Luke’s Guide to Holiday Eating (Plus Workout)

guide to holiday eating

Around the holidays, especially thanksgiving, blogs and fitness blogs come out with articles giving all kinds of advice on how to stay on track with your training and diet around all the temptations of big family dinners.

Some blogs will give you healthy alternatives to cook for yourself and your family. Which I have to agree is pretty cool! Making healthy dishes that can actually be eaten and enjoyed by everyone is an awesome talent to have. This can work great if you’re the one hosting dinner… But if you aren’t and you’re going over to a family member’s house for dinner what goes on in the kitchen is out of your control. So option A isn’t always an option.

Others may give you a special diet to follow the week leading up to the event, cutting out carbs and increasing protein as if it’s peak week for a bodybuilding competition. This is cool in theory, but unless you actually have a competition on Saturday that’s a whole lot of work just to eat a little extra on Thursday.

Some sources will even tell you to either skip dinner completely or pack up your chicken and rice in Tupperware and eat a dry, bland meal while everyone else is eating, drinking, and being merry. For me, this never sounds like an option.

Here at Sweet Machine Fitness I also have a plan for eating during the holidays.

So here’s my holiday eating advice:

Forget about dieting for one day, have a good time and don’t restrict yourself too much!

Turkey and stuffing? Eat it. Turkey is a great lean protein source anyway-though I’d much rather have a fat steak 😉

Mashed potatoes and gravy? Definitely eat those. You could even make some sorghum gravy (recipe) and bring it along to make it a DHT boosting man meal.

Candied yams? I mean, we are trying to put on a little mass so hey, might as well.

Cranberry sauce? If you’re into that sort of thing.

Grandma’s world famous pumpkin pie??? Yeah go ahead and eat that too. Just remember one slice is sufficient. Learn the self control of a zen master.

Now, I might get some flack being a fitness blog and promoting what some may consider “unhealthy” holiday eating, but unless you eat something you’re allergic to or choke, splurging and taking in extra calories from food choices that bikini girls and bodybuilders typically don’t eat isn’t gonna kill you. Plus if you follow an intermittent fasting schedule like I do you can actually pound down a 3,000 calorie meal and it not have any negative effect on your physique whatsoever (learn more about intermittent fasting here).

If you’re not a faster and you’re still worried about indulging a little too much, just try and watch portion sizes. And if you’re really feeling like keeping it healthy passing up dessert is always on option too. If you do refuse dessert you may get a look or two but they’ll get over it. Staying on track and working towards goals is honorable! And at the same time if you do feel like taking this one moment to go all out and consume a bigger meal than usual than go for it! Tomorrow is always a new day and a new opportunity to get back on track and crush your physique goals.

My only change to the current plan is to have a really intense workout beforehand to put those extra holiday calories to work! I killed a moderately high rep full body workout and it felt great!

Aside from that, the holidays are a great time to unwind, relax, and enjoy some delicious food with your close family and friends. So enjoy it!

Just remember to leave your thanksgiving binge to just that Thursday. I know it’s easy to let one day of overeating lead into another but this is where the self control comes in. One day of overeating is fine and may actually do some of us good, but any more than that really isn’t necessary and can set you pretty far back if you aren’t careful. So tomorrow get back on your regular diet plan and things will be all good.

Some takeaways:

  • Eat big on thanksgiving but train hard first to put those extra calories to good use!
  • If you follow an intermittent fasting eating schedule you’ll be way ahead of the game and your holiday “binge” won’t really be a binge at all, it’ll just be a normal meal topped with a bit of pie and gravy.
  • If you do overdo it and eat too much, don’t fret, just get back on track! Tomorrow is a new day.
  • Leave Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving and don’t let your overeating carry over into your weekend.

Bonus: My full body Thanksgiving workout

I couldn’t suggest having a really intense pre-dinner workout without sharing the workout I did myself. I based this workout off of John Doe Bodybuilding’s SCT training, which combines principles of HIT training, static holds, and rest pause. It was my first time trying a routine like this, and I was pretty impressed! My whole body took a pretty good beating and I did a few more reps than I usually do per set, but it was a great change up from my norm. Looking forward to relaxing, recovering, and taking in a ton of calories to make these muscles grow!

  • Low Incline Dumbbell Bench press 2×8-10. I followed by a static hold at a lighter weight at the top of the movement for one minute.
  • Weighted Pull Ups 2×10-12. Followed up with a static hold at bodyweight at the top of the movement. Held for 33 seconds.
  • Side lateral raises. Hit in rest pause fashion.
  • Cable rows. One big set of 16 reps.
  • Bodyweight Dips. One big set of as many reps as possible. I hit 30 so my next goal is 50!
  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls. One giant set of 20 reps.
  • Overhead Rope Extensions. High reps in rest pause fashion.
  • Leg Extension. Hit in rest pause fashion as well.
  • Seated Leg Curls. Hit some reps in rest pause fashion, drop the weight a bit and do a static hold at the top of the movement for one minute!

Pretty killer workout I loved it!

So to all of my readers and from Rhianna and I, have a blessed Thanksgiving and a great day! And be sure to spread the holiday love and share this article with your friends. Train hard and eat hard (especially today)!!

-Luke

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