How To Stay Lean Through Christmas!

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staying lean through christmas dinner

When it comes to Christmas, you can’t help but think of those festive family gatherings, dinners, and of course desserts.

Not to mention the end of year work parties & numerous social gatherings!

Everyone is wondering how to stay lean through Christmas! And, straight after News Years Eve, you feel the guilt.

January is starting to feel a lot heavier & fluffier than you were before December.

But, thankfully with some dieting mindset & training changes during the festive season, you can stay on top of your goals, and even make positive body composition changes!

Trust me, I’ve been there.

I remember having a physique competition falling in March of the new year, all I could think about was saying no to all the food being shoved in my face!

Even having a good understanding of my nutritional requirements, I still needed to implement a strategy to get me through.

It’s not nearly as hard as I was thinking.

Let’s get started!

Let The Extra Calories Work For You

Everybody is so scared about consuming extra calories around Christmas. And, there are of course simple ways to stay flexible and still hit your macro/calorie daily totals.

But, what most people forget is that you can utilize those extra calories.

Increasing your calories on certain days, especially around heavy strength/hypertrophy based resistance sessions will give you more energy to increase performance & post-workout recovery.

Those extra calories if consumed wisely (lean protein, complex carbs) will optimize your intra-workout energy levels (performance) & post-workout recovery.

This leads to increased muscle protein synthesis & increased strength.

An NCBI research article found that nutrient timing can positively affect performance & body composition if implemented correctly.

Here are some key research-based findings:

  • The timing of energy intake and the ratio of certain ingested macro-nutrients may enhance recovery and tissue repair, augment muscle protein synthesis
  • Endogenous glycogen stores are maximized by following a high-carbohydrate diet (8–12 g of carbohydrate/kg/day [g/kg/day]); moreover, these stores are depleted most by high volume exercise
  • Pre & post-exercise nutritional interventions (carbohydrate + protein or protein alone) may operate as an effective strategy to support increases in strength and improvements in body composition. However, the size and timing of a pre-exercise meal may impact the extent to which post-exercise protein feeding is required
  • Post-exercise ingestion (immediately to 2-h post) of high-quality protein sources stimulates robust increases in muscle protein synthesis
  • Ingesting a 20–40 g protein dose (0.25–0.40 g/kg body mass/dose) of a high-quality source every three to 4 h appears to most favorably affect muscle protein synthesis rates when compared to other dietary patterns and is associated with improved body composition and performance outcomes

Cycle Your Calories

Now obviously you’re coming into the Christmas period with certain goals, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article.

If your goal is to build some muscle definition, you can certainly utilize those additional calories.

However, if you are wanting to stay lean or even get leaner during the festive season, you will want to still hit your daily calorie & macro-nutrients targets.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get to enjoy yourself. It just means you need to plan & strategize a little more carefully.

The first step is to start cycling your calories.

If you know you have a high-calorie dinner or lunch coming up, decrease your portion sizes leading up to the event.

You can even take things one step further & use intermittent fasting. Significantly decrease your calories leading up to the high-calorie event!

And, take note of what foods are on offer. If you have a calorie counting app like myfitnesspal you can work out how many calories & macros you’re consuming on the fly.

Even better, plan ahead. Find out the foods you will be eating & calculate them before the event has started.

Don’t feel guilty…

Let’s remember, you’re only human. It’s normal to have occasional slip-ups with your calories/macros.

Absolutely nothing wrong with edging outside your targets from time to time.

However, it’s important to not let these times during the year completely derail you from achieving your goals.

If you’re finding it hard to get the right mindset around achieving your goals, make sure you don’t forget to check out our 28 Day Mind & Body Challenge.

We incorporate body recomposition, guided meditations, subliminal messaging, binaural beats, mindset tools, calorie meal plans & advanced training for long-term sustainable results.

Still not sure? Check out all our client’s success stories here!

Leave a comment below, let us know how you find eating and training through Christmas time.

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