Build Muscle, Get Lean, WHILE Crushing Thanksgiving


First of all, I’d like to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving if you’re from the ‘States. If you’re not, then you’re missing out and I recommend that you celebrate it anyway. Here’s the down-low: In America we get together on the last Thursday in November to celebrate family, friends, and the other things we’re thankful for. This is punctuated by a harvest feast involving turkey, vegetables, and pie. We also layer on an outstanding helping of football on because we’re Americans and nothing says “thankful” like watching one one of the world’s greatest sports. Like I said, you’re missing out and I’d jump on the bandwagon if I were you.

So in honor of that, I’m thankful for the blessings I’ve received in my life. I’ve been given opportunity, great friends and family, good health, an outstanding sense of humor, and a desire to help others… in my own special way. Honestly, that makes me rich beyond belief already.

In the spirit of what all trainers do on Thanksgiving, I’m going to clue you in to one of my best Turkey Day Survival Tips.

Not much for Thanksgiving, but I hear the beaches are nice.

Look, it’s Thanksgiving. You’re going to overeat and probably over-drink. It’s part of American culture. Actually, over-consuming in general is part of American culture on a daily basis, but at least we admit it on this day. I’m not going to be one of those trainers who tries to tell you not to eat a bunch of food on Thanksgiving, because I know that 98% of you will go in with strict plans of turkey breast, sweet potatoes, and green beans, see the pies, go all buckwild, and shovel 4000-8000 calories down your throat anyway.

Remind me to tell you about the Thanksgiving where, on a bet, I ate an entire turkey sometime…

Anyway, so the assumption is that you’re going to at least somewhat blow your diet and hate yourself the next day.

That’s honestly not that big a deal, as long as it’s the one day. What kills most people is the massive overeating followed by three days of massive overeating of left-overs. That’s how people pile on extra pounds of fat from Thanksgiving.

Now THAT'S how you do a turkey!

Instead of letting all those extra nutrients go right to your gut and fat(ter) ass, use them. Utilize the day before (maybe next year) and the day after as No Carb Days. If you’re familiar with carb-cycling then you know what I mean here. If you’re not, then keep your eyes peeled (hint hint).

The massive over-consumption of food, particularly carbs, associated with Thanksgiving can really pile on the fat as it puts your insulin production through the roof. Because you keep picking away over the course of an entire day, you know you do, it stays there. This promotes insulin resistance, where your body has to produce more and more insulin in response to your elevated blood sugar to put that sugar somewhere (or else you’ll die). It tries to put it into your muscles as glycogen, which is good and helps your muscles grow like weeds, but soon they fill up. So where does it go next? Yep, fat cells, and there’s no filling those monsters up.

What we’re going to do is take a day of low carbohydrate and low calorie dieting to pull some of that sugar out of the muscles and re-sensitize them to insulin. This No Carb Day is going to consist of about your bodyweight in grams of protein, low to moderate fat (think like 0.35g of fat per pound of bodyweight), and as low carbs as possible. Like 30g or less low.

After a rip-roaring Thanksgiving your metabolism will be up and running full steam because it’s expecting lots of food. You’re going to take advantage of that by cutting your carbs and calories, while still keeping protein high for satiety and preventing muscle wasting. This will help your body burn a bunch of fat on that day but more importantly it’ll set your muscles back into the mode where they’re searching for carbohydrate. Their insulin sensitivity will increase, you’ll help break the new sugar addiction that you’ve picked up, and you’ll get your mind back into healthy eating mode.

So until tomorrow, which is going to suck, pass those mashed potatoes, bitches.

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What are you thankful for? Put it down below, or put down your favorite holiday survival tip!

PS Then go watch the greatest Thanksgiving movie of all time: Thankskilling!

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