Instead of thinking of the holidays as the bane of healthy living, come at it from a different perspective and you'll be able to harness the hidden power of the holidays to take your training to the next level.
The end of December is a dreaded time for the general health and fitness enthusiast who fears getting off track with training and nutrition when the holidays roll around and having it negatively affect their goals.
Strength athletes on the other hand look at the most wonderful time of the year as an opportunity to bust through plateaus left, right and centre.
If you're biting your nails thinking about the repercussions of holiday overeating, find some motivation here to help you reach new levels of strength and muscle size.
The Strongest You've Ever Been
The first benefit of strategic overeating during the holidays is dusting new personal lifting records like they were warm up sets! Ok, I exaggerate a bit, because if you are going for a P.R. it is never easy, but it is easy to see the coincidence of setting new P.R.s or having great training sessions following a night of big eats. Case in point: After eating a whole panzarotti the size of large pizza for dinner the other night I set a huge P.R. with a 600lb deadlift the following morning.
Powerlifters and strongman competitors capitalize on this all year round by packing in the calories the night before a competition. True, they sometimes are trying to put weight back on after cutting weight for weigh-ins, but nevertheless the combination of high sodium and high carbohydrates will bloat you with several pounds of water which will help to support your joints for extra strength.
Get Jacked, Not Fat
The other advantage of strategic overeating during the holidays is that you can use the caloric surplus to build you some new muscle, without much of it going to fat storage.
To maximize this effect you should follow a few basic guidelines:
- Although it's a given, you should be eating mostly unprocessed foods with high nutritional value year round and either carb cycling or eating moderate amounts of carbs most of the time. This will help to keep insulin sensitivity high and shuttle all the extra carbs you eat during the holidays into your muscles.
- Come up with a plan so that your holidays coincide with the beginning or end of a training cycle so that you are coming off of a deload or coming up to one after the holiday overeating is done.
Now here's the fun part if you are a true gym rat and fitness enthusiast. Go into the gym during the holidays and have some of the best training sessions of your life! (Make sure you know what hours your gym will be open, because it will probably open late and close early). If you want to add some more muscle push a lot of weight for a lot of volume and leave the gym with nothing left in the tank. With the extra calories and the planned deloads you have no fear of pushing yourself to overtraining.
That's it! I'm off to stuff my face with turkey dinner! Happy Holidays!
Please share this with your holiday fearing fitness enthusiast friends! Tell them to relax a little for crying out loud!