How to Avoid Gaining A Million Pounds on Thanksgiving

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Okay, okay a million is a little dramatic, but gaining weight and binging on Thanksgiving is accurate.

Believe me, I get it. I come from a long line of people who know how to cook and are incredibly passionate about good food.

Going home for Thanksgiving is like entering Disneyland for my belly. Every single dish is incredible and since I’m an only child there is always an over-abundance of leftovers since we end up cooking for a family of 8 (easily).

Needless to say, there’s no way I could sit here and just say, “Eat less!” as I’ve seen a handful of trainers online say. Eat less? Are you kidding? Have you tried a homemade raspberry and peach pie? GTFO.

Also, keep in mind that gaining a pound or two will not destroy your life. I’ve always felt that enjoying food and time with family is always more important than depriving yourself. Unless you’re prepping for a contest, that’s a whole different situation.

Thankfully, there are ways you can help your body prepare for the calories you’re about to eat. Supposedly, the average person eats around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, if that gives you any idea.

Here are two, right off the bat from Jim Stoppani, and then we’ll dive into the rest.

1. Cut your carbs early in the week.

2. Try intermittent fasting.

3. Make things from scratch.

Even looking at MyFitness pal at the difference between a homemade and a store bought pie shows a difference of 30 calories. While that may not seem like a lot, that can add up over the course of an entire day (let’s be real: an entire weekend) of eating.

Also, that’s just a generic example. Maybe instead of apple pie you make a different type of pie: a list of the different types of pies and calories.

Out of all the dishes, I read that the green bean casserole actually has some of the most calories out of all the traditional Thanksgiving options, so maybe you switch that for something else.

4. Keep exercising.

This is the big thing that people overlook. They completely quit exercising for the year and swear to start up again in the new year.

If you’ve already decided to binge over the holiday, just decide to start bulking for the season and lift heavy enough to where you actually make that happen. Some tips: read on.

Go hiking. Go snowboarding. Lift weights. Play some football with your family. Keep active don’t just sit on the couch. Take advantage of how empty the gym is during November and December.

5. Drink more water.

I know, this sounds simple. Also, please note I do not mean drink more alcohol, I mean drink actual water. When you work on drinking enough water between rounds of food, you’ll feel full. This, coupled with taking the time to chew your food and eat slower, will prevent that painful oops-I-binged stomach pain.

Keep it simple! Don’t complicate this, and most of all don’t beat yourself up if you binge hard. Spending time with family and finding ways to give back to the world this holiday season is way more important than anything else.

Also, in case I don’t say it enough, thank you for reading this article or any articles I’ve ever written. It means a lot and I am incredibly grateful.

Can You Know TOO Much?

Now that I’ve finished Jim Stoppani’s Superman program (final blog post, thoughts, review coming!), I’ve been looking at the rest of the year.

I know most people in the fitness industry spend time focusing on bulking during the winter months, so they don’t have to stay lean, I’ve been looking at what I want to do.

Bulking is easy. You lift incredibly heavy and you eat everything in sight. Especially if you’re fine with dirty bulking.

However, I’ve been on a mission to detox.

My body, my mind, my spirit. It all needs a good cleanse.

Elliott Hulse had a great video on this recently, about information constipation. Essentially, the keeping of information without letting it flow out of you.

This can be in many forms: learning without sharing, keeping too many books, too many bookmarked websites, and so on.

I dig it because that’s something I’ve been feeling recently. Even with this site and my multiple creative endeavors.

It’s not that I’m doing too many things, it’s that I’m not letting the information flow at a fast enough rate.

Simply put: I know too much. I’ve read too much. I’ve learned too much.

And in that learning, everything has had a hard time formulating into thoughts.

Pumping out content for this blog should be so easy. Fitness has been my life for years. I’ve learned so so so much about it. I’ve put my body through trial and error and although I still have a long way to go, there’s still something to be said for all that knowledge.

Yet, for quite some time I’ve struggled with taking all of that knowledge, compressing it into something to share, and getting it out there. I now understand that it’s because I am keeping too much coming in.

This is also where I believe negative people who know “everything” online come from. They’re so constipated with mental information, but they create nothing, so they hate everyone who can break past it and create something.

My only focus right now is moving to California. That’s it. There’s nothing else that is as important as that. I’ve got to get out of Denver.

What has come with that is laser focus. The ability to see what is helping me achieve that goal and what’s getting me away from that goal.

Learning more is not the answer. Keeping more books is not the answer. Sharing what I know will absolutely get me closer to my goal.

If you’re feeling stuck too, start by giving more away. Sometimes this means sharing knowledge, sometimes this means literally giving your things away, or just start by consuming less.

This election cycle here in America has everyone in a complete emotional and mental messy state, and I can tell it’s making people across the country exhausted and burned out. Taking a break from the 24/7 fear-mongering will do wonders for your brain. (Still vote, though.)

You Were Designed to Move

Plain and simple: you were designed to move.

Our sedentary lifestyle is the exact opposite of how our ancestors lived for centuries.

It’s no wonder we’re all sick and sad all the time, because we spend most of our time going against how we were engineered.

There have been a few studies on how depressed animals in cages eventually become, especially if they were taken from their wild habitats, and all I can think about is how we can relate to that.

Cubicles aren’t natural.
The food we eat is rarely natural.
Sitting all day and being on our phones isn’t natural.

This is also why it’s not easy to be a professional writer. The constant sitting all day every day is just tough on the body. Every time I move more and get outside, it’s amazing how much better I feel almost instantly.

This isn’t a long post, it’s just something that I think the world needs to discuss. The eight-hour workday wasn’t designed by any science around optimum productivity or happiness. It was designed by companies who want to maximize profits but not work you too hard so you’re beyond burned out.

You were designed to move. Plain and simple.

So get up, and get moving.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Getting in shape doesn’t just happen.

No one wakes up one day and realizes all of their fat dropped off, they’re incredibly strong, and their body added muscle in all the right places.

It takes serious work, dedication, and planning.

It takes a lot of effort to go to the gym day after day after day. However, most people who do aren’t actually following a plan. They show up, throw some weights around, and call it a day. (Or even worse, they go, get on a treadmill, and think that’s good enough.)

Every time I fuck around in the gym, I rarely see any results. Sure, it feels good. Sure, it reduces stress, but anyone who wants results needs some kind of plan.

I have people ask me all the time, “How do I get abs / bigger arms / bigger booty?!” And I ask them what plan they’re following. Then they come back with, “I don’t know, I just go and do a few moves I saw on Instagram a few times a week.”

Well, that’s not a plan.

Today is Tuesday and I would bet most people have already thrown in the towel for the week. Their Monday was busier than planned so they swear, “NEXT WEEK!”

(Pro tip: Monday is always busy as shit. Prepare for this.)

Here’s how I plan my weeks for domination even though life is a never-ending shit-storm most of the time:

1. Look at your whole week.

Scripting my week has been one of the fundamental habits that changed my results in both the gym and in life.

Every Sunday, I sit down and put in what Stephen Covey calls, the big rocks.

The big rocks are essentially the MOST important thing to your life, not the little things that get in the way of your goals.

You need to own a planner of some kind, period. I prefer paper planners instead of digital planners, but do what works for you. Even if you use something as simple as a sheet of blank paper for your planning, it’s better than nothing.

2. Plan out your exercise schedule for the week.

Write out what days and at what times you are going to go to the gym.

I used to write down that I wanted to work out four or five times the week. Except days would tick by and I still didn’t stay consistent.

When I put in dates and times I will be in the gym, I rarely ever miss. Commit to a time and put it in your planner. Treat it like a doctor’s appointment. SHOW UP.

If you have a workout buddy, agree on a set schedule or time. If not, pretend you did. Pretend someone important to you is waiting at the gym and you need to show up.

3. Plan out meals and supplements.

This was really the game changer for results. It’s easy to forget your diet, when you’re supposed to eat, when you’re supposed to take your supplements… but if you have dedicated time to each one, you need to put it down.

I have a cork board right behind my computer with my supplement schedule clearly written out for each week. It’s the only way I could manage it all.

4. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

Cook meals ahead of time. Clean your gym clothes. Leave your workout shoes in your car. Make sure you have an extra pair of headphones in your car.

People who want to win at life are always prepared ahead of time. They don’t mess around because they want results.

When you have a plan, you know you’ll need to skip those cookies in the middle of the day because you already brought yourself a much healthier snack.

Preparing in advance ruins any excuses for failure. People love failure, they love excuses, they love to blame everything else but themselves for their problems.

“Oops, I forgot my workout shoes! I guess I’ll work out next month instead.”

You’re going to be better than that.

Don’t fall into the blame game, take responsibility for your success.

The path to success isn’t sexy. It’s not glamorous. It’s hard fucking work day in and day out and day in and day out.

Preparing your life in advance gives you all the room in the world to make your goals come true. When you’re prepared, you’re going to win. You think all the athletes who just played in the Super Bowl just fell into that situation? Hell no. They prepared and trained for years. They do the hard work without thinking about it.

Planning in advance removes all the stressful thoughts about, “What do I do now?” Instead, do the thinking ahead of time so you can move into autopilot mode.

Studies show time and time again that we only have so much willpower in any given day, when you reduce decisions, you increase the amount of willpower you have.

What do YOU do to plan and dominate the week?

How to Make Time For A Fitness Routine

I have a confession to make: I’ve been a little sissy face throughout the past two months.

I’ve left working out up to when I “felt” like it, which is pretty much poison for anyone trying to get in shape.

As I mentioned in my last post, my 26th birthday passed, and I realized it is just simply time to quit being a little sissy.

There’s no doubt that I’m healthy. My blood tests always come back phenomenal, my body fat percentage is way below average, and I moderately exercise.

That’s great and all, however, I can do better. Nothing feels worse than living below my potential. When you know you could do better and it is right within your reach, but you choose to pick the easier route, that is hell.

I can do better, so I’m going to.

Let’s break it down:

1. Write what your “best” looks like.

If you know you are living below your potential, you have to accurately describe what living above it looks like.

What time do you wake up?
What do you do with your day?
What do you do at work?
How do you feel?
When do you workout?
How do you treat the person around you?
What does your body look like?

2. Decide what is in your way and how you will beat it.

Although I prefer evening workouts, they are far too easy to skip, so I moved them to the mid-morning.

The problem with the mid-morning for me is not feeling that energized, so I ordered a pre-workout (Pre Jym. I’ll do a review soon!).

I also have the problem of going to the gym and saying, “Ugh, IDK what to do, so I’ll just do these 3 easy things and leave.” So, I went through Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred program I’ve been meaning to start for, like, ever, and plugged it into my planner so I know exactly what I’m going to do when I get there.

I also put money on it so I have to donate it to a group I really can’t stand if I don’t follow through.

3. Start saying “no” to non-priority items.

Do whatever it takes to get rid of things that are not a priority. If fitness is truly a priority, you have to make room for it. That means sacrificing time at the bar/playing videos/surfing the internet.

This doesn’t have to be forever, just stick with these priorities for a few weeks until you hit your goal. Everyone and everything else can wait, but you don’t have to cut out fun things for the rest of your life.

Trying to make excuses is one of the common pitfalls for starting new habits. “Oh you mean I can’t ever drink again?!” No, it just means you have to stop having seven beers every night after work.

It’s much easier to keep something in motion once it’s started than to start. Just focus on building the habit and the rest will come.

Care Now or Pay Later

You have two options:

1. You can pay attention to your health now
2. Or you can regret not paying attention to it later.

“But I have great genetics. My grandparents lived into their 90s.” Yeah, well your grandparents didn’t have delivery pizza, fast food, or any of the other horrific choices out there people call nutrition.

Most people don’t care about their health until they have their first brush with death.

When I worked as a personal trainer, I’d have to say at least 99% of my clients came in because they were facing horrible health problems. Blown out knees due to weight, heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, couldn’t get pregnant due to their weight… Most preventable.

Why do we wait to do this?

In our 20s, we go through college packing on the pounds and as soon as we graduate, we get a job that keeps us busy and then pack the weekends with friends/family instead of finding time to go to the gym. Who cares? We’re young and life is about having fun, right? YOLO.

Studies show time and time again that what you do in your 20s sets up the rest of your life. Your money, your career, your relationships, your children, your health… the blueprint is laid in this defining decade.

You just simply need to start.

Which, I understand, isn’t easy. There is a lot of psychology behind starting a new habit, but if you don’t make the choice now, you will be one of those 40-year-old parents who sit on the sidelines of the playground watching your children play because you are far too out of shape to play with them.

I’d estimate about 99% of fitness blogs out there focus on one of two things: Getting in shape so you can have “the bikini body”/”the six pack”, or “I’m fat and I’m proud and fuck you” feminism type of idea. Neither one usually focuses on your actual health. Do you have a good resting heart rate? Could you run to save your life if you had to? Can you pick your children up without risking throwing out your back?

Most people will not die from their horrible health choices in their 20s, but don’t think it ever just “goes away”. You have to face the consequences eventually.

Vanity is great, and I am aware that is the single reason most people in their 20s do exercise, but the bigger goal is: Build your dream body so you have the strength to build your dream life.

Anyone who is serious about their health knows that the reason is deeper than what they see in the mirror. It’s having the energy at the end of a work day to work on your side business, it is having the energy to take your family out and be able to keep up with them, it is about feeling confident so you have the mentality to go after that dream job. I put in my time at the gym so I won’t have to be hindered later on in life by my poor health choices.

It took me having an ulcer to finally get me on the path to health, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I see friends now who are in their 30s and want children but their bodies won’t do it because they have too much weight on them. I see women who never lifted who end up in wheelchairs at 60 because they don’t have enough muscle to hold up their own body. I see dads die in their 40s from heart attacks and leave a wife and kids behind. This is the state of health in America.

But, I can’t want health for you. You have to want it for yourself.

If you don’t know where to get started or what to do, stay posted because I have some things launching this summer right here on this website.