I know I have been talking a lot about bulking up and building muscle lately, so this post is for all the lean machines out there! Yes, you won’t be walking around with your top off, but it is great to keep your six pack intact during the winter break. People tend to overeat starting from Thanksgiving all the way to New Years, and if you are lousy about your training and cardio, you might have packed on a couple of pounds and have trouble seeing your abs. Here are some tips to stay lean this holiday:
1. Low carbs
Going low carbs for a couple days (2 to 4 days max) will kick your body into fat-burning mode. A guideline for low carbs here in this case would be 1 g of carbohydrates per bodyweight in lbs. You want to have a steady release of energy throughout the day, so low GI foods like oatmeals, brown rice and apples will be best. By the time you are done with low carbs, go reward yourself by eating your favorite foods. This will ensure that your weekly calories won’t drop too low but just enough to be making deficit.
2. Circuit training
Especially beneficial if you usually train with normal bodysplit workouts (Monday – Chest, Tuesday – Back etc). This will put your conditioning, strength and endurance to the test; it is also a great way to rev up the calories burnt. A circuit that I particularly enjoy doing is “The Bear”:
- Power Clean
- Front Squat
- Push Press
- Back Squat
- Push Press
There is nothing more intense than grouping together all these power movements together into one workout. Completing the full sequence is considered to be doing one rep and you want to be going for 5 rounds (or 5 sets) for 7 sequences (or 7 reps).
Another circuit that you can consider trying is the Chris Evans Captain America Workout that I wrote about earlier here.
I have always preferred High Intensity Interval Training over steady state cardio – HIIT is simply more fun, more challenging and more effective. What is it though? Well, you can think of it as speed intervals. You warm up on the tracks (or on the treadmill, stairmaster, bicycle etc) for 2 minutes, then you crank up the speed so that you will be sprinting for 30 seconds. You then lower the speed again so that you will be jogging for 90 seconds. Repeat this for 10 – 15 minutes and you are golden. Progression with HIIT can be achieved in 2 ways – shortening the jogging period (say, 60 seconds instead of 90 seconds), or extending the overall HIIT session (20 minutes instead of 15 minutes). You never really want to go over 20 minutes in order to avoid overtraining, especially if you are doing your regular splits during the week.
4. Intermittent fasting
I am not a fan of intermittent fasting, but that doesn’t devalue its effectiveness. I personally know gym goers who practice intermittent fasting and have achieved great results with it – they have become incredibly lean and ripped to the bone! There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, such as 20/4 (20 hours fast followed by 4 hours of eating), 19/5 (same deal as 20/4) etc. If you have never fasted this way before, I recommend starting with a 16 hour fast followed by 8 hours of eating. Make sure you take in a lot of protein during the eating period. Obviously, if this is not your first time, then you can probably push the fasting period by a bit more. Don’t forget to zip on water while fasting.
Okay, it’s not as fun if you don’t get to play outdoors, but playing indoor sports such as Basketball, Squash and Soccer can still make you sweat. Hell, even half an hour of sparring will make you work too. It is also a great way to enjoy your time with your friends and family.
That’s it for now guys. Enjoy your holiday and have a great weekend. Merry Christmas to all the Behind The Workout readers! Don’t forget to subscribe on Facebook!