How to turn Christmas Binging into a fitness positive
Christmas is around the corner again, and similar cycles are coming into play. In November we always see an increase in fitness activity as people try to tone up for the party season. This boom then usually comes with a drop come mid-December as people get busy shopping and getting liquored up for Christmas. I wouldn’t dare deny people the right to booze and feast over the snowy season, it’s our God damn rite as humans subjected to sub-zero temperatures! What comes with the feasting and the festivity is also an inherent drop in physical confidence. The moans and stomach pinches actually means big business for us in the fitness industry.
I’m never been able to say “Santas sack” while keeping a straight face, but maybe him and the Underground could have a little Christmas programming for you. The first thing to look at is why people put on weight over Christmas. There is usually a high volume of sweet and calorie rich foods, an abundance of alcohol and an over-all decline in training. They all have their own impact, but one of the biggest factors is in not training, and slowing down your metabolism.
The same metabolic furnace that burns up carbohydrates, utilizes proteins and keeps you on the hormonal fat burning straight and narrow just isn’t be applied. When this combined with a higher volume of largely fat storing calories, the impact is “large”. Insulin is largely to blame, as with elevated levels it heavily causes fat storage. Eating a lot of fatty meats means the saturated fats get stored almost asap.
Now I’m not here to simply wreck your buzz and destroy Christmas, I’m going to give you a strategy that will lead to a much more confident January. What we will utilize to turn the negative into a positive is actually one of the main suspects, insulin.
Insulin is a storage hormone, and yes I largely reference it for its negative effect on your body fat, but it should be know that insulin stores more than fat, it also stores amino acids, aka protein, aka muscle! Now it doesn’t “store” protein, it facilitates, or “transports” the amino acids into the muscle cells to allow for hypertrophy, aka – building muscle. So while insulin levels are high you are likely to deposit body fat, you are also likely to build muscle. It’s why bodybuilders can eat so much crap in their pre-season or building phase (despite what people think), before they have to cut down and reduce carbs like I tell you to year round.
Now I hear women saying “UUggh yeah right, like I wanna look like a big muscly bodybuilder… gross!”, but first know that muscle is definition, and it will take you years to build any serious muscle , you just don’t have the testosterone. Building muscle over the season will amount only to extra shape.
So, whats the strategy? Cut down on anything? No, just eat as you usually would and always would want to at Christmas. All you have to do is lift heavy, get in the gym and lift heavy. This is why in the Underground there will be slight increase in resistance based exercises, because you will inadvertently be taking in the calories to build strength and definition. As you are performing resistance training you will be burning off a large amount of muscle glycogen, which is muscle energy derived from sugars. With all the food your glycogen levels will be high, so you’ll feel stronger. This just means that a percentage of the sugars you eat that would have turned into fat, will now be burned in the fire of muscle activation.
Now, insulin is the storage hormone that transports this glycogen to your muscles, but it will also transport the protein needed for muscle repair, and because your calories will be up this will also amount to muscle growth. So you will still get slightly heavier, but it’s more likely to be additional muscle as opposed to just fat.
Now I’d say guys are saying, “sweet!”, and girls are a bit “pffftt whats the difference, I’m heavier!” The difference is that you will not have as much (if any) extra body fat to lose come January, and then you can use your increased muscle (and metabolic rate), to burn off more fat, leaving serious shape and definition behind. Call me a loser if you cant see the simplicity behind it, but when I lived at home I used to train on Christmas day! Oh my God I felt bigger on Stephens Day. All that sugar and protein did some real good.
Toning is just building muscle and burning fat, and in the Underground we try to do both at the same time. The biggest determinant in what composition changes your body makes is in your diet, so why not use this almost unavoidable diet to your advantage. Be tactical, and build muscle for a couple of weeks, then start getting ripped again in January.
It makes perfect sense, you just have to keep training, you can even train less, just keep some heavy lifting going, if even twice a week. Lift heavy and keep the muscle stimulus there. You want your muscles to feel inflated, that’s how you know they’re stimulated. This is blood filling the muscles, which is the river in which insulin can ferry down protein and glycogen to make you stronger and more defined.
This is honestly a great way to come out on top this Christmas. Santa’s a great lad for sure, but let’s keep it to mild admiration and not physical imitation. Enjoy your Christmas feast, become an absolute beast.