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    WEEK FIFTY-ONE :: How Do You Hold A Proper Diet Through The Holidays?

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    TOPIC: How Do You Hold A Proper Diet Through The Holidays?

    For the week of: Nov 17th - Nov 23th
    (Wednesday @ Midnight Is The Final Cut).

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    The holidays can be tough on your physique. When there is tons of candy, eggnog, and homemade pie right in your face, it’s hard to resist.

    How can someone follow a proper diet throughout the holidays?

    What are the foods you want to avoid? Describe in detail what foods would be good to have during the holidays? Why?

    What is the best way (if any) to use junk food as an advantage?

    BONUS QUESTION: Do you purposely bulk or cut during the holidays? Why or why not? What are the benefits to it?

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Don't discuss any other topic in this section. ONLY discuss the question above.

    The best response will get $75 in credit to use in our online store! The other good responses will be used in an article on the main Bodybuilding.com site, with the poster's forum name listed by it. Become famous!

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    my TOTW response

    TOPIC: How Do You Hold A Proper Diet Through The Holidays?
    Don't. Give yourself a break for once
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    :d
    Last edited by blackenedskies; 11-18-2005 at 04:06 PM.
    remember, youre unique. just like everyone else.

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    old school old fool perldog007's Avatar
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    Holiday diet

    The holidays can be tough on your physique. When there is tons of candy, eggnog, and homemade pie right in your face, it’s hard to resist.


    How can someone follow a proper diet throughout the holidays?


    Let's consider some diverse approaches. You have heard it a million times before, so once more probably won't result in your demise. Everybody is different. The three methods presented here should provide you with a starting point for your own unique strategy.

    We know that Bodybuilding.com writer Richard Baldwin is tough when it comes to his holiday diet. According to Diane his big holiday indulgence is a little cranberry sauce.(1) Approach one shall be designated the Richard Baldwin method.

    This is a hard man folks, and his results cannot be refuted. Looking at his pictures leaves no doubt. Richard Baldwin keeps his diet clean at all times and stays in great shape without cardio. His approach could be summed up as, "what holiday?". For body builders and others like Mr. Baldwin, a celebration is no reason to destroy the temple of their body.

    I can think of a million objections to the Richard Baldwin approach. I cannot argue with the results. Richard looks great and the discipline required for this cannot be isolated to diet. This kind of dedication has to carry over to other areas of life and sport.

    Tom Venuto's "Burn the fat, Feed the muscle" is one of my favorite diet books. Using his zig-zag approach your respondent lost forty pounds of fat and put on about ten pounds of muscle (1/2 inch gained on biceps flexed)in less than four months. The zig-zag approach pays some homage to our evolution and the circadian cycle.

    Humans have not had a steady supply of food for very long in our evolutionary history. In the sixties, when this writer was a lad and my parents were professional actors, I encountered all sorts of starving artists who often went without food. The situation in that cash strapped community probably hasn't changed much. In the great depression many did not get daily bread.


    The point of all this nostalgic rambling is to illustrate that a steady supply of food has not been the norm during human evolution. Our bodies evolved on feast or famine. We ate after a good harvest or hunt, and listened to growling bellies when times were tough. The zig-zag method of cycling high and low calories exploits this fact.

    By alternating high and low calorie days we prime the hormones to burn fat and feed muscle. Everyone who has been on a calorie restricted diet knows that wieght loss will be dramatic at first. For a short time you will feel energized and vital as the pounds drop off. Then you will hit a plateau as your metabolism lowers your burn rate. Some serious muscle can be lost this way. Fat loss slows after about fourteen days on this type of program.

    Conversely, anybody who has been on a serious post season binge hs seen the other side. You feel great and put on some muscle for about two weeks. The period of calorie restriction primed your anabolic pump to put out some serious hormones. When you overate you gave your body what it needed to make the hormones and the muscles. This effect was diminished after a short time and your body started to put on fat.

    By alternating between high and low calorie days you can take advantage of these hormonal cycles. Tom recommends staying low calorie for no more than three days. Most folks can diet for three days.

    Let's say your maintanence calorie level is 2800 calories per day. Granny puts on a mean feast and you want to have around 6000 calories on turkey day. 2200 calories per day three days before and three days after will keep you on the money. This method lets you stay lean while uncle Fred justs keeps on getting fatter.

    The "Burn the fat, Feed the Muscle" zig-zag method lets you turn holiday feasting into a vital part of your program. Zig-Zag can be used for bulking as well. A couple of low calorie days after three high calorie days keeps fat gain to a minimum. As long as your aggregate calories are above maintanence or below you will lose or gain accordingly.

    For most bodybuilders, the above methods will hold more appeal than the next method. Looking around the discussion boards, not everybody who comes to bodybuilding.com is looking to get into posing shape. Some of us are overweight and are first trying to get into passable shape. Those of us in that category might be looking at everything that can help.

    A very intersting article is Mike Mahler's interview with Ori Hofmekler. Ori's book was also a great read. Paying homage to evolution, circadian rythyms, romanticism, and the ideal of the warrior instinct, the "Warrior Diet" is fascinating as a concept. This book will challenge your core beliefs.

    The Warrior Diet is basically undereating during the day, and feasting at night. When underfeeding the body eliminates waste. Underfeeding stabilizes insulin and primes the hormones for protein efficinecy and maximal uptake. This is like doing a "zig-zag" mini cycle every day. Ori tells us that alternating high and low carb days can be a good idea. The book tells you what you can eat during the day, and gives you a good order for consuming various foods during the evening feast.

    The Warrior Diet seems custom made for getting through the holidays. Under this plan you fast or undereat during the day, do your workout in the evening, and then relax with a big meal. Perfect for the holidays. Before and after the days of meals with high carbs, you would go low carb.

    Many bodybuilders will not go with this plan, and Ori admits that he is not a body builder and doesn't think that it is the best plan for optimal mass. For those who are here to lose a significant amount of fat, it may be worth looking into. The plan is very flexible and gives you something most diets don't, freedom. If you like to read, the book is worth the price.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat. All three of these men are past the hormonal advantages of youth, and they all look great.

    What are the foods you want to avoid? Describe in detail what foods would be good to have during the holidays? Why?


    The fundamentals apply here as is usually the case. Unhealthy trans fats and highly refined carbs would be at the top of the list to avoid. This is where the holidays get us into trouble.

    Many otherwise wholesome foods are made deadly with traditional recipes. Our beloved sweet potatoes are smothered in melted marshmallows. Marshmallows are no longer made from the mallow plant, modern versions are pure sugar. Green beans, another body building staple, are great until you drown them in cream of mushroom soup concentrate and top them with french fried onions. Gravies thickened with a roux are a double whammy of fat and refined carbs. The desserts of the season tend to be laden with refined carbs in the form of sugar. Holiday candies should be limited. Alchoholic beverages are another temptation. Abstain if you cannot restrain.

    The above should be avoided because they will detract from your program. Some saturated fat and protein are nothing to run from. We need them to produce testosterone.

    The rule of thumb does not change for the holidays. Any whole foods, fresh salad, and foods without added fat or sugar should be the first choice.

    If you are getting into the kitchen you can exercise some control. Stuffing with whole wheat bread. Broth with the fat skimmed off can be thickened with corn starch or arrow root for gravy. Steamed vegetables can be colorful and healthy eye appeal on your platter. Websites for diabetics have some interesting low glycemic index recipes for the holidays.

    If not cooking, look for the foods closest to the natural state. No different from any other day. I would be looking for fowl or roast before a processed ham. Regular green beans, roasted potatoes, salad.

    Sticking to your basics as much as possible will minimize any damage. I am going for lots of turkey, skipping dressing and gravy, and looking for side dishes that havent been drowned in sugar and added fat. For egg nog, my post workout shakes will be 1% milk with egg nog flavored Muscle Milk.

    On the holidays themselves, I may have a small dessert if there is a low sugar version available. I will avoid the second slice with coffee after and the leftovers.
    If I am going somewhere to eat (inlaws) where fibrous carbs will be hard to find, I will have a big raw salad before I head over.

    By concentrating on whole foods and looking for complex and fibrous carbs the holidays can help instead of hurting. Turkey is not a bad food, it's the stuffing and the gravy that give you that Rosie O'Donnell look.

    Like any other time, you need your protein, complex and some simple carbs, and good fats. Nothing in this world is perfect. Make the whole natural foods your priority and the processed sweetened treats the exception.
    Last edited by perldog007; 11-18-2005 at 06:47 PM. Reason: extra word
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    old school old fool perldog007's Avatar
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    the rest of it...

    What is the best way (if any) to use junk food as an advantage?


    The occasional deep fried or sugary morsel can be used as a "cheat food". The physiological and psychological advantages are too well known to beat that horse again.

    The law of caloric balance always applies. If you do a good job on your cardio and control your intake, then a cheat food that does not completely undo your progress is called for.

    Let's say you do the lifecycle at the gym for cardio. Burn another 50 calories for forty workouts and that equals 2000 calories. Now you can have two 1000 calorie deserts and it won't make you gain any wieght. Since you added cardio these two deserts could have arguably been attributed to increasing your overall fitness. Hmmmm.

    BONUS QUESTION: Do you purposely bulk or cut during the holidays? Why or why not? What are the benefits to it?


    Tough one here. In the past I have always approached the holidays with the stated goal of maintaining weight or cutting. This has normally resulted in exceeding the average weight gain of eight to twelve pounds over the season.

    This year, I am going for at least five pounds of weight gain and challenging myself to keep it as clean as possible. If I managed to gain five pounds of muscle, without adding any fat, my waist measurement would stay the same or go down slightly and my arms would be about 1/4 inch bigger(2). There is an ambitious goal.

    In reality, a 2:1 ratio of losing fat to muscle or gaining muscle to fat is about the best the non-steroided athlete can hope for(3). Some up and down will be required, but it can be done.

    I think one benefit to bulking during the Holiday will be giving in to the human desire to seek pleasure. Taking advantage of the traditional abundance to put on some muscle is another. Besides, every diet special on television will talk about how to maintain your weight or lose weight during the holidays. Do you really want to follow the talking heads of the metrosexual culture?

    Ranger Rick says always drink upstream of the herd. Usefull advice on the trail of life as well.

    Thank you for reading, AMF! (Adieu Mon Frere)

    1. Cardio Myths and Facts by Babyboomers.

    2. Strength Coach Charles Poloquin cited by Mike Mahler in The Compound Solution Program for Puny Arms

    3. Get Ready To Grow Big Time by Bill Phillips, interview with TjorgBjorg Akerfledt in MM2K
    Last edited by perldog007; 11-19-2005 at 07:26 AM. Reason: early onset alzheimers, had to add vb tags
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    true intensity. blackenedskies's Avatar
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    nice PD!!! ill try and beat you in that one. doubtful however.


    KS
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    Eat in Moderation....Enjoy the Holiday meal b/c if you don't you will splurge later on.....and may take in more calories than if you just give yourself a break and enjoy the Thanksgiving Dinner......Just don't have seconds and don't take the leftovers home w/ you....even if you are offered.....and if the dinner is at your house .........give your guests.......the leftover...
    But most importantly enjoy the day and relax.
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    Smile Holiday Eating

    The holidays can be a great benefit to your dieting or it can destroy everything you have going for you. There is a fine line you must not cross if you want to keep in good conditioning during this time of the year. One key point to follow is understanding your body and metabolism. Some people can get away with eating what ever they want and not gain a pound and others look at a slice of pumpkin pie and gain 8lbs of fat, so understanding how your body is going to respond is part of the battle. The holidays can be another great time for gaining some quality muscle b/c of the turkey, ham, duck, sweet potatoes, etc. There are healthy options when looking at a table full of food, stick with lean cuts of meat, complex carbs, and healthy fats, if yo have dinner @ your house, cook with fat-free substitutions or whole grains and if you visit family, bring some healthy options with you. I'm not saying don't even think about eating bad once in a while, b/c we all do it time to time. I know for me the holidays @ work ( i work @ a hospital), so that means drug reps bringing in trays and tins full of candy and cookies, plus the christmas parties. So it is difficult to maintain sanity without giving in every once in a while. Another trick you can do is add an additional 10-15 min cardio /day and push your workouts extra hard when you can b/c around the holidays there are workout days when the gyms are closed, so that means hitting an extra bodypart/ day. It is how you eat most of the time, that determines the majority of your results. One can afford to eat a few extra snacks every now and then and be ok. The holidays are a time for celebrating with friends and family, so don't be to hard on your self but at the same time, don't go overboard with junk food. Good luck. Happy Holidays!!!
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    Thats why its always good to bulk through the winter okay your calories are higher and you got to try eat as clean as possible but you can eat unhealthy a few times just think to ourself its okay because when i go to the gym i am gonna train my ass off. If you feel slightly guilty do some cardio or sumat and dont worry about it because after winter you want to cut and go low on carbs high on protein which makes you feel crap so rememeber the hoiday time when you ate alomost what you want.

    ps make shure you take all your protein though
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    there is no offseason mivi320's Avatar
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    How Do You Hold A Proper Diet Through The Holidays?

    Intro

    The month of November represents the beginning of giving thanks and celebrating with your loved ones. The month of November also signifies the start of holiday parties, large feasts, and decadent desserts. During the months of November and December, scrumptious indulgences and large quantities of food become common in our lives - causing a dreadful dieter. However, it doesn't have to be this way for the dieter.

    How can someone follow a proper diet throughout the holidays?

    Consider the holiday dinners and high-fat goodies as cheating with a purpose. As bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, we workout regularly and follow strict diets. We generally live much more healthy and fit lifestyles than others. Therefore, we should use our healthy lifestyles to our advantage: an active and fit lifestyle enables you to indulge into your favorite holiday treats in moderation! Whether it be your mother's stuffing, your grandmother's mincemeat pie, or your aunt's sweet potato casserole, feel free to indulge a little. Besides, the holidays only come around once a year.

    However, the social nature of these large dinners and feasts can cause you to overeat, and conclusively overpower your will. So just remember, the key to following a proper diet throughout the holidays is to eat in moderation.

    If you happen to fail to abide by the principle of eating in moderation, don't worry. We exercise regularly, remember? Doing some extra cardiovascular activities around the holidays will beef up your metabolism (allowing you to burn more of what you eat), and keep you in check. Cardio doesn't have to be boring, either. Personally, I can't stand the treadmill. Cardiovascular activity can be fun, such as playing some flag football with the guys in the park, playing a pick up game of basketball, and even chasing the kids around! Cardio can be fun too, as long as it gets you moving and your heart rate going!

    What are the foods you want to avoid? Why?

    Again, everything can be eaten in moderation. However, foods that have been heavily processed and full of trans-fat and should be eaten in limited quanities - as they are generally not good for your overall health and your heart. These foods are typically high-glycemic and cause a rapid increase in insulin levels. High insulin levels can make you very hungry, which in turn will cause you to eat more. Therefore, these heavily processed and trans-fat laden foods should be eaten in limited amounts.

    Alcohol should be avoided also, as liquid calories can add up very fast, and don't provide the satiety of a meal or holiday treat. In addition to alcoholic beverages containing plenty of calories, they can also skew your perception of how much and what kind of foods you're indulging in.

    Describe in detail what foods would be good to have during the holidays? Why?

    Just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean that we should refrain from our typical "bodybuilding friendly foods" - natural, wholesome, nutrient foods should be eaten as well. Although the holidays offer delicious treats, they also offer nutritious foods. Sweet potatoes, vegetables, salads, turkey, rice, fruits, and whole wheat grains are just some of the many bodybuilding staples that the holidays have to offer. These foods are great to have during the holidays, as they will not cause any damage to your diet.

    Recipes

    If you happen to be preparing the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, usual high-fat and sugar coated goodies can be made healthy with the help of these recipes:

    Pumpkin Pie.

    Crust:
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    2 tbsp apple juice
    2 tbsp butter, melted

    Filling:
    2 cups canned pumpkin
    1 egg yolk
    2 large egg whites
    1/3 cup orange juice
    1/3 cup honey
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground ginger

    Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9" pie plate or tin with vegetable spray. In a medium bowl, mix together crumbs, juice and butter until moistened. Press mixture evenly into bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake 15 minutes, until golden. Cool. Place filling ingredients in a food processor (or use an electric mixer) and pulse a few times until just blended and smooth. Pour filling into cooled pie shell. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm, with or without a dollop of whipped cream.

    Stuffing with Cranberries

    Ingredients:

    4 cups whole wheat bread cubes
    1 cup chicken broth
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    1 cup celery, chopped
    1/4 cup parsley, chopped
    1 teaspoon dried tarragon
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 cup cranberries, chopped
    1 cup whole water chestnuts
    1 cup chopped apple

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine and cook the chopped celery and onion in the chicken broth until tender, in a large skillet. Remove from heat. Combine the bread cubes, chopped parsley, tarragon, paprika, nutmeg, chopped cranberries, water chestnuts and chopped apple, in a large bowl. Stir in the onion, celery and any remaining broth. Spray a two-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon the mixture into the dish. Cover the dist and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover the dish, and bake for 5-10 more minutes!

    What is the best way (if any) to use junk food as an advantage?

    Indulging in decadent holiday dishes will offer a physiological benefit, and ultimately provide you with satisfaction and satiety. Eating a strict diet for a long time causes you to forget what your favorite treats taste like. Eating the same foods over a long period of time also fails to provide you with satiety and satisfaction. Eating junk food and holiday treats will break up the monotony of a strict diet. Eating these foods can also cause you to train harder in the gym, and power your workouts more efficiently!

    Do you purposely bulk or cut during the holidays? Why or why not? What are the benefits to it?

    I purposely bulk during the holidays, so I can indulge a bit more than I would if I were cutting. When I bulk, I eat about 3,000-3,330 calories daily - so just imagine what my Thanksgiving dinner looks like! When I cut, I generally take in about 2,500 calories, which means I can't go all out if I were bulking.

    The benefits of bulking during the holidays is that the large amounts of food will promote more muscle growth, given you're training like an animal in the gym. My muscles always look much "fuller" after indulging at holiday dinners, which in turn motivates me to keep bulking!

    Conclusion

    Living a fit and healthy lifestyle means enjoying it with your family and loved ones. Enjoy every minute of the holidays, for they only happen once a year!

    Mike
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    Registered User musclebuilder91's Avatar
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    it can be hard sometimes but you can always eat good things that are good for you for example instead of eating candy and things eat some fruit or fill up on meat and you wont be temted to eat junk or juat fill up on anything thats good for like salad
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    there are no shortcuts sword chucks's Avatar
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    mivi you jerk i bet that recipe section gives you quite an edge lol

    wish I knew some recipes
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    Originally Posted by sword chucks
    mivi you jerk i bet that recipe section gives you quite an edge lol

    wish I knew some recipes
    haha, just make some up. you'll win before anyone gets the chance to try them.
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    How Do You Hold A Prodiet Through The Holidays?

    The holidays can be tough on your physique. When there is tons of candy, eggnog, and homemade pie right in your face, it’s hard to resist, but with a bit of self-control and also, calorie control, you can get through the holidays both enjoying yourself, and the tasty food, without loosing your physique. The importance of eating well can’t be stressed enough, it will affect you in everyway, from how hard you train in the gym, how productive you are during the day to the extent of your gains. So how do I ensure I keep up these benifets during the holiday period? Read on and find out the best ways.

    How can someone follow a proper diet throughout the holidays?

    Its hard, but it can be done. Here a few tips:

    Learn Self-control, like anything in life, moderation is good. On the other hand, overindulgence is another thing. When you have a big cake in front of you, I know the feeling, your stomach rumbles, you get the endorphin rush and you can see in your minds eye all these beautiful images – of course it isn’t easy to say no. If you can’t, there are two things you can do, let yourself completely go and eat the whole cake, or have a piece in moderation, and acknowledge that any more is just going to be counterproductive, both to your physique, and enjoyment.

    Avoiding guilt: I think out all the emotions the human body can experience, this one has to be one of the most influential in terms of what extent you are able to achieve your goals. A lot of people don’t realize this but guilt can be sole cause of the reason you ended up eating, eating and eating, as well as emotional upset. It is a powerful emotion. Don’t worry if you do indulge a little, a little won’t hurt anyone. Try and look at your guilt as irrational, and learn to talk back to that inner critic.


    What are the foods you want to avoid? Describe in detail what foods would be good to have during the holidays? Why?

    Its funny, actually if you wanted a perfect job, you would have to avoid most foods. But the reality is life doesn’t always put us in the perfect situations. Just accept it, and do what you can. Don’t be too strict, allow yourself to enjoy the food, but be conscious of these things:

    Saturated fats – These can be found in any products based on full-fat dairy like cheeses or cream in deserts, cakes and sauces, palm oil, in meats (turkey is lower in fat) and pastrys.

    Trans fats – These occur to several oils when deep fried. Steamed, or boiled foods are a healthier option than deep fried stuff.

    Sodium – Very hard to avoid, found in almost all cooked foods, and in high amounts. Avoid adding additional salt to salads etc.

    Also, consider:

    Try to eat foods in their most natural state – keep an eye on cooking methods, are they fried, steamed or baked? Is the food natural, unprocessed or raw? The more natural, the less destruction to nutrients, and generally, the less the calorie content.

    The size of the meal – big meals can tend to slow you down, as anyone who has eaten a big meal and then just felt like lazing around for the rest of the day or night.

    Calories – Foods high in fat and simple carbohydrates are the victims here. Anything deep fried, cakes and deserts and even some homemade dishes. Be sure to control portion sizes.

    Glyceamic Index – the rate at which the carbohydrates are digested. High foods are associated with rapid weight gain, unbalanced insulin levels, low energy and mental concentration. I know, after I eat a high G.I, that I can feel tired because it acts on your serotonin levels, which control your sleep/wake cycle. Here, try and combine fats/proteins with carbs, so eat your turkey or meat, with the side serve of a salad and whatever other carb choices are on offer.

    Talk to whoever is preparing the meals, or atleast ensure there is serves of food you want to eat available on the table. I’ll have a salad for vegetables, wholegrain bread for carbs and chicken or meat for protein. I know there is added salt, fat and sometimes too much carbs, but I know in the situation, atleast I’m making the effort and have the self-control to do this.


    What’s a well balance meal at Christmas dinner:

    A serve of protein – the main dish at the dinner table, traditionally turkey, maybe a meat like roast beef or veal.

    35-50 grams of protein

    A serve of vegetables – most times you will have a fiberous salad available, high in nutrition, phytochemicals and non-cooked, freshed vegetables.

    Less than 5 grams of carbs, fat is dependant on whether oil or dressing was used.

    A serve of carbodrates – Balance this part of your meal so you don’t overeat here. A good choice is wholemeal bread, a dish with baked potatoes or some pasta or rice.

    50-75 grams of complex carbodrates.

    Desert:

    Choice a low sugar/low fat variety if there is one. Maybe some fruit, If that’s not to your tasting, then allow yourself to indulge in a sweet treat. Worst choices are cheesecakes, which are packed with calories and unhealthy saturated fats.

    This meals ensures a healthy G.I, is balanced and nutritios. Feel good about what you’ve done.

    (CONTINUED...)
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    What is the best way (if any) to use junk food as an advantage?

    Hmmm, this is a good question. There is a popular thing called a “cheat day” that people use, even body builders. This is a day you basically let go of all food responsibility and allow yourself to indulge in whatever you fancy – no restrictions, no havingn to worry about your next meal or how many carbs or fats you are consuming. The theory behind this “cheat day” is that by shocking your body, it will respond by not storing all those excess calories as fat, but will instead, excuse the French, be Sh*t right out. The rules to the cheat day? There are none. Just enjoy yourself. A lot of people are turned off by the fact that they think they are putting all their hard work in calorie restriction to a halt by eating what they want, but this as I stated above, is infact quite the opposite. Using this approach, you are giving yourself as much as what you want, so cheating during the week won’t seem so enjoyable. It can used once a week as many people do, but I personally use it every 2nd week. It is convenient because if you have a day where its hard to eat properly, such as when going out to a function, you have the perfect excuse to avoid the stress of having to follow a diet when its near impossible. Enjoy this approach and soon you’ll probably be having a cheat day more often!


    Positives/Negatvies with other dieting approaches to calorie control on the holidays.

    There are many approaches that are available. Some are productive, some not so productive, others plain right stupid. Here are a look at a couple, looking into why they are or aren’t so good.

    “Warrior Approach” – This is where you eat little through the day, and allow yourself a large meal in the final sitting of the day. This means you can what you want during Christmas dinner without having to worry.

    Isn’t recommended for bodybuilding, but I wouldn’t recommend it for weight loss either:

    • Ignores your bodies need for acceptable portions of food at constant intervals during the day. Eating every 2-4 hours means you are maintaining high metabolism, keeping yourself full and away from snacks, fueling your muscles and get your nutrition in a more balanced way.
    • Your body digests food more effiencently in smaller servings. Many also believe that the body can only digest 25-30 grams of protein at each sitting, regardless of whether you consume 25 or 100 grams at a meal.
    • Eating during the day mean you are eating and burning your calories while you are active, whereas eating at night serves as counterproductive.
    • It ignores the body need for both carbohydrates and fats, without these you will feel tired and grumpy, and it will affect your gains.

    High/Low days approach – Here you switch from very low to very high calorie days. This is the better of these two approaches, and is more balanced. I don’t deny the hormonal advantages here, but, also consider:

    • The benifets towards eating an excessive amount of calories aren’t anywhere as bad as the negatives towards restricting total calories. Here, your body will go into semi-starvation mode, and remember that muscles aren’t the only thing protein is used for.
    • On a normal day you may be getting 220 grams of protein and 400 grams of carbs, on a high-calorie day (ie: Christmas day), twice the carbs and fat (cakes, chocolates etc), but it will be hard to stomach two times the protein.
    • This diet causes you to be less strict on your higher calorie days. It gives you an excuse to overindulge, and end up eating foods high in saturated fat, sodium and less freshly cooked protien. Doing this once a week is fine, but 3 days is excessive.
    • It becomes very monotonous having to continue changing the amount of calories you have by the smallest amounts.


    What are some better ideas to controlling calories on the holidays, and maintaining your physquie, while others are packing on the pounds?

    As stated above, a “cheat day” can serve as very productive. Not only are you eating what you are want, but getting something out of it too. You could have this cheat day Christmas day, then again nearly one week later on new years day. I’m a endo-mesomorph who easily gains weight, and stay at a healthy bodyweight on this approach. And atleast you don’t have to worry, “what will the in-laws think if I avoid there fresh apple pie?”, or “Everyones going to think I’m one of this overly strict fitness freaks”, you can just eat what you want.

    Another option is take one week off, not only from the dieting, but from everything including training, and anything related to body building. This is a great opportunity to “get away from it”, like a mini holiday. The freeing yourself away from the responsibilities can be refreshing, and you will preserve energy, refresh your motivation levels and when you get back into the gym you will be fresh, roaring and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.


    BONUS QUESTION: Do you purposely bulk or cut during the holidays? Why or why not? What are the benefits to it?

    Personally, I stay a lean 12-13 percent body most of the year and there really isn’t any bulking or cutting. I know this isn’t your traditional bodybuilding approach, but it works for me. I do, however put on maybe 1 or 2 kgs over the holiday period, but that’s nothing.

    Should I bulk or cut over the holidays? Firstly, in the States its winter, and a lot of people naturally prefer to cut during the summer months when there physique can be on show. Secondly, bulking during this period probably is smarter, because regardless of how much you try and balance the “holiday food”, you will probably still end up adding a couple of lbs. Why put yourself through the stress of cutting at a time your in an environment that is conductive to it?

    How do I get through holidays without gaining fat? I basically use all the advice I’ve provided in this article. Balance is the key. If there was only one advice I could give, it would be “balance”. Anything is good in moderation, a small piece of cake high in fat and sugar, or a deep-fried chicken wing with fat driping off of it won’t kill you. However, your mind CAN affect you – just don’t feel guilty, show some self-control and enjoy your holidays!!!
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    I'm Italian and my christmas dinners are intense. It is almost a competition who can eat the most. Always comparing who got the bigger piece of turkey, who eat the most prosciutto and salame. Everyone brings there own home made coldcuts, wines, cheeses, pepper ect.. When its christmas time they take out all the stops and its almost impossible not to eat everything.

    Luckly I live in Canada so thanksgiving and christmas are father apart then in the U.S. It gives me some time to recuporate. So for people in my situation I suggest you move to Canada and get a large break between christmas and thanksgiving.

    If you can't do that. I say enjoy the day and if we can't indulge every once in a while then what is the point?
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    How Can One Maintain Good Eating Habits Over The Holidays?

    There is a good side to following a good healthy diet all the time. However, A couple cheat meals never hurt anyone right? Well, that could be wrong to an extent, and it could be right. But only to an extent!

    Should one bulk or cut through the holiday season? Well, more often than not, people who try to cut or maintain throughout the holidays end up gaining weight in fat. If your trying to take in as much clean food in as possible, I would think you have a better chance of gaining quite a bit of muscle and minimal amounts of fat. If you’re trying to gain muscle, a lot more of the calories you take in will go towards that goal.

    There is a huge social aspect to the large dinner at grandmas. Try and keep this to a minimum. After all, while you talk you like to eat don’t you? Just don’t do it with your mouth full. The biggest factor in keeping it clean is moderation. It’s not like the holidays come every other weekend! You’re allowed to eat more than other parts of the year, just don’t throw yourself off the ship. That’s auntie Butch’s job!

    That brings me to my next point; you will have to learn how to say, “No thanks granny, I’m full.” And yes, you will probably have to beat her off with your turkey-laden fork. You may have to give her the cold shoulder. That’s a fact of your bodybuilding life. Get used to it.

    I hold high disregard for the feasting at night, and fasting/starving during the day crew. In my honest opinion that leads to holding over all the fat and unhealthy things you eat while you sleep. That means you don’t burn ANY of them of. So some get digested, and the other ones get transferred to the waistline wing of your body’s building. Try and eat throughout the day. Eating throughout the day will also lead to being nowhere near as hungry, thus you will not indulge quite as much.

    But how can one maintain healthy eating habits through out the holidays? How can you eat clean? There are a few options that we have:

    1.NOT Eating Healthy
    - Probably not your best choice. If you totally skimp out and say, “Screw it! I’m going to totally and completely enjoy myself!!!!” You’ll probably enjoy a formidable spare tire as well. There are better options out there.

    2.Eating TOTALLY Healthy and Cutting
    -Definitely an option, But is it the best one? There are loopholes in the system of eating at parties. Is this possible? Unless you’re very strong willed, probably not. This is a good ambition however, and you would have to pack your own food for these parties you will probably be in attendance of, or not eat at them at all.

    3.Eating Pretty Healthy, and Bulking
    -This is my personal choice, and in my opinion the best of the three. You can always deal with a little fat gain while bulking, and it’s always nice to have an extra-big protein and complex carb rich meal. There isn’t ever a short of these around holiday times!

    Those are our three main options, and the most common. But which one is right? How could you possibly eat healthy through these wretched times that are so full of good-tasting food? There are yet more list-enabled options:


    1.The “What’s a Holiday Party??” Loophole
    -You could just say “NO!” to anything and everything that poses a caloric threat. However, Where’s the fun in that? This is probably your healthiest option here. For you hardcore eaters with all the willpower and ability to fight back relatives with pies, this is your pick for sure.

    2.The “I Eat Wisely at Parties!” Loophole
    -Well, this is my favorite loophole in the holiday fat gain system. It is possible to do this with a little willpower. This can be applied to the cutting, maintaining, or the bulking holiday partygoer.

    Those are the two best options for any, and all, of the lifting-oriented person concerned with their weight. I personally like loophole #2. It tends to save me from some of the trials and tribulations of more than a few problems. But lets take a look at all the healthy, commonly eaten foods at holiday parties.

    What Are Some Healthy Foods, And What Should I Steer Clear Of?

    Good Stuff
    -TURKEY!!!!!!!!!! Roasted, It has 37 grams of protein for every 140 grams of meat. That’s a very good amount of protein, but it has 15-30 grams of fat in its worst cooked forms. But otherwise, it should be perfectly fine and pretty low fat. Fat, that’s what the holidays are all about! Turkey is good, try and get the leanest pieces you can find before someone else gets to them.
    -Mashed potatoes.1 gram of fat, and 37 complex carbohydrates per serving.
    -Any sort of stuffing is no big deal. 1 oz of stuffing has 6 grams fat, 6 grams carbohydrates, and 1-gram protein. Don’t consume too much, but your allowed.
    -Green beans, there are only 18 calories in 1/2 a cup. Unless it’s a casserole, Casserole bad! Grog no like casserole, they make grog fat!
    -Sweet potatoes. These are very healthy and very nutritious. You can’t go wrong here!
    -Pumpkin pies. As long as they aren’t made with too much sugar (ask the host/hostess) you should be good here.

    For the good stuff, try and hunt around the table for some form of bird (fowl). Fibrous and complex carbs are not always hard to find, just keep your eye out.

    STAY AWAY!!!!
    -Yellow corn. Starched out to the max. These contain 606 calories, 123 carbs (complex) and 12 grams protein. UNLESS YOU ARE A HARDGAINER you could only eat a spoonful I suppose, and get 45 carbs.
    -FRIED TURKEY…. the high fat. There are 13 grams fat in a bit about the size of your pinky. No good.
    -The Christmas ham. This is far too fatty to be worth it. Stick to your mashed potato and cottage cheese guns.
    -Alcohol of all kinds. No getting “crunk” this holiday season. You’ll probably indulge WAY too much with your impaired judgment anyway.
    -Try to eat anything you do eat in somewhat of moderation.

    You should do your best to ward off the delicious evil spirits known as refined/simple carbs. For the regular Joe, that means no desserts. You can have 1-2 cheat foods. Just remember, that’s extra cardio tallying up on your waistlines’ score sheet.

    What Junk Foods Can be Used to Our Advantage?
    Well, if you are an ectomorph its good to use all the ones high in protein and high quality carbs to your advantage. Its good to take a break from the normal diet every once in a while, you shock your body and it will not go into a state of starvation.

    Once this state of starvation comes into effect, your body takes most of the calories you give it and stores them as fat in case it needs them (your body thinks it may not get food for some time) and that’s not good for us bodybuilder/power lifters. Take a break every so often. Cheat meals are a beautiful thing. ONLY IN MODERATION. I am not suggesting you go off on random junk food binges. However, you’ll probably be a lot happier at granny’s holiday feast if you indulge than if you sit at the counter with your three cans of dry tuna and creatine.

    The one way to use this state of starvation is to calorie cycle. Also known as the famous “Calorie Zigzag.” The way this “zigzag” works, is you just cycle your calories. Eat clean for a few days, and then eat a lot for 1-2. By “a lot” I mean clean, or at least relatively clean foods.

    Try and stay away from extremely high carb foods, or a least stay away from simple-carbohydrate rich foods. These cause the famous insulin spike that can make you voraciously hungry. If you’re going to overeat, then you should overeat as little as possible right?

    All of the whole-grain, turkey, fruits, veggies, and lean(er) beef you can get your hands on are always good. We all know the bodybuilding-common foods, so lets try and stick to eating those!! You can definitely fill up quick on these, and that’s the best option to go with.

    Enjoying one or two of your favorite dishes that are only common around this festive time has a very large mental benefit. It also causes you to say “Dang, I ate all of that pie. I really have to train hard, and do some extra cardio to work it off!” And doing just that would give your training a benefit as well as your taste buds.




    Do you Purposely Cut or Bulk During The Holidays?
    Yes. My answer will always be yes. I have always done an extreme bulk over the holiday season. You end up eating healthier, with more protein and complex carb rich foods when you do this. Also, who doesn’t want some more mass and strength? You wont be showing off your abs for some time anyway, so pack on the lean pounds. Eat tons of turkey. Its not unhealthy, and we all want mass. So hop to it!

    One tradition I have is having turkey-eating contests. The only real competition is my uncle Dan. He’s in the marines, so he is a big mofo. He also has to watch his weight. And he is very muscular and hungry. We both decided on performing in these gluttonous contests, to help keep ourselves from eating fattier, or worse things. I have won once. Dang him, he’s huge. The tradition is has always been a favorite of mine though; I end up eating a lot of cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, and turkey. So I come up on top of the healthy and junk food Mountains. Well, not junk food, but good tasting slightly unhealthy food.

    Anyway. Personally speaking, I believe the best option is to go for bulking. CLEAN bulking. Well, not so clean…

    Good luck!! Stay healthy for the holidays!

    -Paul
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    "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." - Phil 4:13
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    It is simple to hold a proper diet through the holidays.

    Don't overeat.

    Stick to eating several smaller meals.

    Drink plenty of water, instead of calorie rich beverages.

    Eat only the healthy foods, and if you really need to, savor just a little of one your favorite deserts.

    Get rid of the junk food leftovers from your home ASAP; if you keep them around you will eat them.

    If you overeat on a particular Holiday, stop this behavior the next day.
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    mine is coming. Just finishing it up...
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    Please dont post anymore, my article will take 5 posts after this one.

    first word doc
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    Being Consistent Through the holidays – How to have a bodybuilder-friendly holiday season!

    Lets talk about eating. Eating is something all successful bodybuilders have to pay complete attention to. It’s an every day thing for us- bodybuilders don’t just “take a day off” of their diet! In general, you must know how much you are eating, and not eat too little or too much. But if you want to see maximum results in the shortest time period, you can’t miss a day.

    This might seem easy to talk about at first, but there are quite a few common obstacles that we face in getting all of our meals in, and being consistent with a healthy diet. Sometimes we are over somebody’s house, or out, and there is nothing to eat but junk food. If you are invited to dinner somewhere, it would be pretty rude not to eat. And who can resist being at a restaurant and eating a salad while everyone around you has all of this nice food? These are some times where you have to make a compromise with your diet.

    Another time when you will want to compromise your diet is the holiday season. Traditional holiday meals include all sorts of butter and oils for cooking and sweets. The thing is, though, that there is some good in all of these holiday foods. At the heart of your honey glazed yams, gravy smothered turkey and butter mashed potatoes you have some wholesome bodybuilding friendly foods. Just like when you are at a restaurant, you can get some grilled chicken rather than fried and bread-crusted, during the holidays you can have more “clean” variations to traditional foods.

    This article is going to go into how somebody can follow a proper diet throughout the holidays. First of all, in general bodybuilding, what is so important about consistency with your diet, and what type of things do you have to be consistent about? Then I will specifically talk about holiday times. I will discuss what foods you want to avoid and why to start. I will then go into what holiday foods you will want to have. Are there any ways you can justify having some junk food during the holidays? Sure there are! I will go into which ones are actually fair on your physique and which ones should not be used in your reasoning. Another common question is whether you should use the holiday times as “bulking” or “cutting” periods. I will give both sides to this argument and you can see which appeals to you more. You will be one step ahead of the game if you follow your diet through the holidays!

    Consistency - what does this buzz word mean to bodybuilders?

    You hear about being consistent a lot. And to anybody who says that “being consistent is the key to success” or anything along those lines, well, you couldn’t be more right if you said it was rainy on a rainy day. But being consistent can mean a lot of things. Some people are consistently bad at things. Some people consistently eat junk food every day. Bodybuilders consistently eat 6 to 10 solid meals a day, not neglecting any vegetables, important fatty acids or complex carbs, and pound down protein like there is no tomorrow.

    How can the holidays stop me from being consistent?

    There are a few ways in which the holidays introduce an inconsistency in your diet. The first is obvious- foods like turkey, squash, and yams aren’t every day foods for all of us. The second is that we might introduce our bodies to some junk food- cakes and cookies being on the top of the selection of junk food. The third is that since holiday foods can take so long to cook, and they fill you up so much, that you wont have room for your other 6 to 10 meals of the day, or if you do you will have to have 5 to 9 very small meals and that one big meal rather than 6 to 10 equally sized meals.

    Foods like turkey, squash and yams might not be bad, but they are still not every day grocery items for all of us. I like deli meats like turkey but real turkey is a whole new story. This type of consistency, eating exactly the same food every day, can get boring and is not necessary- as long as you consistently eat wholesome and nutritional foods. Which brings me to the next point.

    Foods like candied yams, gravy, chocolate cake and pumpkin bread are definitely not foods that consistently appear in a bodybuilder’s diet. Being consistent with limiting yourself to healthy foods is something that will help you to stay relatively lean all year round, even while bulking! Even though we sometimes put our physique goals ahead of our health, such as having a strange balance to our diets which really favors proteins rather than fruits and veggies, or using artificially flavored protein supplements, our health should still be in the back of our minds too. Having holiday foods full of bad fats and refined carbs can give you an unhealthy heart if you eat like that too often. That is why being consistent with healthy foods is key (both of those reasons).

    Taking 6 to 10 meals a day is definitely something we don’t think of during any holiday, at least not if we put ourselves in the shoes of a normal person. Our focus of most holidays is just on a few big meals. Well, we can’t have that. Having more meals encourages a positive nitrogen balance for muscle building and encourages the metabolism to stay active. It is also better to have many small meals than fewer big meals because it allows the body to process each meal more effectively. So, as always, its not just what we eat it is still important to pay attention to when we eat it.

    I will address all of the above problems in the next three sections of this article so that you can begin your holiday with no question marks in your eyes about the fact that your holiday is going to be another productive day that is pretty much consistent to your bodybuilding lifestyle.

    Heavy Hitting Holiday Junk Food – Holiday Foods that you Should Avoid!

    The first thing we think of during the holidays is the bad food. This is why I am going to address what foods are worst for you that might come up during the holidays first in this article.

    Refined Carbohydrates

    The first quality of these foods that you might find in common is REFINED CARBOHYDRATES. These sugars are the worst type of carbohydrate because as you sit around and eat them, they negatively effect your blood sugar, which causes fat gain. The large insulin response from sugar will basically cause quick energy storage, and since your muscles are not at work, they will not need the nutrients. Where will it go then? To stores of adipose tissue! We all have sugar during or after a workout but that is because the body’s glycogen levels are low and need to be rapidly replenished. So on your holiday meal, try to minimize sugar, just like you would during any other rest time.

    High fat content

    The fat content in many holiday foods is just ridiculously unheard of. Since if you are bodybuilding, you probably already try to eat a good amount of calories, the calories from holiday foods (which largely come in the form of dietary fat) will send you over the top. I bet if you look on your holiday food banquet you won’t find one item with less than 10 grams of fat per serving. Gravy and butter are all loaded with unhealthy fats and will probably be heaped over everything. The fast weight gain caused by this huge amount of calories will not be favorable to your body composition!
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    Specific Foods to Avoid

    So to give these dietary demons a name, let’s name some classic holiday foods which you should avoid at any cost. You will notice first that these are all of your favorite treats... but if you take a closer look they are all of the foods that contain high amounts of refined carbohydrate and fat.

    Candied Yams
    candied yams are centered around a pretty healthy food item, the sweet potato. However, when your grandmother mixes in loads of confectionary sugar, pecans, brown sugar and whip cream, you get a meal with a good amount of complex carbs, but the complex carb intake is grossly outweighed by the amount of sugar you will be taking in.

    Gravy
    Gravy is a real killer to us bodybuilders. Just adding a little is basically putting empty calories on your meal. Wouldn’t you rather put in more efficient calories into your body than some plain old fats?

    Cream Spinach
    Cream Spinach is a vegetable, but because it is combined large quantities of cream, it has a pretty undesirable nutrient content. You will find that it is pretty darn high in saturated fats.

    Mashed Potatoes
    Doesn’t it seem like the holidays just ruin potatoes for us all? I mean come on. First they deface yams. But now they don’t even leave us the white potato? Mashed potatoes kill you with their butter and cream content. The white potato is also not one of the most complex of the complex carbohydrates for those of you that didn’t know.

    Cranberry Sauce or other fruit spreads
    A lot of times these fruit flavored spreads are loaded with high fructose corn syrup. You don’t want to put too much of this in your body, as this sugar is known for its effect on storage of adipose tissue.

    Bread Pudding
    This stuff is ridiculous. It is bread pudding. Bread pudding somehow manages to have such an insanely high fat content compared to any other bread that you might try, and it is mostly saturated fats too. Pass up this one in the buffet line as well.

    Buttery vegetables
    Try to go for the salad rather than the cooked veggies today. To make them taste better, these vegetables are probably drenched in butter. Not a good choice of cooking medium, for bodybuilders anyway.

    Ice Cream, Cakes, Cookies
    Hey, just because I didn’t mention these yet doesn’t mean they are okay to eat! If you didn’t know, Ice Cream, Cakes and Cookies have this strange tendency to contain quite a bit of refined carbohydrates and dietary fat. I know they aren’t very common dessert foods but just in case the rare opportunity to taste some comes along, don’t bite!
    That was sarcasm by the way!

    Conclusion to this section

    I could name tons of foods that you shouldn’t eat during the holidays. I don’t want you to think about those too much though! Besides, it would not help you much to list all of those foods. It’s one of things where you are better off knowing what IS okay to eat rather than what isn’t. But like I said before, you are going to want to just limit refined carbs and fats. Refined carbs definitely have their place in our post-workout meals, and fats are also extremely important to creating a favorable body composition for us, but not these fats at this time.

    The next section will give you some relief- there are some foods that, if you eat, will not set you back- read on to find out some bodybuilder-friendly holiday foods.

    It’s What’s Inside that Counts – What Holiday Foods Have a Good Nutritional Value?

    Consistently taking in foods that are dense with healthy calories and low in unhealthy calories such as refined carbs and fats is something that you can do that will encourage a great physique. This is because the body will respond to healthy food by not adding to fat storage as much as it will add the new calories to build muscle. The calories that encourage a favorable body composition are highly complex carbs, carbs from natural fruits and vegetables, proteins from lean meat sources, and fats from nuts, eggs, some meats, and oils. These are the things you will want to be eating most of during the holidays as well as any other day.

    Why do we eat some nutrients?

    Complex carbohydrates are useful for refilling the body’s energy stores without spiking insulin and causing fat building. Of course, the calories in complex carbs can really add up, causing rapid weight gain, but in moderate amounts I believe that carbs are very anabolic and helpful for fueling workouts.

    Carbs from fruits can cause more of an insulin response, but they also come with tons of vitamins, and are natural foods. Carbs from vegetables are also very important because they, too, are accompanied by tons of vitamins, and they also provide the body with fiber for getting rid of unnecessary nutrients.

    Fats, even some saturated fats such as in eggs and some meats, are important for encouraging a positive anabolic hormone balance. Personally I have been eating 4 whole eggs a day and I really am noticing an improvement in mood and energy levels. I associate this with the fat in the egg yolk because I have been told that it really encourages testosterone production. And we all know the importance of fish oil and nuts for providing us with healthy fats- they are good for the skin and for muscle building.

    Proteins from lean meats (can you think of any that might come up on, say, Thanksgiving?) are really the key to building muscle. Simply put, protein is muscles, and muscles are proteins. Protein is the building block of muscles. You don’t want proteins from just any source though- when eating proteins, I usually try to use lean sources for most of it. Otherwise the protein source will come with tons of other calories that I might not want. Some red meats are okay though!

    Foods to go for

    Cranberry Sauce – if you can find yourself some cranberry sauce that is not artificially flavored, that will be a good thing to start off with. You can add some mandarin oranges too. Just make sure it is real fruit and not high fructose corn syrup!

    Salads – I would try to get some salad without dressing to eat along with the cranberry sauce. Since some of us neglect our vegetables, this is a great opportunity to get some extra vegetables in!

    Yams – If somebody in your family decides to throw some plain yams into the buffet table, consider yourself lucky! Yams are loaded with complex carbs, even though they somehow taste sweeter than regular potatoes. It’s a strange phenomenon, but I’m not going to complain! Definitely go for some yams, those complex carbs will be a big help in your bodybuilding efforts.

    Turkey – This is one white meat that we don’t see much from day to day, but when you look at the nutrition facts, it isn’t much different from chicken in terms of fat and protein content and protein quality. The tryptophan that is has in it is an amino acid that will help you get a good night’s sleep too, to further encourage muscle building! Just make sure if you indulge a bit more than some of us, don’t let yourself doze off, because that will definitely result in some unnecessary fat storage.

    Ham – if your family has a nice ham that isn’t processed, feel free to dig in! If it tastes too much like it is honey glazed, though, it probably is not a good idea to have it. Those sugars will hurt more than they help.

    Rolls – These aren’t the worst thing that you can eat. You can have some of these if your daily calorie limits allow it. If you are trying to gain weight, then take advantage of the quantity of rolls though- those carbs will really help you pack on the pounds! I am going to bring that up again later by the way.

    Nuts – you will probably have bowls of nuts around the dining room for snacking. Nuts are a great way to get in some quality fats. And using that nutcracker will build your forearm strength! Think I’m kidding?

    Cheese – Cheese is a good source of protein, just don’t go crazy with the buttery crackers, or have too much of very fancy cheeses, as those can contain much more fat than you could want.

    If there are any other foods that your family usually makes for the holidays that satisfies the qualities of foods that we should eat, then go ahead and have some! Just to refresh your memory, you are looking for foods that have only complex carbs, fats in the form of oils or nuts, and quality protein sources. Also, if there is a small amount of topping on everything that can’t be helped, such as a small amount of gravy dripping off of your turkey I would not worry too much over it. Just don’t use the whole gravy pitcher!
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    Treating the Holidays as Any Other Day – Make Sure to Remember Your Usual Meal Schedule!

    The third thing that we need to keep in mind during the holidays is not just limiting junk, but also has to do with remembering to get in your normal nutrients! Sometimes people can worry so much about not cheating on their diet that they even skip their protein shakes and oatmeal in preparation for the big meal.

    There are a few bad things about this. First, if you don’t keep your metabolism up by eating, your metabolism might slow down, leading to fat gain. Also, if you don’t eat all day before Turkey Day dinner, you will probably want to eat even more cheat foods! Also, while you are not eating, your body might run out of material to build muscle with. That is why we need to eat more often.

    Eating a solid 6 to 10 meals a day is something all bodybuilders should do for those reasons. Eating every two to three hours seems like the best way to do this. Some of us like to eat only whole foods, others will alternate- 3-5 whole food meals and 3-5 shakes. As long as you are getting a steady supply of food to your body, you should make solid gains!

    If you keep the amount of calories in each meal moderate, you can probably keep your holidays consistent with any other bodybuilding day.

    “Well, can’t I just burn it off later?” – Getting Around the Holiday Cheat Meal

    I bet as soon as you saw this article you were looking for ways to get around the old holiday cheat meal! “How can I get away with it?” Well, luckily for you, there are a few ways. Even though the best idea is to keep the diet pretty clean, you might still get in some unhealthy calories here and there. So there has to be a way to make up for a little deviation such as that, right? Well, here are some things that might work.

    In this section I am going to address how supplements and workouts will help you to make up for deviations in the diet caused by the holidays. Some supplements will limit fat storage, while there are others that just aren’t worth it. I will talk about that first. Next I will talk about how you can use exercise to “use” those calories in a more favorable way. In what ways can it help you to let your diet deviate a little bit on the holidays?

    Supplements

    There are a few supplements that block fat storage or limit it. There are two categories that I will address- the natural oil type and the calorie blocker type.

    Natural oils are the best way to handle the deviation in your diet, whether it be a huge cheat meal or a small amount of sauce here and there. Basic Essential Fatty Acids, which can come from fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds, if eaten around your holiday meal can help to limit fat storage. They will encourage muscle-building hormones instead of fat-storing hormones to be produced. I would recommend two supplements to choose from here- plain fish body oils or a mixed Essential Fatty Acid product.

    Fish Body Oils are strictly an Omega-3 fatty acid product. Look below to see a huge product listing of essential fatty acids from bodybuilding.com’s store!

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/efa.html

    Mixed EFA’s will have a similar benefit to fish body oils, and the variety of a product such as this might prove more beneficial than having fish oil alone.

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/efa.html

    Sesathin seems to be the king of natural oils, though. Sesathin has gotten great reviews from all over bodybuilding.com, and is called the creatine of fat loss products! Personally, I have dropped 20lbs of fat in 10 weeks on Sesathin, effectively halving the time that it took for me to complete a cutting phase. It’s fat loss capabilities are also complimented by a tendency to limit fat storage that could occur due to an unhealthy meal. Sometimes, if I had to have a cheat meal, I would “chase” it with a serving of Sesathin or two. You also should take 1-2g of fish oil to amplify the effect. This product targets a fat storage enzyme which will prevent your unhealthy food from causing a complete train wreck in your physique.

    I would recommend avantlabs Sesathin as they are the originators of the product. Check the link below for Sesathin:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/al/sesa.html

    And the following link will bring you to Sesathin tablets rather than a liquid, which might be more beneficial to some for convenience reasons:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/al/ses.html

    There are also some products known as “carb blockers” that prevent carbohydrates from being broken down into simple sugars and this means that they can not be stored as fat. “Carb Blockers” are said to be a low-carb dieter’s best friend because they allow a dieter to enjoy sugary foods without having negative effects from the high carb intake.

    There are some problem with carb blockers, though. First of all, how often do you really need a carb blocker? Second, the traditional carb blocker has a limit on the amount of carbs that it will have an effect on.

    How often do you really need a carb blocker? Some of these products can run you close to 20 dollars for a full month’s serving. However, why would you want a full month’s serving? Most of the time, if we eat carbs, it is to promote a strong and lean physique, so if we use a carb blocker, how can our carbohydrates be used to refill the body’s carb stores? Buying a full box of a supplement just to use it on one meal might seem silly to those of you on a tight budget.

    On top of that, I am skeptic of carb blockers because they claim to block a certain amount of carbohydrate. Well, first of all, where does the carbohydrate go if it is not used? It might be an uncomfortable experience! Also, you aren’t able to pick and choose what carbs you block, and which are let through. I would only use carb blockers if you are sure that you have the money for it.

    If you want to try them look at the link below. Below is a list of carb blockers sorted by lowest price!

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/carbblockper.htm

    Just as supplements can be the key to any effective bodybuilding program, they are very useful for those of us looking to prevent unfavorable changes in body composition resulting from deviations in your diet over the holidays. There are two types that you can look into- natural oils and carb blockers. You can try whichever you like, but make sure you pick something that allows you to get more bang for your bucks!
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    4/5 (only conclusion in last post)

    “Using” the calories more effectively by working out!

    We all know sitting around eating Turkey and pumpkin pie is a great thing to do to gain fat. Why is this? It’s because, when your muscles are not hungry for food, the food will instead get stored for later- as fat! Another way to make up for the cheat meal which might be pretty high in carbs, refined or complex, and fat, then, is to make the muscles hungry!

    There are two ideas that branch off from here. The first is that you should work out before the holiday meal, and the other is that it is just as good to work out the next morning, as you will “burn off” the calories. First I will go into the benefits of working out before your holiday meal, or before any meal for that matter. Then I will talk about how working out after a meal benefits you. Which is better- one? The other? Both? Neither? (It’s definitely not neither.) Also, I will talk about what type of working out is best for before, and which is best for after.

    When you work out, you do a few things to your body. First, you get a blood flow to the muscles like it ain’t no thang. Next, you cause a huge spike in metabolism, from your switching on and off from rest periods to intense training intervals. Finally, you deplete the muscles’ stored energy. In fact, one workout can have all of these effects simultaneously!

    Increasing blood flow to the muscles is what we call a “nutrient partitioning”. Basically, when you work out, and you get a pump, that means a good deal of blood is going to just a few muscle groups, transporting nutrients to restore it from being broken down. Why do we eat a post-workout meal? We eat a big post-workout meal to take advantage of the fact that right after a workout, when a muscle needs nutrients most, your food will go for muscle building mostly, and not to fat storage. This means that if you go to have some candied yams, those sugars will probably get sucked up into the muscles, depending on how long before the meal you work out that is. But even if you work out two to three hours before you eat, you will see that more of the food will go to fill up your muscles than to fat. However, I am taking about serious weight lifting workouts here. If you just use the treadmill for 30 minutes, the effect will definitely be nothing like the results that you get from weight lifting. You can also do high intensity interval cardio though, and get a similar effect. It should be something that makes you do short intervals of intense effort coupled with rest intervals.

    Working out will also increase your metabolism. While it burns calories in the gym, it also burns calories by jacking up your heart rate for quite a while- the increase in metabolism was shown to stick around for up to a full day in some studies! If you increase your metabolism, the numerous calories in your holiday meal won’t cause such rapid weight gain, because there will be less of an excess.

    If you work out hard enough that your muscles start to get that pump, they are also losing their stored carbohydrate to do work. In order to combat the effect that eating a meal with full carb stores in your body, you can work out to deplete your body’s stored carbohydrate. Then, your food will have to work to refill your body’s carbohydrate stores before it adds to fat storage.

    There are also several benefits to working out the day after a huge meal. You will probably have more energy to do heavy lifting. On the other hand, if you do a low intensity cardio workout, you can target a bit of fat to burn that off.

    We all know how any athlete will eat huge meals during their season or leading up to an event to keep energy levels high. During track season, buy stock in Spaghetti! But in all seriousness, I bet if you train a muscle group the day after Thanksgiving dinner, you will have such high energy levels. This is a great day to train a muscle group that you are trying to bring up to match the rest of you, because the extra energy will allow you to train at a heavier threshold than usual.

    On the other hand, if you try to hit the treadmill for low-intensity cardio the day after a huge meal, you will burn off some excess calories as well. Also, it is proven that low intensity cardio results in body fat burning a bit more than any other type of cardio. The only problem is that you can’t exactly choose what calories you burn. Well, this is what I say to that- if you can burn off some existing fat, then you make room in your body composition for fat, but the increased fat may not have a huge negative effect on your body composition, because you would have burned off some existing fat, making a net fat gain of zero!

    So type of workouts are best for sorting out the holiday meals in your body? Beforehand, I would recommend an intense workout, and the morning after, hit the treadmill. This will minimize the impact of your holiday cheat meal.

    Overall

    As you can see, there are a few ways to prevent fat gain from the holiday meal if you don’t deviate too much from your bodybuilding diet. If you combine the strategies of supplementation and exercise above, you should limit fat gain from the holiday cheat meals. As a matter of fact, you should be able to limit fat gain from most cheat meals using these strategies, provided that you don’t eat like that too often!

    How to Take Advantage of the Plentiful Calories – Bulking or Cutting During the Holidays?

    Since there are holidays year round, I do not think of the holiday season as a specific time to bulk or cut. I only do bulking when I feel I am lean enough, and I do cutting when that spare tire gets too big. During the up coming holiday season, I will see which I need to do most, and make the holidays adjust to my current goals. I will not adjust my goals to the time of year. In case you were wondering, it looks like I need to bulk! But last year, I was cutting through the holidays. So I have experience in both areas, and both cases worked out fine.

    That might not help much, but I am going to go into ways to make the holidays adjust to your goals. For bulking, you can use the increase in calories to put on some more quality weight! If you are cutting, you can use the plentiful calories to get your metabolism going once again as a result of hormonal processes which I will go into below.

    Making the Holidays work for bulking!

    Many people will say bulking is the best thing to do during the holidays. Why? They assume that more calories is better when bulking. Well, for most of us, bulking isn’t about eating as much as humanly possible- it is simply about getting in enough of a surplus of calories to put on weight slowly but surely, which effectively limits fat gain. If your goal is to bulk, I would use the holiday morning to get in a tough workout. Then I would go right to dinner and eat, letting my muscles sap up those carbohydrates and proteins. I would still limit myself, but I would be able to indulge a bit more than usual. I would then take a big anabolic nap, as all of that turkey makes you sleepy, and the nap would increase my recovery process!

    The next morning I would get in another heavy workout. Like I said before, the body will be more energized at this time, so you will be able to go heavier and stimulate more growth. I would probably not do legs after the holiday meal because I would feel lethargic doing higher rep ranges, but I would definitely do a medium sized muscle group the day after a big meal.

    Making the Holidays work for cutting!

    One sure way to think of having a holiday meal during a cutting phase is that it will help to “rev up your metabolism” and jump start the fat loss process. Well, when put that way, it isn’t entirely true, but the idea definitely has some merit. During a cutting phase, when calories are below maintenance level, a hormone called leptin can drop to lower levels than usual. Leptin is something you may have heard of, as it is considered the master hormone behind body composition changes. When leptin drops too low, you can’t lose fat anymore! That is why people’s fat loss progress stalls sometimes.

    What I would do to make the Holidays benefit your cutting phase is that I would work out hard all week and eat a little bit less leading up to the big meal. On the holiday itself though, I would indulge a bit and call this a “carb up” or a reefed. This will serve to bring leptin up to a favorable level, without causing much fat gain. Since the holidays are spread apart fairly well, this technique would work great for a long-term cutting phase.

    The Verdict- Bulk or Cut?

    Again, it is up to you. In both cases, you can take advantage of the plentiful calories either way. Bulk if you need to, or cut if you need to. What you need to do is something that you can decide for yourself. Using the techniques above, I am sure it will go well and your bulking or cutting phase will not be hurt by the holiday meal.
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    5/5... last bit

    Conclusion

    This article went into how a bodybuilder can keep a proper, bodybuilding-friendly diet through the holidays. By using the above techniques, you can keep yourself a step ahead of the game, because if you let yourself go during the holidays you would be behind! First I brought up the importance of consistency as a general idea to bodybuilding. I then related that to the holidays. How do the holidays cause inconsistencies in your diet? I answered that, and gave solutions to those problems as well. You should now know what holiday foods you should have, and what you should avoid. Also, don’t forget to keep a regular meal schedule on the holiday.

    You might want to compromise your diet during the holiday season, but if you make a compromise that hurts you then, there is no limit to what compromises you might go on to make later! You should try to take the regular bodybuilding foods such as turkey and yams, which usually appear during the holidays, and use them to your advantage.

    The strategies mentioned above don’t just relate to the holidays though. You can use the above strategies in any situation that could hamper your bodybuilding progress due to a change in your diet. You might need the above techniques while you are eating over somebody’s house, eating out, or at a time when you don’t have much to eat besides junk food. You might want to use the above techniques to limit the impact that strange cheat meals have on your physique. I recommend them!

    Eating is something that all successful bodybuilders have to pay complete attention to. Eating to encourage a strong bodybuilding physique is an every day thing- bodybuilders don’t just “take a day off” of their diet! In general, you must know how much you are eating, and not eat too little or too much. But, because you should want to see the most results in the shortest time period and put yourself ahead of the game, you can’t take a day off of putting effort into your bodybuilding lifestyle.
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    HOW TO HOLD A PROPER DIET THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

    PART 1

    I don't, I just ran 7 miles on Thanksgiving morning. Problem solved.

    Do I win??
    Live Laugh Love,
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    The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10) The Bishop is on a distinguished road. (+10)
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    It looks like it's the season to give this thread a nice bump to the top...
    Link to my current home gym setup: https://imgur.com/a/bn09OR9
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