Don’t sacrifice your muscle gains this holiday season. Follow these tips to keep your physique on track.
Goose or duck
Sweet potato pie
Chocolate cream pie
Eat your regular meals throughout the day. Don’t skip breakfast to leave room for the large meal at night. Sumo wrestlers do exactly that – eat one or two meals a day and go to sleep. I’m sure you have the visual of your uncles going to the couch to nap after stuffing themselves. Having your regular meals throughout the day won’t leave you starving when the feasts come, preventing you from overeating.
Have one hell of a workout an hour or so before. That way, even if you overeat, your body will store the excess calories as energy, not fat.
Choose wisely and make sure you have digestive enzymes at hand. I would also suggest some type of glucose disposal herb like fenugreek, which helps your body and insulin deal with the elevated blood sugar.
THE MACRO SPLIT
Split your dish into three sections. One third is protein, another third is vegetables, salads and greens, and the last third is what I call category-two vegetables, which are usually higher on the glycemic index like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams or rice. The chart above is what it would look like.
It’s recommended to stay away from sauces and pies. Sauces always have some kind of sugar, which makes everything harder to digest. The crust from the pies always contain gluten, unless specified otherwise. Gluten is also in most sauces and other desserts. Unless it was planned as a cheat, stay away from desserts and pies.
If you are the host, you can always treat your guests with healthier choices like organic turkey (raised without antibiotics), gluten-free pies, frozen or fresh vegetables and fruits. Ditch the traditional mashed white potatoes, which are known for being high in pesticides.
Two common barriers for people who want to exercise and get in shape are a lack of time and money needed for fitness.
Who has the time to go to the gym, or buy expensive equipment, or take long bike rides?
It takes no equipment to get a great workout and get in shape, and with one or two pieces of simple equipment, you can turn that great workout into a fantastic one, you magnificent beast, you.
The Pros and Cons of Bodyweight Exercises
Using just your bodyweight, you can do a large number of challenging exercises. I designed a workout that I do when I can’t make it to the gym, for example, and I can testify that it’s incredibly challenging.
Here are the outright benefits of using your own bodyweight as your exercise tool.
No gym fees or need to buy expensive equipment.
You can do the workout anywhere, anytime.
Most exercises involve many muscles working in coordination, resulting in great overall fitness and strength.
For people who are just starting with strength training, bodyweight is often more than enough to begin with. And it gives you a good foundation of strength you can build on later.
However, bodyweight exercises or workouts should be supplemented with gym workouts as well due to the following reasons:
After awhile (a couple months perhaps), they aren’t all that challenging. You’ll need to continue to build your strength by adding weights. You can do that with some simple equipment (see below).
If you don’t have at least one or two pieces of equipment — a chinup bar or a resistance band perhaps — some muscles don’t get worked out as much as others. That’s not a problem over the short term, but over the long term you’ll want to make sure you get a balance.
How to do Bodyweight Workouts
Do a bit of a warmup — jumping jacks, jump rope, or just jogging in place for a few minutes will get your heart rate going. Then do the exercises in order, for 30 seconds to two minutes (depending on what kind of shape you’re in), with as little rest in between as possible. If you’re new to exercise, feel free to rest fully between exercises, but if you’re in decent shape, doing them one after another is a great workout.
Pullups (palms facing away from you)
Pushups. As many as you can. Do modified pushups if you can’t do full pushups, with your knees on the floor. If those are still too hard, do wall pushups, leaning against the wall or a chair.
Jump squats. Basically you squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump up as high as you can, and repeat.
Bicycle crunches. I don’t normally recommend crunches, but these use a good combination of core muscles.
Hanging knee raises. Chinup bar required.
Chinups (palms facing toward you). Chinup bar required.
Or You can Create Your Own Bodyweight Workout
A few suggestions:
Choose a variety of exercises that work out all the parts of your body. Don’t do all variations of pushups, for example. You should be doing some pulling exercises (like pullups), some lower-body exercises, like lunges and squats, and others that work out all of your body, like burpees.
If you want a real challenge, mix cardio exercises (see below) with the strength exercises.
If you have some of the equipment listed below, definitely use them. Or buy one or two pieces of equipment … but there’s no need to rush out and buy a whole bunch of things. You can get a great workout without equipment, at least for awhile.
If you’re just starting out, take it easy and gradually build up. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t overdo it!
As you get stronger, gradually add weights. Dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls are some good ways to do that. It’ll take a couple months of bodyweight exercises, though, before you really need to move to weights.
Check the Youtube videos below to get some more ideas.
Browse below and check out easy yet nutrition-packed meals that can pretty much cover your calorie needs even with an intense session ahead of you.
The meals were designed with the density and digestibility in mind.
Super Healthy Breakfast Meals
Eggs With Avocado & Vegetables. This is a lower carbohydrate meal that is best consumed on mornings you are not exercising within 2-3 hours after breakfast (since high-protein and high-fat meals will take longer to digest and require more digestive energy to be shunted to your gut).
Seeds & Nuts + Fruit. This is a good breakfast to eat if you are in a hurry, and is also OK up to an hour before a workout, or as a post-workout meal. Simply eat 1-2 large handfuls of a raw nut or seed (the best are almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts or pumpkin seeds – and keep them in the freezer so they don’t go rancid) along with a piece of fresh raw fruit, such as a pomegranate, grapefruit or apple.
Sweet Potatoes or Yams with Sea Salt & Honey. This is a higher carbohydrate meal that should only be eaten prior to a big training day, big workout, race or if you’re “cycling carbs” on a higher carb intake day. Bake or boil 1-2 sweet potatoes or yams and consume with sea salt and 1-2 tablespoons local raw honey or organic maple syrup.
Green Smoothie. This recipe is far simpler (but less dense and fat-filled) than the Ketogenic Kale Shake. Blend 1/2-1 cup of spinach, 1-1.5 cups kale, 1/2-1 banana, a small handful almonds, 3-5 raw brazil nuts, and 1-2 tablespoons cacao or carob powder.
Power Lunch Recipes
Caesar Salad. This recipe will make 2 servings, so cut in half if it’s just for you – or be ready for soggy salad leftovers the next day. In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 egg yolks, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp Thai fish sauce, 2 cloves garlic, juice of one lemon, and Dijon mustard. If your stomach tolerates dairy, add several pinches of Parmigiano Reggiano (that’s my fancy word for Parmesan cheese) or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Kale Wraps. Into a large piece of kale (or swiss chard, bokchoy, or butter lettuce), wrap 4-6 ounces of grass-fed beef, sardines, pastured chicken or wild fish, 1/2-1 avocado, 1-2 handfuls sliced olives and 2-3 tablespoons diced tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, turmeric and fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme or oregano to taste, and if desired, you can add either a dollop of organic yogurt (if your stomach tolerates dairy) or homemade healthy mayo.
Hors D’ Ouevres
.This is also a quick meal that can be eaten while working (not recommended because stress and eating don’t mix well, but sometimes you just gotta do it). On a plate, arrange several rice crackers or flax seed crackers, 1/2-1 sliced avocado, 1/2-1 sliced tomato, 1-2 handfuls olives, and if your stomach tolerates dairy, 3-4 slices of a “hard” artisan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, asiago, and gruyere (preferably from Europe, to ensure higher likelihood of A2 cattle and less growth hormone).
Hearty Dinner Meals
Cobb Salad. Cobb salad is a good choice as a low carbohydrate meal, which can come in handy for non-afternoon or non-evening workout days. For this salad, use 2-3 chopped, hardboiled, pastured eggs, 1/2-1 avocado, 2-3 strips cooked and crumbled organic, pastured bacon, 1 small tomato, 1 scallion (green onion), 1/2 tablespoons diced almonds or chopped walnuts, 1/2 red onion, and romaine or butter leaf lettuce.
Scrambled Eggs. Simply scramble 2-3 organic pastured chicken or duck eggs in coconut oil or grass-fed butter, while steaming 4-5 chopped vegetables of choice on the side (such as spinach, kale, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes). Serve vegetables and 1/2-1 sliced avocado over scrambled eggs, sea salt and pepper to taste, and (optional) eat by wrapping everything in nori seaweed wrap and using the nori like a scoop. You can also wrap in kale, bok choy, swiss chard or butter lettuce.
Liver Pate. You can spread pate on anything and this is one quick dish that just might actually impress your friends if they A) like liver; or B) don’t know what pate is but know it sounds fancy. The recipe uses 1/2lb of liver, so will be enough for 2-3 meals – and leftovers can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. I get my liver locally or order it from US Wellness Meats. Slice the liver into 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick pieces and soak for 1-2 hours in milk (preferably organic, grass-fed milk). If you don’t have milk or don’t link milk, lemon juice is fine. Brown the liver slices in butter or ghee, cooking 3-4 minutes per side on low heat. At the same time, boil 1 egg. After liver is browned or while liver is browning, cook 1 diced onion for 5-10 minutes on same sautee pan.
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