In this edition of Fit Talk (2) I answer the question of how to avoid gaining body fat on a holiday. Without further ado, let’s get into Fit Talk (2)!
1) Juneteenth Is Coming Up And So Is Father’s Day. How Can I Enjoy The Food And Avoid Gaining Excess Weight During The Holiday Weekend?
Before we get into Fit Talk (2), I want to say something.
Each time we have a day of national recognition to celebrate the official end of slavery in America, it is a momentous day. As a Black man in America the history behind Juneteenth is important for everyone to know.
Also, I’m extremely fortunate to be the son of the greatest Dad of all time, the great Jim Brown. I wouldn’t be the man I am or have certain principles instilled in me without his love and guidance throughout my life, so Happy Father’s Day to him.
Now I’m not one to tell most people to drastically limit themselves on a holiday or avoid certain foods unless the person has a bodybuilding contest coming up. In fact, the only times I’ve intentionally avoided eating holiday foods is if a contest is coming up around a certain holiday.
Holidays are times where family and friends come together to have good conversation and excellent food. But you also don’t want to turn into a complete glutton just because it’s a holiday. I have some options for you to mitigate the damage that can be done with holiday eating.
1) Eat Less Food
This is without question the least popular option during a holiday! But it’s definitely the most effective.
Gaining or losing body fat is all about being in an energy deficit or surplus. If you are consuming more calories than what you burn, you end up gaining weight. And if you aren’t consistently lifting weights to build muscle while in that surplus, that weight gain will be body fat.
I believe natural bodybuilders should give themselves more nutritional leeway in the offseason and I mean this in terms of being in a caloric surplus. This is because the primary goal in the offseason is building muscle and improving weak areas.
My overall diet is relatively much looser during the offseason in comparison to contest prep where my diet is rigid. But you don’t want to go crazy in the offseason to the point where you gain 30lbs of mostly fat or go from 7 percent body fat to 20 percent body fat.
You want to stay within a reasonable striking distance of your stage condition. What you do not want to do is become an out of shape, unrecognizable, bloviated version of yourself. You do this not just for the sake of competing, but also to keep yourself healthy.
In my 2022 season, I reached a low of 7.2 percent body fat in April while weighing 158.6lbs. I reached a high of 13.1 percent body fat in November while weighing 169lbs.
I was 151.6lbs and 6.5 percent body fat days before the OCB Jersey Natural Open in May 2023. All of these body fat percentages were measured by a Dexa scan.
What you can do on the holiday, is enjoy yourself, but practice moderation. For example, if you want to have more macaroni and cheese or yams, have less dessert. This can bring the overall calories you consume down versus you just blatantly overeating everything you see.
Another way to eat less would be to put the focus of your meals on protein along with adding some fiber. Protein, along with some fiber, will keep you more satiated and keep your hunger at bay for much longer.
Having a quality protein rich meal or a low carb protein shake in the hours before your meal can also bring your appetite down a bit before you eat. An average protein shake is only about 100-120 calories per serving, so the caloric load is not high.
2) Don’t Drink Your Calories
It’s very easy to drink a lot of calories, especially when you are drinking juices and sodas that are packed to the brim with sugar. And before you know it, you have consumed and additional 1000 calories on top of what you ate!
I highly recommend drinking zero or low calorie drinks. I drink zero calorie drinks all throughout the year, and the holidays are no different. What I like to do is drink either True Lemon products or a naturally flavored, 0 calorie seltzer water. I sweeten them both with Stevia, which is a natural sweetener that has zero calories. And they taste excellent.
By not drinking your calories, you will consume far less calories on that day.
3) Train Hard
While you cannot out train a bad diet, consistent training is a good way to mitigate some of the effects of treat meals.
When you are lean and muscular, your body burns more calories at rest and uses fuel more efficiently. Natural bodybuilding improves how your body looks but more importantly, lifting weights is beyond critical for long term health, strength, and wellness.
For example, if you are having a Father’s Day dinner, perform a hard lifting workout earlier in the day. And after you lift you should do some conditioning (like sprinting) or cardio.
That’s the best way to mitigate some of the effects of the dinner because this will ensure that you use a great deal of fuel before you dig in. And some of those calories will also help with recovery after your training sessions are over.
Excluding the dinner and your pre-workout meal, you also should lower your overall calories throughout the rest of the day to account for the calorie surplus you will more than likely have at the dinner and dessert. Eating less at other times during the day will also bring the overall caloric load down.
I personally implement all of this information when I’m planning treat meals. Using these tips will prevent your holiday from turning into an unmitigated, nutritional disaster!
It’s hard to get into contest shape. And it’s even harder if you do not have a plan of action on how to get there. But as one of the elite personal trainers in the world, and I say that humbly and truthfully, I’m here to help.
To work with me at my gym in Roslyn and get prepped for your next competition, please schedule your appointment by visiting my booking page. Prospective clients will receive one complimentary consultation throughout the month of June.
Thanks for the question that gave Fit Talk 2 life. I look forward to seeing your comments on this topic.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,