Ahhh the Christmas feast! How people look forward to this day of love, compassion and EATING!
But what happens when you’ve worked hard all year to be in the best shape of your life? All those hours on the mat and in the gym, the tears, the blood, the lack of sleep, going that extra mile to be a better you than you were yesterday! How do you enjoy yourself for that day without going backwards away from your goals?
Well Mike is going to help you out with a few ideas and strategies that will help.
I’m going to be honest right off the bat here, this article is not for those who have fights coming up!
Sorry but if you have a fight or a competition coming up then your focus needs to be on that, not on how many Terrys Chocolate Oranges you can eat in one day. You made a commitment to your craft and you should be dedicated to perfecting that.
Also if you truly have aspirations to join the very elite at the top of your chosen sport, then you better think long and hard about what they are doing on Christmas day. Chances are they have gotten a training session in, stretched, done mobility work, and had a few good meals before they even think about cake and Turkey. If you want to be one of these guys, you better be working just as hard (if not harder than them).
However, for everyone else, I know you plan to do some serious eating on Christmas day!
Ok, so lets get a few things out of the way before we get to the juicy stuff (see what I did there…).
I do not advocate or endorse uncontrolled binge eating in any form. However I do use cheat meals and even days with certain clients. I know that there are a lot of coaches out there that say we must be 100% disciplined at all times and cheats are for the weak etc etc.
However, I say that people are human. Its one day for god sake (not two weeks of eating crap). If your plan has the flexibility to have some time off over Christmas, I say you should be able to have it. Now if you’re only a couple of weeks out from a fight or competition, you’re going to have to suck it up and stay on the plan.
Ok, so here are 5 strategies to help you minimise the damage that your inner fatty will do to you on Christmas day when you let it out of its cage.
1. Train. Working out drastically effects how your body handles the nutrients that you give it. It is more likely to use all the turkey to build muscle rather than your love handles if you have gotten a good workout before hand. Now I know that most reading this will not workout on Christmas day morning. However think about training twice on Monday and a really tough training session on Tuesday. Really try to push yourself these few days in the hope that your body will recover with all that extra food you’re going to be eating. Also everything opens again on boxing day till New Years Eve so you can easily still get a weeks training in. If you are one of those people who have a million kids or have a family bigger than the cast of Zulu that you need to see that week, get your arse out of bed and get some conditioning work in.
2. Have calories a little lower at the beginning of the week and consider fasting on Boxing Day. This will help balance out your energy consumption for the week and the fast will help you shift back into a fat burning state. If you are going to fast then make sure you take in some BCAAs every 2-3 hours to help prevent muscle breakdown and a solid meal of meat and veggies in the evening.
3. Consider using a specific supplement regime to help aid in reducing the damage. There are absolutely tons out there, but some of the best two that I have seen (both with backed up research and more importantly, results) are Tim Ferriss PAGG and TC strategy.
4. Have a low calorie, low carb morning then start the fun with Christmas dinner. Most people end up having dinner between 1 and 3. Use the time before to have a couple of low carb meals with some good protein and healthy fats. Think whole eggs for breakfast and a chicken breast and veggies a little later in the day.
5. Have some damn self control. Do just these two things and you will be fine. Only take Christmas day off your diet, stop eating when you are full. Don’t be an absolute pig and shovel everything down your neck even when you know you are full (we have all done it). Stop after every meal and wait 20 mins before you eat another thing. It takes 20 mins for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full. After these 20 mins I’m betting that you will more likely want to have a nap than to have another slice of cake.
Make sure that you also drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will help prevent some of the water retention and help your digestive system cope with the horror that you are about to put it through.
At the end of the day, nearly everyone takes a day off for Xmas. Following these tips will allow you to have at the very least, to have a little bit of leeway and create some damage control for your day of eating crap.
I also have to say that every person is different and you actually set yourself back even if you follow all of my amazing tips! Please talk to either your coach, a friend or family member that knows more than you before you decide that this day of super bulking is for you.
Merry Christmas and stay healthy,
Unorthodox Nutrition have been working with athletes worldwide, from local stars right the way through to UFC fighters, Premiership Footballers and World Champions to help them achieve their goals efficiently. For further information on Unorthodox Nutrition and their tailored plans, visit www.unorthodox-nutrition.com