Christmas time! A funny time for athletes, gym rats and noobs alike in regards to diet and exercise. In my experience there are three camps of thought from early December…
The Harcore Group
There’s the hardcore group sticking rigidly to their diet and exercise plan, eating only plain turkey breast and veg at the big family meal and completely forgoing nan’s “special ingredient” sausage rolls.
The Middle Campers
The middle road camp, fitting in the gym where possible and only eating the odd mince pie as a treat before properly enjoying the roast on Christmas day.
The Sod It Club
Then the ‘sod it, it’s Chrimbo’ group where December 1st means retiring the stringer vest in exchange for the reindeer jumper and proceeding to pile through everything that comes within arms reach of their mouth…
Where do I sit?
In all honesty I think I’m actually somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd group (hopefully nearer 2)… Competing athletes and hardcore nutrition junkies sneer all you like, I’m here to enjoy Christmas with the family and eat (almost) guilt free for a short while.
Having said that, during my December relaxation I will still be utilizing the opportunity to gain extra muscle and also applying some effort towards damage limitation.
Remember the old fashioned style of dirty bulking? Good, because for me that’s a little bit how I see this month. I’m going to hit the gym as hard as ever to ensure that all those naughty macros are used as best as they possibly can be by my body.
By smashing it in the gym I may, for example, be able to divert some of those mince pies away from fat storage into something a little more useful like muscle repair and recovery.
What’s the key?
A huge, huge, huge point to remember over the Christmas period is to “Jingle all the Whey” or basically, PROTEIN! No matter how much you let go of your diet, remember to keep your protein intake as high as you normally would. Not only will this help with repair and recovery while you are still smashing the gym but it also goes a long way towards satiety. I always find a protein shake or two before a treat helps me feel full and satisfied much earlier on. So replace that extra slice of Chrimbo cake for a Mince Pie flavoured Pure Whey Protein™ shake or two.
At the Christmas dinner you could apply the principles of ‘protein first’ and filling yourself up with meats before moving on to the naughty bits. A belly full of turkey is going to mean needing much fewer Yorkshire puddings to feel satisfied. Protein takes longer to digest than simple carbs too so by starting with this you will be slowing the absorption of the simple carbs you are likely to consume. The faster carbohydrates are digested and absorbed, the more quickly and the higher your blood sugar levels can rise after eating. Keeping your blood sugar levels lower by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates can help you better control your cravings and weight.
Further damage limitation can be the use of fat burners, raising our metabolism whilst also decreasing our appetite. This could be a great time to jump on some ‘CUTTING EDGE™‘ to help keep the munchies at bay and burn a few extra calories per hour.
I enjoy myself at Christmas, both in terms of spending the holiday season with family and friends but also in keeping up with my gym time. On the most part we’re expected to indulge and let ourselves go a little.
Enjoy! I’m off to combine a protein shake with a handful of the Roses someone brought to the office today.
About the Author
Anthony is a husband, a father to three children and the director of his own company. He initially struggled to find the time to train around his hectic lifestyle but soon realised that with a bit of dedication and planning he was able to get into a training routine and achieve ‘The Shift’ – that pivotal moment that takes you from dragging yourself to pushing yourself towards your goals. Follow Anthony’s journey @ReachForAnt