Holiday Survival Tactics to Staying On Track With Your Bodybuilding and Fitness Program

HugoSurvivalGuide

The Holidays are here.  They are a time of joy and happiness. However, unfortunately, it is during this time that most people tend to forget about their workouts. If you are thinking about doing that, let me remind you that the only road that leads to is to a larger waistline. Remember that if you choose the path of laziness eventually the Holidays will end and your joy and happiness will turn into horror as you will be left with having to face yourself in the mirror afterwards.

That is the reason why in this article, I will disclose my top 10 personal strategies for surviving the Holiday’s with minimum fat gain, if any. Best of all, if you follow my instructions to the letter you will gain muscle in the process as well!

Gym. Handsome man during workout1. Workout as early as possible, preferably first thing in the morning.
If your schedule is really hectic, I would advise waking up early and getting training done, if possible, right before you go to work. If this is not possible, then try doing it at lunch-time or right after work so that nothing else interferes with your workout. On days off from work, definitely get the training done as early as possible.

2. If you really cannot train more than 3 days a week, try my Holidays’ Routine posted at the end of this article.
The Holidays’ Routine is designed for a serious bodybuilder that wants maximum muscle along with definition and is willing to train 3 days a week for 75 minutes. If that is still too much then just cut 1 set for all the exercises listed with more than 1 set for them and this will bring down your gym time by around 15-20 minutes.

Handsome young fitness instructor at a gym3. Plan your workout days one week ahead.
Because of the amounts of get-together’s and days that the gym may be closed, it is best if you decide a week ahead which days you will be attending the gym. In this manner, your chances of missing a workout due to parties or gym closures are eliminated.

4. Plan Your Cheat Days Wisely.
I have to say that I am an expert at this one. Reason for this is because Thanks Giving is on the 22nd, my birthday is on December 5th, Christmas on the 25th and New Year’s on the 31. So those are my cheat days. My advise is to attempt to space cheat days with at least 5-6 days in between, 6 being the better choice.

Shaped and healthy body man holding a fresh salad bowl,shaped ab5. Eat Your Cheat Meals Wisely.
When you have a cheat meal, start eating the protein portion first as this will get you to start getting full. Leave the carbs for the end of the meal. Also, try to not stuff yourself. Eat until you are comfortably full and allocate four hours and a half of cheating per cheat day. This will allow for 3 cheat meals (one every 90 minutes). After your cheat period, go back on your regular diet immediately.

Gym. Handsome man during workout6. Have a tough workout before you cheat to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle.
Reason for this is because after a workout the body is primed to absorb nutrients in the form of proteins and carbohydrates. Thus, having a cheat meal afterwards will ensure that most nutrients are used for recovery and muscle production.  If you move one of your workouts from the routine below to your cheat days, then you will have this part covered.  By the way, last Thanksgiving I did legs prior to my turkey meal.

 

Tip7GarciniaCambogia7. Take 1500mg of Garcinia Cambogia (standardized to 60% HCA), 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate and 300 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Taking 1500mg of Garcinia Cambogia (standardized to 60% HCA), 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate and 300 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid at the beginning of your cheat period helps to increase your cell’s ability to accept insulin, and thus, assimilate the extra carbohydrates better. As a matter of fact, increasing insulin sensitivity is one of the reasons why I like to have a big workout prior to the cheat period.

Tip8EFA_Lean8. Have some EFA’s with your cheat meal.
Research indicates that some Essential Fats like the ones found on flax oil or fish oils have anti-lipolitic properties. In other words, they inhibit some of the enzymes responsible for fat storage. By taking these fats with your first cheat meal of your cheat period, you can minimize some of the damage. 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of Carlson Fish Oils should do the trick. If you rather use capsules, you can use 6 capsules of Labrada’s EFA Lean which have a nice blend of Essential Fatty Acids.  I personally do 6 capsules of the EFA Lean with 1/2 tablespoon of fish oils.

9. Take some digestive enzymes with each one of your cheat meals.
This will ensure maximum nutrient assimilation and will also help you avoid feelings of excessive fullness and indigestion.


Training, close up of young man running upstairs10. Three to five hours after the cheat period has ended have a 30-minute walk.
I’m not talking about anything strenuous; around 2.5 to 3 miles per hour is a good pace. Doing some cardiovascular activity after the cheat period has ended will start burning some of the carbohydrates that may still be lingering around. The more of these you burn, the less likelihood of storing body fat. If you cannot do this walk on the same day of the cheat period then try it on the morning after on an empty stomach.

Now that I have covered these 10 Holiday survival tactics, now let’s talk about our Winter program.

Holidays Winter Workout
While I am not advocating to continue going to the gym everyday like the most hardcore of us will do, I am advocating to continue lifting weights at least 3 times a week with cardio activity (that can be done in your own home) in the days in between. For the purpose of continued muscle growth and fat loss over the Holidays, I have used the principles of cycling that I always preach about in order to create a routine that will keep the muscle growth/fat loss process going during the next few months with minimum visits to the gym. While it is a low volume/abbreviated routine, it is by no means an easy one.

LOADING PHASE
(Week 1)

Mon (13-15 reps) /Wed (10-12 reps)/Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
A-1) Incline Bench Press 3 sets (No Rest)
A-2) Close Grip Chinups (Palms facing you) 3 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
B-1) Upright Rows 1 set (No Rest)
B-2) Bent Over Laterals 1 set (60 seconds)

Superset:
C-1) Seated Incline Hammer Curls 2 sets (No Rest)
C-2) Triceps Dips 2 sets (60 seconds)

Giant set:
D-1) Lunges 3 sets (No Rest)
D-2) Leg Curls 3 sets (No Rest)
D-3) Squats 3 sets (No Rest)
D-4) Calf Raises 3 sets (60 seconds)
(Use either the machine or Barbell used for Squats)

(Week 2)
Mon (13-15 reps) /Wed (10-12 reps)/Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
A-1) Incline Bench Press 4 sets (No Rest)
A-2) Close Grip Chinups (Palms facing you) 4 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
B-1) Upright Rows 2 set (No Rest)
B-2) Bent Over Laterals 2 set (60 seconds)

Superset:
C-1) Seated Incline Hammer Curls 3 sets (No Rest)
C-2) Triceps Dips 3 sets (60 seconds)

Giant set:
D-1) Lunges 4 sets (No Rest)
D-2) Leg Curls 4 sets (No Rest)
D-3) Squats 4 sets (No Rest)
D-4) Calf Raises 4 sets (No Rest)
(Use either the machine or Barbell used for Squats) (60 seconds)

(Week 3)
Mon (13-15 reps) /Wed (10-12 reps)/Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
A-1) Incline Bench Press 5 sets (No Rest)
A-2) Close Grip Chinups (Palms facing you) 5 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
B-1) Upright Rows 3 set (No Rest)
B-2) Bent Over Laterals 3 set (60 seconds)

Superset:
C-1) Seated Incline Hammer Curls 4 sets (No Rest)
C-2) Triceps Dips 4 sets (60 seconds)

Giant set:
D-1) Lunges 5 sets (No Rest)
D-2) Leg Curls 5 sets (No Rest)
D-3) Squats 5 sets (No Rest)
D-4) Calf Raises 5 sets (60 seconds)
(Use either the machine or Barbell used for Squats)

GROWTH PHASE
(Weeks 4-6)

Mon (10-12 reps)/Wed (8-10 reps)/Fri (5-7 reps)

Modified Compound Superset:
A-1) Incline Bench Press 3 sets (Rest 90 seconds)
A-2) Close Grip Chinups (Palms facing you) 3 sets (Rest 90 seconds)

Modified Compound Superset:
B-1) Upright Rows 2 set (Rest 40 seconds)
B-2) Bent Over Laterals 2 set (Rest 40 seconds)
B-3) Seated Incline Hammer Curls 2 sets (Rest 40 seconds)
B-4) Triceps Dips 2 sets (Rest 90 seconds)

Modified Compound Superset:
D-1) Lunges 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
D-2) Leg Curls 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
D-3) Squats 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
D-4) Calf Raises 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
(Use either the machine or Barbell used for Squats)

There you have it. After week 6 go into Active Recovery (Two full body workouts a week; a routine similar to the Growth Phase above performed only on Mondays and Thursdays with each set consisting of 10-12 reps; perform the same number of sets as suggested above). Also, do 20 minutes of cardio , first thing in the morning on the days off (Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays). Sunday is the total rest day.
The longest routine is the one from week 3. It lasts around 75 minutes. It is exhausting as well. Try it out and provided that you follow a good diet along with it (by just limiting yourself to splurge on Thanksgiving day, Christmas day and New Years Eve; Note that I said days NOT weeks) you should avoid the catastrophic effects that the Holidays leave behind in some people. As a matter of fact, you should look better.
Let me know how you like it if you try it. Also remember that the more you splurge on high protein food items, the less detrimental the effect of the splurge.

Until next time, take care and train hard!


Hugo-dumbbellsAbout the Author
Hugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation.  You can follow Hugo at his:

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