It’s safe to say that it’s definitely not easy to hold back eating amazing food, especially at this time of the year. The holiday season not only brings out the best in us but can also sometimes bring out the worst.
Portion control is something that can be quite difficult to do, especially if we don’t watch over our food intakes and don’t set calorie limits. But if you’re not really concerned about the extra calories this festive season because your goal is muscle-building instead of fat-loss, then this article is for you!
Here are some tips to help you make the most of holiday eating and weight gain:
1. Indulge your hearts out the right way
Pigging out as much as you want to and having no problem gaining additional pounds during this season is something that people with restrictive diets and those with slow metabolisms will be jealous of. However, do keep in mind that despite your caloric surplus efforts, you can’t really build muscle if the calories that you’re consuming are mostly from eating sugar-laden foods.
If you gain extra weight by just eating sweets, then your body won’t gain anything other than mood swings, headaches, and fatigue, among others.
You need to utilize those excess calories by making sure you eat more carbs and fats and get those much-needed amino acids from beef, turkey, and other sources of protein. It’s very important to provide your body with the right number of macros in order to build muscle and support muscle growth.
2. Schedule and structure your meals according to your workout schedule
One of the cool things about the holiday break is that you get to have more time off from work. More time off means you don’t have to follow your usual schedule and don't have to worry about sticking to it. Aside from spending some precious time with your loved ones, the holidays give us the chance to schedule and structure our meals to fit our workout schedule.
Holiday food can really be tempting, but resist the urge to eat large meals prior to your workouts. Make it a point to hit the gym first for a heavy workout so you can reward yourself with a big holiday meal right after. You’re exhausted, your muscles are broken down, and your glycogen levels are lower at this time, so this is indeed the right time to get the much-needed carb and protein fix for rebuilding.
3. Try lean bulking
One way of setting up your diet in order to build muscle with minimal fat gain is through lean bulking. According to Greg O. from Kinobody, this strategy works by eating maintenance calories for the majority of the week and then allowing yourself to eat more calories during big celebrations and other parties. The surplus calories will definitely help you build muscle without gaining extra fat. Plus, doing this is safer because you’re gaining not just subcutaneous fat but muscle mass and strength that you wanted without having to worry about unhealthy belly fat because of your other calorie deficit days.
Instead of going on a holiday binge every single mealtime and stressing over how much weight you’re going to gain this holiday season, it’s best to enjoy the company of your family, the extra time off to workout with more focus and intensity, to relax/recover after and the chance to eat smarter by taking advantage of the dining flexibility that this season has to offer.