Your Guide to Having a Guilt Free and Enjoyable Thanksgiving!
Before I get into the meat of the discussion (pun intended), let me explain a bit more on how your body works.
Calories In Vs Calories out does matter, and if you consistently have more calories than you burn (aka chronic overeating); well your body holds on to more fat.
You probably have this figured out already.
Here is something you probably didn't realize though. Chronic dieting (IE under eating/restricting calories over an extended period) and too much exhaustive exercise (long-duration cardio) KEEPS you fat.
That’s why normal “diets” stall and ultimately fail. We go from states of overeating to states of damn near starving. Your body freaks out and holds onto its stored body fat through a series of hormonal checks.
One of the big hormones involved is Leptin. It is considered one of the most important hormones in body fat regulation. Now follow me here. Leptin is nice and high when we eat a lot and when we carry a lot of body fat.
Interestingly, when Leptin is high your body has no problem allowing fat loss to occur. Understand though, that the body does not just let this happen because Leptin is high. There must be a reason for the body to give up the body fat.
That is where a caloric deficit comes in. That means we need to consume less calories then we burn. Eat less and move more which means diet and exercise, in moderation and strategically administered.
Uh, no. You see that is where the problem comes in. When calories are restricted Leptin levels begin to fall. When Leptin levels are low the body will bring all fat loss to a halt.
Great, now what?
It seems we have no choice but to eat more to get Leptin levels up. But if we eat too much we get fat…..
See the Problem?
But there is good news- We can use this information to our advantage. We can take what we know about Leptin and make it work FOR us instead of against us. And the Holidays are a great time to use this strategy.
So How do we do this?
Simple: Strategic cheating coupled with specialized workouts.
To be clear, a “cheat” or "splurge" is a predetermined period of high calories (aka Thanksgiving). The best cheat for our purpose is high in carbs, moderate protein and low fat. But basically anything will work so long as your carbs are high.
I know...high carbs....what is this heresy????
To be clear, the Goal is not to Stuff Yourself, but at the same time you don't need to be incredibly limiting in what you eat either. To make this truly effective, you should plan a minimum of 1 of these Splurge meals each week even if there is not a holiday party planned.
So here is the plan...
During most of the week, you want o keep calories "low" using a well designed meal plan on “normal” days, but then going much higher on “cheat” days. By keeping calories low, we will be creating a caloric deficit so your body must turn to body fat for fuel.
BUT you also need to incorporate resistance training (specialized workouts) to maintain and even increase your metabolic burn, which by the way our Boot Camp does just that!!
This is backed by research that shows even when calories are dropped to RIDICULOUSLY low levels, lean body mass and metabolism are maintained and even increased – so long as there is resistance exercise as part of the program.
OK, so far so good? You should plan out 3-4 workout sessions per week, avoiding the urge to do too much (as you will need to move your caloric requirements up to accommodate the additional load on your body).
But remember what I said about Leptin levels when you diet? They drop. And what happens when they drop? Fat loss stops.
OK here is the good part, because this is where those awesome cheat meals like Thanksgiving come in. You will use your Thanksgiving Feast to up-regulate Leptin levels. You see your body produces Leptin when calories are high, and it does it fast too. So, that means that Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings will get Leptin pumping again and get you ready to burn fat once again. Also, if you are realistic about your portions, you need not worry about fat spill over either.
To be a bit more specific, Leptin levels are influenced by 2 main things: Caloric intake and muscle glycogen levels. Glycogen is the stored muscle sugar (carb), and is in general a good thing. When dieting and working out glycogen levels will fall as we exercise and the sugar is used to exercise.
You can think of your muscles like sponges. When you workout they get rung out. And that is just fine as it forces your body to use fat for fuel. But to get Leptin levels up we should refill these glycogen tanks.
Again, this is where your Turkey Day Feast comes in. So let’s put it all together.
When we diet, calories and glycogen drop and thus so to do Leptin levels. Then fat loss comes to a screeching halt. OK, let’s fix that with your Thanksgiving Meal. You will want to get your work in as close to your meal as possible, but anytime within 6-12 hours will do the trick quite nicely (now you know what you need to do on Friday Morning!!). Leptin levels rise, and now you are in a perfect position to burn fat again.
So there we have it - a simple and effective solution. But we are not done. Let’s super charge it.
First, let’s really get you primed for the big meal. To do this we are going to perform a “✊ depletion workout ✊" before your meal.
Remember that muscles are like sponges? Well with the depletion workout we will ring them out. Getting the glycogen levels as low as possible. This does a few things, but the most important thing is now those muscle sponges will soak up your cheat calories (carbs specifically) like nobody’s business. The likelihood of fat spillover has just been obliterated. (That is also why it is next to impossible to overdo a cheat. Don’t go nuts, but enjoy.)
Now your glycogen levels are full, you have temporarily spiked your calories and leptin levels are now flying high. That means your fat burning potential is VERY high.
Now it is time to fire up your metabolic furnace with the “🔥 Ignition workout 🔥" . This happens the day after the cheat. Because your leptin levels will be at their highest we need to take advantage of that and create a massive caloric deficit via getting back to the “normal” phase of our diet and attack the workout.
You should see a very simple pattern emerging:
You earn that cheat meal and then use the calories to incinerate your body fat.
So here is what an OPTIMAL Holiday Belly Burn week with Thursday's big feast (aka splurge/cheat) would look like.
Monday: Normal diet + workout
Tuesday: Normal diet
Wednesday: Normal diet + workout
Thursday: Normal diet until holiday meal + “✊ depletion workout ✊" prior to cheat
Friday: Normal diet + “🔥 Ignition workout 🔥"
Saturday: Normal diet
Sunday: Normal diet + workout
Also, optimally the depletion workout would be as close to the cheat as possible. Now this might not always work out (no pun intended) exactly like above, but the basic rule of thumb is:
EARN YOUR CHEAT, BURN YOUR CHEAT.
Don’t freak out if you can’t do a depletion workout at the studio. You’ll still be just fine. The depletion workout does not need to be anything special. Remember the muscle are like a sponge. Just wring out the last remaining bit of glycogen with this little burner:
Basic “✊ depletion workout ✊"
10 Squats – 10 Push Ups – 10 Sit Ups
20 Squats – 20 Push Ups – 20 Sit Ups
30 Squats – 30 Push Ups – 30 Sit Ups
20 Squats – 20 Push Ups – 20 Sit Ups
10 Squats – 10 Push Ups – 10 Sit Ups
These are the Basics. Stick to the “normal” diet on most days, cheat on specific days and workout with us 3-4 x per week. That’s it.
Email me with any questions. And don't forget about our Holiday Belly Burn where you can train through the rest of 2017 for one low price and earn a 50% discount on January.