Preparing your body for the big day
No not your wedding day you silly people, Thanksgiving! and any other type of gorging feasts in which you may take part. You may be thinking, “What could I possibly need to prepare my body for in order to eat?” Well you don’t really need to do anything if you are not worried about packing on those holiday pounds.
Holiday parties and feasting can (and do) increase the amount of calories you consume in one day and it generally increases them by a large amount. What’s worse is that the increase in calories usually comes from more fats and carbohydrates (which do more damage) than it does protein sources. Why is that? Well typical Thanksgiving food consists of some turkey (maybe some ham) and then you have mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes/squash, rice, stuffing, cranberry sauce and don’t forget the rolls! Then there is dessert which is usually a smörgåsbord or pies, cakes and desserts all of which are high in saturated fats and even higher in carbohydrates. So what is a person to do? Pass on all of the delicious culinary masterpieces friends and family made for the occasion? Relegate yourself to vegetable and only vegetable with a sliver of turkey? Pass on the exquisitely tempting dessert? All of the aforementioned options sound terrible and not really like much of an option to me and I won’t do it. I will do several of the following tips and I suggest you take a read and see which of the options just might work for you.
Curb Eating Leading Up to the Feast?
This is probably the first thought someone has when they are going into the holidays and don’t want to pack on pounds. This, however, is a huge mistake but not for the reasons you might be thinking. Not eating lots during the day will not cause your metabolism to crash and burn (by very much) as many proponents would like to tell you. Doing this will make you extremely hungry and look to eat anything in site when you do finally allow yourself to eat, at this point you will crave the high fat and calorie dense foods to catch up and then go over. Instead, eat as you normally would, or you can downsize your meals a bit. Doing this will allow you to control your portion size and make better choices about what you eat instead of being ravenous and ready to eat everything. Anything you eat during the day should be foods that are low on the Glycemic index, think whole grains, leafy greens and things high in fiber. Trust me; you will be less likely to overeat if you are still processing the nutrients from your meal three-five hours prior.
Workout Day of? Check!
The major culprit in the battle against gaining weight in the form of fat is most often a case carbohydrates and their use in the human body. Empty glycogen stores=carbs being used as fuel (essentially) full glycogen stores=fat gain (essentially) so it seems pretty simple that we would want to empty our glycogen stores. However, this does not mean we simply do any old workout where we lift things up and put them down. We need to truly kick some butt in order to empty the muscles of their fuel source. So what is the best sort of workout to deplete those stores? It is called conditioning my friend and the premise is simply this: put your body through a series of high intensity movements with as little rest time as possible and with as much weight (resistance) as possible without breaking form or making the movement a slow one. Pick two or three exercises below, perform for 30-45 seconds each and repeat for 10-20 minutes Notice how I did not include a rest time? That means you won’t be resting, more like recovering until you have caught your breath and then continuing where you left off, even better do some abs while you are catching your breath.
Plyo (Jump) Lunges
Workout Before Breakfast?
Uhm, no. Why not? What about the whole “fasted state cardio” thing? Yeah that’s cool, but trust me you won’t be as effective as if you actually had something in your system. Instead have your breakfast, some eggs with whole wheat toast or yogurt, nothing too heavy. Remember we want to eat today but things lower on the Glycemic Index. An hour and a half or two after you have eaten go kick the aforementioned workout’s butt and you will do great. Have some a post-workout protein shake but again, make sure it isn’t too carbohydrate heavy.
Do these things and you can feel pretty good about yourself at the Thanksgiving feast, this does not mean to go wild. Still have some control over portion size, making a decision to not have a full size of each dessert there and drinking all eggnog in sight. I will see you all after the holiday!