Christmas Health Tips

Scott Baptie

by Scott Baptie

Fitness & Sports Nutrition Expert

X-MASS! – More calories, more muscle!

Mulled wine, turkey dinners, mince pies, work Christmas lunches, Christmas pudding...need I go on?

As the festive season draws nearer then the chances are your calorie intake will increase accordingly. Trying to go on a fat loss nutrition diet over Christmas makes as much sense as painting racing strips on a tank. Let's be realistic. Unless you have unbelievable will power, a dislike of Christmas dinners and you feel like being antisocial then the chances are you are going to eat more.

However, you can use this calorie surplus to your advantage. You can use these calories over the Christmas period to try and add some lean muscle to your frame. To build muscle, you need to ensure you consume enough calories so you are in a calorie surplus. As I mentioned before, at this time of year this is not as difficult as it sounds.

As a very rough rule of thumb, on training days, aim to eat around 20kcal per lb of body weight. So, for the 180lb individual this is around 3600kcal. On days when you are not training, ease off on your calorie intake to around 18kcal per lb of body weight. You should eat often throughout the day. The purpose of eating is to prevent hunger, not because you are hungry. Try and eat the majority of these calories with your breakfast, pre-workout and post workout meal. For breakfast try to eat some slow release carbohydrates and protein. This will help provide you with a gradual supply of energy in comparison to eating a largely cereal-based breakfast. Rather than a bowl of cereal and some pieces of toast, opt for some porridge oats with a couple of slices of lean turkey bacon.

Roughly 60-90 minutes before a workout and 60 minutes after a workout, consume a meal consisting of lean protein and slow release carbohydrates such as chicken and sweet potato or some turkey and brown rice. You may also wish to consider adding in a post-workout shake immediately after training. If you do, try and go for one that contains a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

When it comes to filling your Christmas plate, make smart choices. Turkey is a fantastic source of lean protein so go to town with that if you can. Other meats like gammon and beef are also good muscle building foods. For carbohydrates – eat the ones that have greater nutritional value like vegetables and oatmeal as opposed to white potatoes, pastry and bread products.

Maybe this Christmas you can give your body a gift of some extra lean muscle!


Scott Baptie

Scott Baptie (MA Hons) is a fitness and sports nutrition advisor and owner of www.FoodForFitness.co.uk. Scott offers nutritional consultations both online and in person from his base in Aberdeen.

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