Don’t Bust Your Diet This Holiday Season!

thanksgiving-turkey-dinner

Here is a repost of an article I wrote last November. It’s that time of the year again for holiday foods, so beware!

It seems that I will continue to uphold my yearly tradition of making my incredible (and incredibly UNclean) fudge for the holidays, as well as my signature turkey stuffing. Since the holidays come only once a year, it seems reasonable to indulge a bit, right? Well, if you’re a fitness fanatic and you have competitions coming up like several of my friends do, you can’t exactly throw caution to the wind and consume whatever you want. However, you CAN still indulge in small amounts of rich foods which are not considered clean as long as your other foods are healthy and clean. This means that your abs don’t have to hibernate during the holidays!

There are a few tricks to minimize the amount of bad foods which you may be tempted to devour.  You can consume a small amount of lean protein right before you have a carb cheat.  This will slow down digestion so that the carbs aren’t stored as readily.  Another trick is to drink at least eight ounces of water before you indulge in a decadent treat.  This will help to fill you up so you consume less food afterward.  When you are aware that you will be at a function in which tempting foods will be around, make sure your meals beforehand are kept clean and that you you eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours to ensure that you won’t be ravenous come party time.

A newer tactic which can often work wonders for some people is to practice an intermittent fast the day before in which you consume a small number of calories, say 400-500, then go to town on turkey day, consuming your maintenance calories then. This seems to work better if you ramp up the week before with a series of intermittent fasts in which you consume your food (maintenance calories +10-20% on training days, then drop to -20% of maintenance on rest days) within a 4 to 8 hour window, then fasting the rest of the time. If you do this, crank up your protein intake so that it is at least 1 gram per pound of body weight. I personally love this diet approach and my body responds well to it, plus I can enjoy all the goodies on Thanksgiving without remorse.
turkey leg
There are food choices which are cleaner than others during the holidays. Though common holiday foods are rather calorie dense, here are a few food items which are lower in calories and fat:

  • Roast turkey breast
  • Green beans without butter
  • Mashed potatoes made with whipped butter and Greek yogurt instead of milk and regular butter
  • Pumpkin Pie

I know some of you are assuming that my cats join in with holiday feasts, but I always put them in my bedroom and lock the door. There are several reasons why I keep my felines away from the holiday table:

1. People food can often be hazardous for animals
2. My cats will run underfoot and probably trip people
3. My cats will suddenly forget the rule about not jumping onto tables and will create an unsanitary environment for guests
4. My cats will turn into pesky little beggars
Holiday-treats

Some of you may also be wondering what I am planning on cooking and eating, so here is my Thanksgiving menu:

  •  16-18 pound turkey
  • my secret stuffing recipe which has lots of goodies in it, but is relatively low in fat and calories compared to other exotic stuffing recipes
  • mashed potatoes made with light butter and sour cream
  • green bean casserole
  • my homemade fudge
  • whole cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  • wine
  • store-bought pumpkin pie

Obviously there are some items on my menu that fall outside of my “clean food guidelines”, but since the holidays only come once a year, I have no qualms about it.   This is the time during which we should count our blessings and spend quality time with the people we love without getting anxious about what we are eating.  However, this does not mean you have free license to go nuts on bad foods for the next month!  If you end up indulging in other foods, don’t beat yourself up.  Instead, enjoy the feast and resume healthy eating the next day. 

Happy holidays!

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Staying Lean Through The Holidays – REPOST

thanksgiving-turkey-dinner

Here is a repost of an article I wrote last November. It’s that time of the year again for holiday foods, so beware!

It seems that I will continue to uphold my yearly tradition of making my incredible (and incredibly UNclean) fudge for the holidays, as well as my signature turkey stuffing. Since the holidays come only once a year, it seems reasonable to indulge a bit, right? Well, if you’re a fitness fanatic and you have competitions coming up like several of my friends do, you can’t exactly throw caution to the wind and consume whatever you want. However, you CAN still indulge in small amounts of rich foods which are not considered clean as long as your other foods are healthy and clean. This means that your abs don’t have to hibernate during the holidays!

There are a few tricks to minimize the amount of bad foods which you may be tempted to devour.  You can consume a small amount of lean protein right before you have a carb cheat.  This will slow down digestion so that the carbs aren’t stored as readily.  Another trick is to drink at least eight ounces of water before you indulge in a decadent treat.  This will help to fill you up so you consume less food afterward.  When you are aware that you will be at a function in which tempting foods will be around, make sure your meals beforehand are kept clean and that you you eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours to ensure that you won’t be ravenous come party time.

A newer tactic which can often work wonders for some people is to practice an intermittent fast the day before in which you consume a small number of calories, say 400-500, then go to town on turkey day, consuming your maintenance calories then. This seems to work better if you ramp up the week before with a series of intermittent fasts in which you consume your food (maintenance calories +10-20% on training days, then drop to -20% of maintenance on rest days) within a 4 to 8 hour window, then fasting the rest of the time. If you do this, crank up your protein intake so that it is at least 1 gram per pound of body weight. I personally love this diet approach and my body responds well to it, plus I can enjoy all the goodies on Thanksgiving without remorse.
turkey leg
There are food choices which are cleaner than others during the holidays. Though common holiday foods are rather calorie dense, here are a few food items which are lower in calories and fat:

  • Roast turkey breast
  • Green beans without butter
  • Mashed potatoes made with whipped butter and Greek yogurt instead of milk and regular butter
  • Pumpkin Pie

I know some of you are assuming that my cats join in with holiday feasts, but I always put them in my bedroom and lock the door. There are several reasons why I keep my felines away from the holiday table:

1. People food can often be hazardous for animals
2. My cats will run underfoot and probably trip people
3. My cats will suddenly forget the rule about not jumping onto tables and will create an unsanitary environment for guests
4. My cats will turn into pesky little beggars
Holiday-treats

Some of you may also be wondering what I am planning on cooking and eating, so here is my Thanksgiving menu:

  •  16-18 pound turkey
  • my secret stuffing recipe which has lots of goodies in it, but is relatively low in fat and calories compared to other exotic stuffing recipes
  • mashed potatoes made with light butter and sour cream
  • green bean casserole
  • my homemade fudge
  • whole cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  • wine
  • store-bought pumpkin pie

Obviously there are some items on my menu that fall outside of my “clean food guidelines”, but since the holidays only come once a year, I have no qualms about it.   This is the time during which we should count our blessings and spend quality time with the people we love without getting anxious about what we are eating.  However, this does not mean you have free license to go nuts on bad foods for the next month!  If you end up indulging in other foods, don’t beat yourself up.  Instead, enjoy the feast and resume healthy eating the next day. 

Happy holidays!

How To Stay Lean During The Holidays

holidays-holiday-foods-full
It seems that I will continue to uphold my yearly tradition of making my incredible (and incredibly UNclean) fudge for the holidays, as well as my signature turkey stuffing. Since the holidays come only once a year, it seems reasonable to indulge a bit, right? Well, if you’re a fitness fanatic and you have competitions coming up like I do, you can’t exactly throw caution to the wind and consume whatever you want. However, you CAN still indulge in small amounts of rich foods which are not considered clean as long as your other foods are healthy and clean. This means that your abs don’t have to hibernate during the holidays!

There are a few tricks to minimize the amount of bad foods which you may be tempted to devour.  You can consume a small amount of lean protein right before you have a carb cheat.  This will slow down digestion so that the carbs aren’t stored as readily.  Another trick is to drink at least eight ounces of water before you indulge in a decadent treat.  This will help to fill you up so you consume less food afterward.  When you are aware that you will be at a function in which tempting foods will be around, make sure your meals beforehand are kept clean and that you you eat every 2-1/2 to 3 hours to ensure that you won’t be ravenous come party time.

A newer tactic which can often work wonders for some people is to practice an intermittent fast the day before in which you consume a small number of calories, say 400-500, then go to town on turkey day, consuming your maintenance calories then. This seems to work better if you ramp up the week before with a series of intermittent fasts in which you consume your food (maintenance calories +10-20% on training days, then drop to -20% of maintenance on rest days) within a 4 to 8 hour window, then fasting the rest of the time. If you do this, crank up your protein intake so that it is at least 1 gram per pound of body weight. I personally love this diet approach and my body responds well to it, plus I can enjoy all the goodies on Thanksgiving without remorse.

There are food choices which are cleaner than others during the holidays. Though common holiday foods are rather calorie dense, here are a few food items which are lower in calories and fat:

  • Roast turkey breast
  • Green beans without butter
  • Mashed potatoes made with whipped butter and Greek yogurt instead of milk and regular butter
  • Pumpkin Pie

I know some of you are assuming that my cats join in with holiday feasts, but I always put them in my bedroom and lock the door. There are several reasons why I keep my felines away from the holiday table:

1. People food can often be hazardous for animals
2. My cats will run underfoot and probably trip people
3. My cats will suddenly forget the rule about not jumping onto tables and will create an unsanitary environment for guests
4. My cats will turn into pesky little beggars
Holiday-treats

This Thanksgiving will be a bit different since I will wait until the Sunday following Thanksgiving to cook a feast. This is in honor of my friends who are competing at the NPC/IFBB Ferrigno Legacy this weekend. Some of you may also be wondering what I am planning on cooking and eating, so here is my Thanksgiving menu:

  •  20 pound turkey
  • my secret stuffing recipe which has lots of goodies in it but is relatively low in fat and calories compared to other exotic stuffing recipes
  • mashed potatoes made with light butter and sour cream
  • green bean casserole
  • my homemade fudge
  • whole cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  • wine
  • store-bought pumpkin pie

Obviously there are some items on my menu that fall outside of my “clean food guidelines”, but since the holidays only come once a year, I have no qualms about it.   This is the time during which we should count our blessings and spend quality time with the people we love without getting anxious about what we are eating.  However, this does not mean you have free license to go nuts on bad foods for the next month!  If you end up indulging in other foods, don’t beat yourself up.  Instead, enjoy the feast and resume healthy eating the next day. 

Happy holidays!

It All Adds Up

good-or-bad foods
When you add the label of “forbidden” to a food, it suddenly becomes quite irresistible, revealing the human tendency to become lured by temptation. Of course it doesn’t help that these so-called forbidden foods are full of sugar and other substances which trigger more cravings. You may be the type of person who occasionally nibbles on a food which is ordinarily on the do-not-eat list, or you may find yourself in a pattern in which you rationalize your dietary transgressions and cannot stop the behavior. If your indulgences are frequent, you have probably noticed the evidence accumulating around your waistline.

While competitors must follow rigid meal plans which discourage the consumption of any fat-laden or sugary treats, those of you who do not compete can follow a clean diet 90% with the occasional treat and suffer minimal consequences, However, individuals who do not follow rigid meal plans may be consuming nutrient-poor foods laden with saturated fat and sugar far more often than they realize. They may also be tricked into ordering a meal which seems to be clean, such as a chicken caesar salad, only to find out that the salad dressing alone can obliterate any possibility of consuming a healthy meal. The temptations continue when people are trying to keep up with busy schedules and ordering less than foods out of hunger and exhaustion. More temptations may also be lying in wait at home. Perhaps you have rationalized a nightly glass of wine or a Pop Tart as a treat for a busy day at work, but when this is practiced on a daily basis, it will surely trap you in a “one step forward, two steps back” pattern which will prevent you from achieving your fitness goals. Suddenly the clean and healthy diet is followed only about 40%, meals are random, and the risk of malnutrition also emerges as a result of erratic and unhealthy eating practices.

The key is to follow nutritional guidelines which will ensure that you get the nutrients and calories which your body requires. If it is too difficult to determine what it is that you need to consume on a daily basis for optimal nutrition, hire a nutrition coach to give you structure and consistency. You will still be able to enjoy the occasional treat, as long as you remember that moderation is the key. Another valuable habit to implement is the daily intake of a multivitamin, preferably one which is taken several times a day to optimize absorption. What I love about SWAT Fuel’s .40 Caliber Multivitamin is that it has high bioavailability of nutrients along with a three time per day dosing recommendation. This is my personal choice of multivitamin, and yes, I do take it three times daily. This formulation is very clean and doesn’t cause the intestinal upset that some multivitamins can cause. I can tell that I actually feel more energized when I take this particular multivitamin as opposed to other brands.

You can order .40 Caliber directly from the website: http://swatfuel.com/products.aspx