Turkey Day is upon us and if you’re as excited as I am, then you’re already hungry!
I cannot wait to demolish everything my grandma puts out on that table… Biscuits with homemade honey butter, turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie, creamy mashed potatoes…. Wow, a lot of carbs!
If this year is anything like last year, I will be falling asleep at the table from a serious carb comma!
As awesome as this all sounds, my first worry is always the results I’ve been working my ass off to get in the gym all year. So my issue with Thanksgiving and Christmas has always been trying to figure out the best way to have a great time and not ruin my physique at the same time.
Well lucky for us all, I have found the strategy to solve this issue and I am going to share it with you all in today’s article!
There’s going to be 3 parts to this article, which are: The Pre-Feast Diet, The Pre-Feast Training and Your “Strategy” During The Feast.
So lets jump right into it!
The Pre-Feast Diet:
-Just as important as what you eat during the feast and the training before hand, will be your diet leading up to the dinner.
First things first, I must say that you should’ve been on point with your diet during the days or weeks leading up to this. That always helps, but if you haven’t been… well it’s too late to change that, but this will still help you out!
There are two main points I will make with the pre-feast diet plan and the first is fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to improve insulin and blood sugar levels, increase metabolism, detoxify the liver, help hormonal functions, and most importantly for this day, lower daily caloric intake.
So the goal for this is to fast a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 18, but it truly depends on when you plan to train. If you’re training in the morning, and it is totally ok to train fasted, then you would most likely stop the fast on the earlier end of the spectrum.
It is also important to break the fast before the feast, not at the feast.
Most people would think it’d be smart to just not eat til they get there… but then you walk into grandmas looking like a zombie who is literally starving. That is only going to lead to over consumption at dinner and a binge session where you eat much more than you’d like to eat.
So I suggest having 1-2 meals before the dinner. Which leads me to my next point of the “pre-feast diet”.
Your 1-2 meals should contain protein and green veggies. That’s pretty much it.
You need the protein in your body after training for recovery, it has the highest Thermic Effect Of Food (meaning you burn more calories eating that nutrient then any other), its one of the lower calorie macronutrients and it is the most satisfying you can eat.
You need the greens because they are very low-calorie, are filled with fiber, which is extremely filling, and because of digestive purposes these will help you digest/absorb the meal that is to come.
The reason I have no fats or carbs in these pre-feast meals is simply because when you go to the Thanksgiving dinner table, the majority of the meals are very high carb and fat.
Next step in the Thanksgiving blueprint…
The Pre-Feast Training:
-The goal for the Pre-Feast Training may be slightly different from what most would think. Typically people think they need to find out the best way to burn fat and that exact thing directly before the meal.
But when in reality the best thing you can possibly do is deplete your glycogen stores. This essentially means burn or utilize all your stored carbs.
By doing this we can get rid of the current energy we’ve been storing in our muscles and liver, putting our body in the best nutrient absorbing state possible.
This combined with the diet will put us in a position where we need to replace energy stores in our body very badly and puts our hormones in the most capable state for taking in that energy (calories/nutrients). At this point we’ve essentially put the body in the best position for doing it all.
So how do we get deplete glycogen through training? Easy! Well, actually it’s pretty difficult literally and can be the most draining type of training you can possibly do…
But let the FEAST be your motivation here!
There are multiple ways to get this job done and in my opinion and past experience, I like to combine them all.
-This is where you have a set number of exercises and you climb up reps either by count or within a time frame. So option “A” would be setting a clock for 20 min and create a list of 5-6 exercises, starting at 6 reps each you will climb up by 2’s as high as possible without stopping until the clock stops.
Option “B” would be having numbers and getting it done as fast as possible. So pick 8 exercises and start with 8 reps each… then 10, 12, 15, 20, and 25.
-This is an easy on to set up but can get the job done greatly. Set an interval time with greater work output then rest. Pick a number of rounds to go and have a specific set of exercises to hit.
So an example would be 8 exercises running in circuit style with 4 rounds at 30 seconds work and 15 seconds rest.
The key is to go as hard as possible and as heavy as possible in the time frame.
This is where you set tempos on all your reps. An example of a tempo style rep would be performing the KB Goblet Squat with 5 second downward motion and 5 second upward motion
This creates a lot of lactic acid build up, which sucks but is also a good sign you are depleting glycogen performing the lifts.
See the key with all these schemes, reps, programs, lifts, etc. is that they utilize all the muscle groups and movement patterns the body makes. This will ensure we are burning a lot of fuel from a lot of places.
They also create a great amount of lactic acid build up which directly links to our body burning glycogen, hence that feeling of mass blood flow to a specific muscle.
So what am I going to do on Thanksgiving?
I’m going to start by picking a couple big lifts, probably a deadlift and a military press and set 5 second tempos on them both for anywhere between 5-8 reps. This is enough reps for me to deplete the glycogen using those tempos but also little enough reps for me to go heavy.
Then I will pick 6 exercises and do a rep ladder of 8, 10, 12, 15, and then 20. The exercises will be varied utilizing every muscle group and movement.
Then I will finish with a circuit of about 4-5 exercises doing 3-4 rounds at 30/15 intervals.
Now that the training is covered, the final step in the blueprint is…
During The Feast Strategy:
-Here is my personal strategy and recommendation to you all.
First and foremost, you need to have fun. Yes results and this crazy gym life are both very important, but so is enjoying a holiday with your family the one time a year it comes around!
But having fun doesn’t mean you need to over do it this year!
This means limiting yourself on specific things. Know that you will have some kind of desert, so pick one and have a small piece after dinner. This means 2 glasses of wine instead of a bottle. Have only one plate with a little bit of it all, rather than 2-3 plates full of a couple of things each.
The first step is to fill your first and only plate of the night with a little bit of everything. This will allow you to try it all, which doesn’t give you any excuse to go back and fill the plate because we all know how that is… “Oh I’m just going to grab one more biscuit” and you come back from the kitchen with a FULL plate of it all!
During that plate, and throughout your entire dinner, you need to chew thoroughly and take your time. It takes the stomach 20 minutes or more to provide a signal to the brain letting us know we’re full. So take the time and enjoy your food! You’ll notice that you will fill up easier with less food then expected.
Next, plan for one single desert and to have a small piece. This will be tough, but trust me on this and go in with this positive mindset and it WILL be accomplished.
Lastly, limit your wine or beer consumption. Give yourself a number and actually enjoy the flavor instead of getting drunk.
A big key in all this is to do the training and have the diet plan leading up to it, not only will this result better afterwards but going through that during the day will give you more motive to continue the healthy streak you’re on.
After all the steps I have provided, I want to provide one last thing. Here is an example of what a good day would look like:
-10AM Workout [ Using the training strategies I provided ]
-11AM-12PM Beak Fast [ About a 16 Hours Fast ] with 25-40g Protein From Chicken Breast or White Fish and 1-2 Cups of Broccoli.
-3PM 25-40g Protein From Low Carb/Fat Protein Shake and a Superfood Greens Drink [ Click Here For MY Personal Favorite ]
-6PM TURKEY DINNER! [ Eat Slow, Limit Food and Alcohol Consumption and Enjoy The Holiday! ]
Follow my blueprint and I can promise you a better thanksgiving mentally and physically!