As Thanksgiving draws near, you may be wondering what this means for all the hard work and effort you’ve been putting in at the gym. How are you going to get through the holidays with your weight – and body fat level – in check? If you’ve been training hard, the last thing you want to do is undo months of hard work.
The good news is that you don’t have to. As long as you implement a few changes to your workout program now and during the holiday, you can keep yourself in top shape and enjoy the meal to come.
Here are five tips to help you get through Thanksgiving without weight gain.
Build In Some Room
Okay, so chances are, you are going to overeat just a little at Thanksgiving dinner. This is a given – even if you are eating healthy food. You’ll want to take in the holiday and fill your plate with all the great foods of the season.
To help offset any weight gain that does occur, why not prime yourself before the holiday begins?
Starting a week or two beforehand, cut about 50-100 calories off your daily intake. This is such a small reduction, so you’ll hardly even notice the change. But, it’ll add up and can give you an additional 700-1400 calories of room to eat that day and still end up where you are right now.
Think of this as doing a bit of damage control before the event actually happens. It’ll save you frantically trying to cut way back on your calorie intake after the holiday is over.
Change Your Goals
Another adjustment to your program to consider making is simply changing around your goals this season. If you are currently focusing on fat loss, you might instead devote your attention towards muscle building.
This way, you are already in a position where you want to be in a calorie surplus. Now, you simply need to focus on eating healthier alternatives to your Thanksgiving meal.
Try mashed sweet potatoes, prepared with a little coconut oil and low-sodium chicken broth rather than real mashed potatoes, prepare rice stuffing outside of the turkey, and for dessert, rather than going in for high calorie pumpkin pie, try making some pudding from KAGED MUSCLE KASEIN. It’s a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth and increase your daily protein intake.
With a few easy substitutions, there are a number of ways you can make your Thanksgiving meal far healthier and nutrient dense to support your muscle building efforts.
Do A Sprint Session Beforehand
While it’s understandable the day will be quite busy as you’re preparing the turkey and all the food to go with it, this doesn’t mean you should neglect exercise. This just means it’s all the more reason to get in a short, but very intense interval sprint session.
This will do three things.
Firstly, it helps put you in the healthy mindset. You may find you’re less likely to cheat on your diet when you’ve already done something good for your body that day.
Secondly, it helps to suppress your appetite. Most people will find that after intense exercise they don’t feel much like eating, so doing this before the meal could mean you take in fewer calories overall.
Finally, it’ll also helps to burn a few extra calories. You can easily torch 200 or so calories in that sprint session itself, but more importantly, continue to burn calories for hours after the workout is done. This provides extra assurance you’ll minimize weight gain during the meal.
Strength Train The Day Before
Another tip to consider when trying to keep your weight in check over the holidays is to do an intense day of weight lifting before the actual meal. This is going to do a few things as well.
When you perform intense strength training activity, you will be depleting muscle glycogen levels, which is the storage form of carbohydrate in the body. This then means when you later consume carbohydrates during the meal, they’ll move right into the muscle tissues, rather than going to stored body fat.
If you go into thanksgiving slightly depleted in your muscle glycogen levels, it positions you for the lowest amount of potential fat gain.
Second, intense strength training is also going to spike your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after the workout is over, so this too can help reduce your chances of gaining body fat.
When doing this session, you’ll want to focus on the most intense, compound exercises possible. Think squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, and shoulder presses. Doing a full body workout using a slightly higher rep range of 10-15 reps per set (which depletes more muscle glycogen) is your best bet.
Finally, about an hour before the dinner is set to take place, consider taking 10-20 minutes and doing a bit of meditation. This may seem like a strange idea to do before a meal, but it may just help give you a bit more self-control.
Studies show that meditation can help strengthen an area of the brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain that is strongly associated with impulse control. The stronger it is, the better you’ll be able to say no to that second helping you may not need or the slice of cheesecake being passed around.
So keep these tips in mind as you move through this Thanksgiving season. If you plan ahead a bit and are mindful of how you go about the process, you can enjoy the meal without setting back your progress.