicken or turkey breast.
- Sugar free calorie free Lipton or Crystal Light "To go" single serving packs that can be added to a bottle of water.
- When you receive tasty treats, enjoy them in moderation.
The office can also be a very huge "problem" area for many during the holiday season. There are many potential pitfalls and traps. These include:
The tip here is to be prepared and stay strong. To help you stay strong I suggest too many of my clients to arm yourself with snacks that are low in fat, low in sugar and moderate sodium.
Fill your desk with your "holiday stress/fat buster" snacks that you can call in moderation when you are hungry or when a temptation arises. These may include:
- Toss leftovers.
- Quickly "re-gift" food presents. Yes I said the dirty word: RE-GIFT. Better to re-gift the fruitcake than to regurgitate the fruitcake. My suggestion: make it a positive thing that makes you feel better and pass these "edible" temptations to a local shelter or a food bank. I do not think the gift giver would be mad at such an act, when the end result is a needy cause. After all, it is the holiday season.
- Keep the shelves stocked with good healthy foods and not an abundance of binge foods.
- Have good foods prepared for those times where you may slip and want to reach for a binge food.
- Do not food shop when you are hungry.
Tips When Hosting A Holiday Event:
You can make your meals "healthy" when you choose low-fat recipes or select alternative ingredients. Below are examples of ways to make your holiday meal healthier for the entire family.
- Serve a fresh veggie platter with non-fat dressings as a appetizer choice.
- Serve turkey instead of ham.
- Choose turkey breast and light meat (give Fido the dark meat, the thighs and the fatty skin).
- Serve fresh cranberry sauce instead of gravy with your turkey.
- Rather than seasoning the sweet potatoes with butter or margarine, use Splenda, or fresh juice, or spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg to turbo charge the flavor.
- Use whole grain breads, and spare the butter. Use jams or other fruit spreads, or go bare! When cooking or baking use 2% instead of whole milk; margarine instead of whole butters and creams.
- Offer fruit flavored sparkling water as an alternative to high fructose juices and alcohol.
- Serve up some Extreme Coffee. JavaBod Fat Burning Blend coffee has all the anti-oxidant and fat burning benefits of the regular cup of Joe... and a lot more. JavaBod Fat Burning Blend is a high-energy, fat-burning gourmet coffee that helps you stay fit by boosting your body's metabolism while also killing the cravings for junk.
- Short for time but want a good ready-to-eat high protein desert? Consider some of Sly's Instone High Protein Pudding which is lactose free, contains 20 grams of high quality protein, and only 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fat.
New Light Desert Recipes:
For Your Thanksgiving Holiday Table.
Super Moist Pumpkin Bread.
- 1/2 stick unsalted margarine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup nonfat
- Plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
This will serve 8.
The directions for this recipe are very simple.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a bread pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Beat together the margarine and sugar until smooth.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the egg whites and combine. Then add the 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 1/4-cup nonfat, plain yogurt, 1/4-cup honey, 1-teaspoon vanilla extract and combine until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1-cup flour, 1-teaspoon baking powder, 1-teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4-teaspoon salt, 1/4-teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4-teaspoon ground allspice. Fold this mixture into the pumpkin mixture and combine until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan (use a non tick pan or spray oil) and place in the center of the oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Calories 150
- Carbohydrate 33 g
- Fat 2.5 g
- Fiber 1 g
- Protein 4 g
- Saturated Fat 1.5 g
De Bomb Low Fat Banana Bread.
- 2 egg whites (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
- 2 cups mashed bananas
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1-teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2-teaspoon baking soda
- 1-teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2-cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray a bread pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- With mixer, beat together sugar, eggs, and bananas.
- Add dry ingredients; mix well.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan (use a non stick pan or spray oil) and place in the center of the oven preheated to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool.
- Remove from pan and serve.
- Calories 366
- Carbohydrate 88 g
- Fat 1 g
- Fiber 4 g
- Protein 2 g
- Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Low Fat Dreamy Creamy Peanut Butter Muffins.
- 2 egg whites (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
- 1/4-cup honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2-teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1-tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2-cup reduced-fat peanut butter
- 8 tablespoons applesauce
- 1-cup skim milk
- 1/2-cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4-cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4-cup wheat germ
- 1/2-cup oatmeal
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Add peanut butter and 8 tablespoons applesauce to dry mixture and mix until it becomes coarse crumbs.
- In another bowl, beat 2 egg whites to foamy, add 1 cup of skim milk, and honey.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and stir only till moistened.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan (use a non stick pan or spray oil) or muffin tray and place in the center of the oven preheated to 400 degrees.
- Fill till 2/3 full.
- Bake 15 to 18 minutes or till lightly brown or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool. Then remove from pan and serve.
1/2-cup egg substitute
2 cups mashed bananas
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray a bread pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- With mixer, beat together sugar, eggs, and bananas.
- Add dry ingredients; mix well.
- Pour into load pan sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
- Calories 366
- Carbohydrate 88 g
- Fat 1 g
- Fiber 4 g
- Protein 2 g
- Saturated Fat 0.5 g
- Labrada's Carbwatchers ® Gourmet Bread Mix. Only 3 grams of net-impact carbs per serving, and 0 grams of trans-fats.
- Labrada's Carbwatchers ® Gourmet Cake & Muffin Mix. Each serving contains only 3 grams of net-impact carbs, 0 trans fats.
- When baking muffins and cookies use applesauce instead of oils and sugars to sweeten your baked goods.
- Instead of pies and cakes offer other sweet low fat alternatives. Consider one of my holiday faves (Baked Pears with Cranberries), topped with a sprinkling of crushed walnuts as an alternative.
Low Fat Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Cut the saturated fat content and cholesterol by using a combination of low fat and fat free cream cheese, with egg whites. The crust can be made from low fat graham crackers or even better yet, trans-fat-free gingersnap cookies. Now you can enjoy all the flavor of a holiday dessert with a fraction of the fat. Top it off with fat-free whipped topping, and some cinnamon or nutmeg.
"Labrada Carb Watchers Cake & Muffin Mix"
Other Desert Making Tips:
The directions are simple; just pour an ounce or two of pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, red wine or fresh apple cider over the fruits and nuts and bake. The whole house will fill out with a delicious aroma. Like the pumpkin cheesecake, the delicious low fat desert can also be served with a scoop of low fat frozen ice cream or some non-fat whipped cream sprinkled with a little nutmeg and/or cinnamon.
There are quite a few strategies you can utilize to maintain muscle mass while stripping body fat during the holiday season.
Eat Smaller Meals.
Portion control is key. Excess calories (even if from low fat sources) will get stored as fat.
Eat More Frequently.
By eating more frequently and spreading out your caloric intake over 5 to 6 meals instead of 1 to 3 huge meals you end up with more muscle mass and less body fat than you do when eating the same number of calories per day in fewer meals.
Eating more frequently - even a very small meal - will stimulate the appetite center of the brain, which can help reduce a sometimes-overwhelming desire to eat.
Eating more frequently will not only keep your hunger levels at check, but it will also help keep your energy levels even, enhance nutrient absorption, enhance fat burning and minimize fat building through excess calories. Most importantly it can help keep you from binging on the "bad snacks", like the holiday cakes, and cookies that seem to be everywhere during the holidays.
When In Doubt Go For The Protein.
protein sources such as turkey breast is always a good choice because protein will not only prevent muscle wasting and provide an anabolic environment to build mass from your workouts, but protein exerts the greatest appetite-quelling effect than any other nutrient, including meals of carbohydrates and protein. Readjusting your protein-carb mix is an easy way to suppress your appetite.
Eat Fibrous Vegetables.
Many holiday platters and dinners will have a variety of fresh and cooked
vegetables. If you do not add the butter (or the dip if they are from a fresh raw veggie platter) veggies are a great choice.
Add Fiber To Your Diet.
Fiber slows the digestion of carbs into blood sugar. When carb digestion slows, insulin levels drop, which favors fat burning. Many nutritional studies show that diets high in
fiber are associated with lower body fat and lower incidences of cardiovascular disease than are diets low in fiber.
You can add fiber to your diet with supplements with each meal, or by incorporating foods higher in fiber into your diet such as long-grain brown rice, fibrous vegetables, high-fiber oatmeal and oat-bran cereals.
Avoid Carb-Only Meals.
Although carbohydrates burn quicker than fats and proteins, this can also be a problem, because carbohydrates also leave the stomach the quickest. This means that a meal comprising only of carbohydrates (even those lower on the glycemic index) will leave the stomach quickly, which can cause you to "chase more carbs". Instead combine supplements by adding protein and a small amount of good non saturated fats to your meals.
Since protein and dietary fats are digested far more slowly than carbohydrates and they prevent carbohydrates from rushing out of the stomach, helping to make you feel full longer. By employing this simple change and adding just a minimal amount of protein and good fats within your diet you can prevent your "need" to gorge, overeat and lust after those holiday sweets.
Pay Special Attention To The Post Workout Meal.
The post workout meal is the one meal where it is OK to eat a significant amount of carbohydrates (1 to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight), including a moderate amount of carbs high (yes I said high) on the glycemic index.
Approximately 40% of your daily carbohydrate intake should be contained in your post workout meals because carbohydrates raise insulin levels, which increases growth and reverses muscle breakdown induced by weight training. More muscle means a higher metabolic rate.
If calories remain constant this means you will instead burn fat stores. This time is also an important time to replenish lost glycogen stores for the following day's workout.
Supplements That Can Help Keep You Lean & Mean
There are many supplements that can help burn calories, and also retain muscle. Although there are too many to include I will highlight a few important ones that are often missed by many.
If you are taking protein supplements, emphasize
casein products. Casein is a milk protein that has a timed-release effect regulating the release of amino acids into your blood stream at a slow steady pace (like the processing of a low glycemic carb). It does this by forming a gel in the gut to slow the transit time of amino acids.
This slower absorbing protein is ideal for your last meal before sleep and will help prevent muscle wasting that can occur during sleep when the muscles are not getting needed protein. Casein also has a very high natural peptide form based glutamine (Peptide form is absorbed better due to peptide transport systems in the digestive tract).
Glutamine supports lean muscle mass. Casein based proteins also provide a higher amount of glycomacropeptide, which is known to help reduce appetite.
Maintaining healthy blood levels of glutamine is crucial for any athlete who wants to optimize all critical body functions, and derive the maximum benefit from his or her training since glutamine is both anabolic (muscle building) and anti-catabolic (muscle sparing).
Glutamine levels must be maintained, to provide its vital role in regulating energy, regulating glucose metabolism, repairing any lost muscle tissue, maintaining and building added muscle, sustaining elevated levels of growth hormone and its powerful anabolic effect, lowering cortisol levels, nourishing the immune system, keeping brain and nerve function at a high level, and maintaining the acid/alkali blood balance. Therefore routine supplementation should be part of your daily regimen.
For most bodybuilders I would suggest taking 5 grams of glutamine peptides before a work out, so that blood glutamine levels are high to ensure that the entire body has enough reserve glutamine to prevent glutamine depletion during or after a strenuous workout. An additional 5 grams should be taken following training to restore blood levels of glutamine burned up by exertion.
Failure to restore these levels will impact the benefits derived from intense training. It will also slow recovery, which will reduce growth. I prefer glutamine peptides because peptide-bonded glutamine is selectively absorbed by muscle tissue in need of repair and replenishment.
Being easily absorbed and totally bioavailable, peptide-bonded glutamine enters muscle cells fast, breaks down to free glutamine, and performs its essential metabolic functions. Peptide-bonded glutamine is thus more efficient, more effective, and superior to free-form L-glutamine.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs):
BCAAs aid in the formation of alanine from glucose during exercise as well as glutamine from glucose and alpha keto glutarate. BCAAs can be converted into energy to prevent muscle catabolism and aid in muscle building, recovery and repair. Also serves as an anti-catabolic agent sparing muscle mass while dieting.
Arginine & Leucine:
Amino acids arginine and leucine are non-carbohydrate inducers of insulin. Arginine and leucine supplementation can help promote a more powerful anabolic response to training. The greater the anabolic response after training, the more muscle you'll gain. I would suggest taking adding 3-6 g of leucine and 2-4 g of arginine and (maintain the 3:2 ratio between the two) to create a greater anabolic response.
Many people get sick during the holidays. Vitamin C is a cost effective water soluble vitamin that has many key functions and values to the body. Vitamin C can also help contain cortisol levels, which will also help maintain testosterone levels and help maintain an anabolic environment conducive for adding muscle mass and burning stored fat.
Although higher amounts of Vitamin C can aid greater insulin production it could worsen those with hypoglycemic tendencies, so care should be employed for diabetics and those with hypoglycemic tendencies. Higher levels of Vitamin C can also decrease manganese levels.
If manganese supplementation is not taken in conjunction with increased vitamin C consumption, Vitamin C can negatively affect glycogen stores in the liver, decreasing the liver's ability to store larger amounts.
For a bodybuilder this means less energy stores to power your work out. This means less muscle gain, and less fat burning, so understanding how specific supplementation can not only affect your body, but affect other nutritional levels in your body is key for optimum performance (and ultimately appearance).
Selenium & Calcium:
Micronutrients such as selenium and calcium are very important, since both are often not derived in appreciable quantities by bodybuilders in a low fat diet. Selenium supports normal thyroid function. Studies have also shown that calcium also can assist in burning fat.
Interestingly enough caffeine, which for many of us is a daily part of our diet, can cause an excretion of calcium. I would suggest ensuring that you are getting at least 200 micrograms a day of selenium and at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day from your diet and supplements.
Soluble fiber delays the entry of carbohydrates from the stomach into the intestines. This slowing effect alters the amount of insulin secreted. In this case the delay modifies the amount of insulin secretion, which will reduce the urge to overeat, while also keep your energy levels constant (spiking insulin levels often result in drops in energy levels, as often seen after a high carbohydrate/high caloric meal... which is why you have the urge to take that afternoon snooze after felling your stomach with holiday faire).
5-hydroxytryptophan Or 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan (5-HTP):
The natural amino acid supplement
5-HTP has attracted a good deal of attention because of its ability to increase pain tolerance, induce sleep, and affect how hunger is perceived. Unlike many other supplements that have molecules too large to pass from the bloodstream into the brain, molecules of 5-HTP are small enough to do so.
Once in the brain, 5-HTP is converted into an important nervous system chemical, or neurotransmitter, called serotonin. Serotonin (5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine), which plays an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, body temperature, and the secretion of various hormones.
It is believed that, environmental stressors lower levels of serotonin in the brain and can cause people to become overweight, crave sugar and other carbohydrates, experience bouts of emotional imbalance, and have vague muscle aches and pain.
It is also believed that by supplementing with 5-HTP and raising the levels of serotonin in the brain, these problems can be avoided (or corrected). A holiday dinner of turkey wills contains the natural amino acid L-tryptophan, which can provide sietity through the protein and by providing 5-HTP.
|Interesting Historical Note:|
Have a Tyrosine fortified Java drink prior to your holiday party or holiday meal.
The amino acid tyrosine, when consumed on an empty stomach can act as a mild appetite suppressant by increasing the body's levels of noradrenalin (norepinephrine). When consumed with caffeine, the effect is enhanced dramatically.
Not only do you get an energy boost and a stronger appetite suprressant effect but the 1-2 punch also liberates free fatty and glycerol--the byproduct of fat breakdown which helps short-circuit the appetite control center located in the brain. Consider 2 g of tyrosine with 200 grams of caffeine (1 good cup of java) 30- 45 minutes before eating and repeat the process in the early afternoon.
ZMA is a formulated zinc product that has shown to help improve training recovery and allow you to sleep better. Additional studies however has suggested that ZMA can also help control appetite, because studies have shown that people who have a zinc deficiency also tend to have less leptin (leptin is associated with appetite control).
Increasing zinc levels can help raise leptin levels, which can help prevent binging, and excess eating.
There is also limited research suggesting that by increasing your levels of the "non-essential" amino acid histidine, leptin levels can also be raised
Histidine also increases to histamines, which decrease food consumption. One important factoid, the holiday season can result in taking antihistamines - drugs that block the release of histamines, which interestingly enough can lead to greater food consumption. Studies suggest taking 500 mg of histidine three times a day to help control appetite.
Garcinia Cambogia (Hydroxycitric Acid):
Taking Garcinia during the holidays may help control appetite cravings and binges by promoting synthesis of glycogen (Glycogen is the stored form of glucose, one of the body's primary sources of energy). Increased glycogen production and storage is the body's normal way of signaling the brain's satiety centre that enough food has been eaten.
Research suggests that Garcinia contains a biologically active compound, which is known to inhibit the synthesis of lipids and fatty acids and lower the formation of LDL and triglycerides (inhibiting the conversion of excess calories to body fat). Studies suggest taking 350-700 mg twice daily with meals. Allow several weeks for benefits.
Hoodia Gordonii (Asclepiadaceae):
Hoodia Gordonii (Asclepiadaceae) is a supplement derived from a milkweed-like plant that grows in Botswana and the Kalahari Desert in Southwestern Africa. Hoodia Gordonii has been used by the South African San tribe for thousands of years to suppress hunger and increasing energy levels while hunting.
It was just introduced to the US market in early 2004 for use as an appetite suppressant. Scientists believe that Hoodia sends signals to the brain that make the brain believe that the body is full, even when it is not. These signals are believed to be thousands of times stronger than the signals that sugar sends to the brain for the same reason. Those who wish to suppress appetite, increase energy levels and lose weight can benefit greatly from using Hoodia as a nutritional supplement.
When used in conjunction with a healthy eating plan and exercise, Hoodia can help to bring about massive changes in body composition, and can greatly improve a person's health. When taken consistently Hoodia can help stop the cravings which can help substantially during the holiday season when food temptations surround us at every corner.
More Tips to Keep You ON Point
Binging, or overeating happens to the best of us, even champion bodybuilders. That does not mean to throw all caution to the wind. The key here is to stop with the excuses, make a plan, have a vision and do your best. Do not beat yourself up for a mistake, but also do not keep "rewarding yourself" with binges and bad food.
- You DO have the power to say no.
- No to that extra helping you do not want nor need.
- No to the drink you do not want or need.
- No to the task you do not have time to complete.
- No to that party or other events you don't want to attend.
If you cannot skip an event altogether, how about just dropping by - then exiting gracefully before the desert (and some of the stupid human tricks that can occur at such events after the drinks start flowing freely).
Say no to the peer pressure to do the things that you do not want to do or are not in you best interest regarding your health goals. Forget the peer pressure. As for the endless invitations to eat, eat, eat, and recognize that what you put in your mouth is your business and nobody else's.
Focus on the causes of the over eating and address them. It is well known that stress can break a diet plan, so focus on improving your quality of life by reducing stress and doing things you enjoy, which keep you away from the buffet line and from the fridge.
Make small goals that are obtainable. A good goal for some people may be to try and maintain their weight through the holiday season. Surround yourself with people that respect your choices not to over eat rather than shaming you or peer pressuring you. Recognize that once you make a series of these goals, bigger goals will seem attainable not insurmountable.
Do not allow a day off from the gym to turn into many days off from the gym. If you enjoy exercising this will only make you feel more depressed and lead to more overeating, and less muscle. A slower metabolism, all feeding into the negative results you are trying to avoid.
Training is also the outlet for you to reduce stress, reduce cortisol levels, which will also increase your serotonin levels, feeling of well being, and reduce the cravings for high caloric comfort foods.
To be successful at managing your weight during the holidays have a plan in place for those tempting moments when you may start a binge. This can be a drawer full of good lo calorie snacks or a plan to get out in the fresh air and go for a walk or exercise.
Great Gifts For The Weightlifting Enthusiast For The Holidays.
Since it is the holidays, what would this article be without talking about perfect holiday gifts?
Powertec Strength Roman Chair:
This Roman Chair is the bomb! It provides multiple variations, allowing you to lock in at the 45-degree angle to perform angle hyperextensions, or you can use the adjustable foot roller system and set the adjustable seat in the flat position to perform traditional hyperextensions as well as performing roman chair sit-ups.
Powertec Leverage Squat/Calf Machine:
The Leverage Squat machine is a safe way to duplicate the squat when working out alone because it utilizes a lever arm rather than the bar. You receive the benefit of the proper feel and natural resistance of a barbell with the control and safety of a machine.
The angle position eliminates much of the stress on the lower back. They also include a removable calf block for standing calf raises to be performed.
Powertec Strength VKR/Chin/Dip Unit:
This Chin/Dip Unit is a must for anyone wanting a compact piece of equipment to help build the back and chest.
VKR also locks your upper body in place when performing leg raises to develop the abdominals.
Powertec Two Tier Dumbbell Rack:
This rack is sleek, sturdy, and the bent tubing gives this rack a gym style look. The Strength Two Tier Dumbbell Rack can hold all styles of dumbbells and has built in corner stops at each end to prevent dumbbells from falling off the rack.
It also will please my girlfriend who wants to throw the dumbbells at me every time she stubs her toes walking through my workout room at the present time while they are lying on the floor.
Bodybuilding.com R-Tek Fleece Jacket:
These are new and I really want to have one. They provide the warmth, without the weight.
Full Zip Hooded Sweatshirt:
For keeping the muscles warm in a stylish way.
Sleeveless BB.com T-shirt:
Who can't use more of these? I can then throw out the ones stained with Pro Tan.
- Ronnie Coleman: The Cost Of Redemption. Includes 4 days of the champs whole body workouts.
- Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable Video. This DVD covers four different training sessions.
- Jay Cutler DVD: New, Improved & Beyond.
- Jay Cutler: Ripped To Shreds. Jay's latest DVD. Worth the view.
- Shawn Ray: The Final Countdown. Shawn Ray shows you his up close and personal journey including details on diet, training and contest preparation to become the very best he can be.
A welcome addition to any training video collection:
- The Anabolic Diet, a book by: Mauro Di Pasquale, M.D
Snacks & Others:
Javalution Presents - Burn Extreme:
JavaFit Burn Extreme is a high-energy, fat-burning gourmet coffee that helps you stay fit. Brew it like any other gourmet coffee and enjoy its robust aromas, body and flavor. JavaFit Burn will help boost your body's metabolism with every cup you drink. It's a delicious, full-bodied, hand-roasted, Latin American, gourmet Arabica coffee.
Sly's Instone High Protein Pudding:
Ready-to-eat high protein pudding. Lactose free, contains 20 grams of high quality protein, only 2 grams or less of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fat. It contains 3-5 times more protein per serving than other so-called high protein puddings and it tastes delicious! It also does not contain any sugar or sugar alcohols. The protein source is from lactose-free calcium caseinate (milk derived) and soy protein isolate.
Labrada's Lean Body Cookie Bars:
The New Lean Body Cookie bar will change your idea of what a protein bar can be! Enjoy the homemade goodness of a fresh-baked cookie while building muscle at the same time. Each bar contains 30 grams of protein, 0 trans-fats and low sugar - the perfect snack for training athletes and dieters alike.
Labrada's Lean Body Sweet & Salty Granola Bars:
The new all-natural Lean Body Sweet & Salty Granola Bar begins with real granola--- sweet and delicious, which is mixed with lightly salted, crunchy nuts and then frosted on one side with rich, creamy milk chocolate or yogurt.
SciFit Fat Free Beef Stix:
15 Grams Protein. Only 1 Gram of Carbs, Beef Raised without Anabolics or Hormones, No MSG!
Protos Foods Presents - Ostrim Jerkee:
The #1 Sports Nutrition Meat Snack For Low Fat Protein!
Supplements (partial list):
- Xyience NOX-CG3
- Xyience Xtest
- ErgoPharm 6-OXO
- Gaspari Nutrition 3rd Degree Burn
- Gaspari Nutrition IntraPro
- Gaspari Nutrition SizeOn
- VPX Zero Impact Bars
- HDT Pro Blend 55
- Instone Forza-T
- Instone Sesanol
- Legal Gear Cold Fusion Explosion
SPRI Xercise Ball Package With DVD And Pump:
Great gift to help a loved one strengthen and tone their abs, hips, and strengthen their lower back, improves flexibility and balance.
Bodybuilding.com Silver Strip Gym Bag:
This gym bag is a stylish way for holding all your gym equipment.
Progryp Pro Hooks:
These items are a must have as they are designed to supplement the grip during times where hand fatigue can keep you from getting that extra rep. Quicker and easier to use than straps and they do not dig into your wrist (which can result in carpal tunnel syndrome)
Scheik Padded Lifting Straps With Lock On Dowel:
Wrist support and lifting strap all in one. Schiek lifting straps are perfect for lat pulldowns, shrug; any movement, set or exercise requiring a secure grip.
The Tommy Kono Waistband:
This is a must have for people with lower back pain. The kono product is made from a special type of elastic material to help the body retain body heat. A warm muscle is more flexible and less likely to be injured. One size fits all (velcro adjustments).
The Power Up 4" Power Belt:
Made of suede and has a double pronged buckle. Great suport for heavy deadlifts, and squats.