For most of us this means putting on the long sleeves and letting our abs hibernate for the next several months. It also means the holidays are upon us and all kinds of festivities will be taking place filled with laughter, drinks, and lots and lots of delicious food.
Related: The 10 Unwritten Gym Rules You Must Follow
Thanksgiving is around the corner followed closely by Christmas and New Year's. However, just because bulking season is officially underway doesn't mean you have to go all out stuffing your face with every last dinner roll within arm's reach. You can still enjoy the holidays while maintaining a strong physique.
8 Ways to Stay Shredded Instead of Stuffed
#1 - Count your macrosJust because it's the holidays doesn't give you an excuse to go HAM (pun intended). Be sure to track what you eat even if you have to estimate every item.
#2 - Practice moderationWe know it's the holidays and we all have urges to grab biscuits, gravy, pumpkin pie, and just about everything else you can think of. However, instead of going for 5 rolls stick with just a single one.
Enjoy spending time with family at social gatherings doesn't also necessitate binge eating.
#3 - Eat protein firstStudies have shown that when a protein shake is consumed prior to a meal the individual is less likely to overeat, binge, and put on additional pounds.
So don't be afraid to down a scoop or two of that MTS Cookies and Cream prior to that first serving of stuffing. It will assist your satiation and limit your need to overeat.
#4 - Practice flexible dietingChances are Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner will have a lot of one thing, carbs. As we know carbohydrates are not inherently bad, but consuming several hundred in one single sitting could be a problem.
To combat this eat mostly protein throughout the day and save the majority of your fats and carbohydrates for Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner. A safe bet is eating chicken and asparagus for your other meals leaving the majority of your fat and carbohydrates to work with.
#5 - Don't skip cardioWhen many of us begin bulking season we tend to skip out on cardio for sometimes months at a time. Regardless of weight goals, cardiovascular health is dependent upon performing cardio on a regular basis.
Cardio is never a substitute for circumstances in which you may be overeating. However, by performing cardio on a regular basis you will be less likely to put on excess additional weight.
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#6 - Adjust calories by dayIf you do overeat on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, do not be afraid to adjust your calories downward for a couple of days after to counteract any overeating. The overall amount of weekly calories consumed is more important than the day to day amount.
Therefore, if you overeat by 1000 Calories one day and lower your calories by 500 each of the next two days it will help to offset this. I would not recommend doing this on a regular basis as it may promote binge eating but doing it in limited circumstances such as holidays won't have a detrimental effect on your progress in the long term.
#7 - Stay away from the snacksChances are most of the snacks around the holidays are not the healthiest options available. Simply stay away from the snacks and save the calories mainly for dinner time.
#8 - Limit the alcoholThere is no problem being festive and having a drink or two to celebrate momentous occasions, just be sure to not let it get out of control. Remember that even a single shot of hard alcohol will have 100 Calories or more. Having a few of these will cause the calories to add up quickly.
No Leftovers For You!Bulking season should always be for one main purpose, adding additional muscle while minimizing fat gain. Bulking should never be an excuse to gain excess weight for the sole purpose of being overweight.
By taking the proper steps throughout the Fall and Winter months we can be sure to put on plenty of additional muscle without the extra fat gain. You will thank yourself in 6 months when it comes time to begin cutting again in preparation for those summertime abs. Don't be afraid to get a little bit fluffy in the Winter time by adding 1-2 pounds per month just be sure to not let it get out of hand.
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