July 4th, The Cheat Meal, and Knowing How to Live
First and foremost, Happy 4th of July weekend! This weekend we celebrate independence, perseverance, freedom, and hot dogs! Seriously though, grab a service man or woman and hug them. I don't care what your personal politics are, whether or not you believe in combat, or if you live in an igloo. These are individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes, and have done since pre-1776, to preserve our freedom known as America!
This weekend also marks the sort of "mid-way" point of summer. Cookouts and long nights drinking become the norm this time of year. We find ourselves in the company of friends, food, and alcohol on a more regular basis. Summer is the best season of the year (especially for the northeastern states who experienced a much prolonged winter this year).
I want all of you to eat clean, train hard, rest right, and stay focused on your fitness. Yet, I also want you to live, be happy, and be free. So, I decided to compile my TOP 3 strategies for staying fit and focused, and STILL HAVING FUN this summer season!
Let me know what you guys think!
1. Stop with F.O.M.O.
For those of you who don't live in the abbreviated world, FOMO is "fear of missing out". We all get this feeling every now and again when we are home alone and our friends are doing something fun. We are afraid of missing out on great stories, laughs, and being apart of the social scene. All of this goes into our perception of self, and our need for attention, and a sense of belonging. I'm not going to bore you with WHY you are afraid of missing a good-time, but here is why you should stop worrying.
Do anything enough times and the luster wears away. I remember back in college I used to love going out on both nights every weekend. Every Friday afternoon would bring about a very focused and driven workout at the ERC. I'd get in the car with my roommate and go to Giant. We'd buy steaks, or chicken breast, and sometimes we'd splurge and buy shrimp, then grill those bad boys up when we got home. We'd make some mac-and-cheese, or mashed potatoes, or even spaghetti to make sure we could hold our own. We'd part ways for a few hours and I'd shower, play Call of Duty, listen to tunes, and sip on a few beers. Eventually, we'd open the doors to our bedrooms, grab the liqour bottles, meet our friends at the front door and pre-game until we were finally ready to hit the bar scene. We'd go out, "rage" as we called it, hit on girls, get turned down by girls, act like we dance, drink too much, shoot pool, stumble to get food, get on the drunk bus, stumble home, and pass out.
Saturday started with a hangover, Chipotle, and a ton of laying in bed watching movies until I could move, I'd drink water and gatorade, finally go workout, and essentially repeat the whole night again. Sunday...well that hurt sometimes.
I share with you in vivid detail because those were my nights. I loved them then, and even look back at them now with fondness. Yet, after a few months, then years of the same behaviors; I realized I wasn't missing anything anymore. The bars got boring, the girls got uglier, the hangovers were worse, and my motivation to be productive was minimal.
After a while guys all of the fun wears off. So, understand that you don't have to do everything. SAVE UP those good times and enjoy them when they happen. I personally "go-out" once or twice a month now. Rarely, do I drink more then a few cocktails. It is about getting out of my routine, and enjoying time with close friends.
So, find yourself a strategy and attend only the things that matter most, or seem the most unique. Stop doing the same-old every weekend, and you'll find you'll feel better, and look better too!
2. Eat UP to the COOKOUTS
A lot of people cut down on eating on weekends in which they are attending or hosting a cookout. Seems like a solid strategy to reduce caloric intake in preparation for a caloric explosion...right?
The best method would be to eat as normal as possible all the way up to the event. For example, if you normally eat 4 egg whites and some oatmeal for breakfast, some chicken breast and sweet potatoes for lunch, and post-workout shake all before 3pm on Saturdays...then stick with it. You'll reduce your hunger when you are at the cookout.
But Kevin I want to eat some burgers and have a few beers, why would I be full?
Eating up to your cookout won't ruin your appetite. It will simply cut down on the snacking, and "grazing" habits many people have leading up to being served the main dishes. Focus on eating the proteins and fruits available, and skip the chips.
EXTRA PLUS SIDE: skipping the chips gives you a chance to enjoy your beers without feeling guilty!
3. FAST DOWN after a long night. Train yourself too!
There you are, lying in bed. The room is blurry and your skull is pounding. Those extra shots of Fireball at 2am weren't the best bet were they? You burp, and your breathe smells like pizza, oh crap, you had pizza at 3am. Well, the damage is done and you are firmly entrenched in your hangover. What do you do to salvage your metabolism?
First, skip the hangover meal. All that grease and fat may feel good and make your stomach less upset with you, but truth is, it is just another calorie bomb that primes you to have another bad diet day! Instead, drink as much water as you can handle to hydrate your cells. Sprinkle in some salt to add needed electrolytes. Have a cup of black coffee to knock off the rust, and take your Multivitamin.
Next, go take a shower, brush your teeth, and do your business. Try your best to be productive and "empty" your system of last night by using the toilet, cleaning your mouth, and washing your body. This will be so refreshing!
Today your goal is to fast at least 12 hours from your last meal. Translation: You ate that pizza at 3AM, and so you want to deplete yourself of calories until at least 3PM. This temporary form of intermittant fasting will help you finish dealing with last night, and return your insulin sensitivity to near its baseline.
Break your fast with a high protein meal loaded with carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. The goal is to feed the beast, and give it nutrients it so desperately needs.
Now, go work out. It doesn't have to be your best effort, but damn sure should break a sweat and cause you to lose your breathe. Increasing your metabolic rate, when paired with a healthy meal will help you reset your body into GO mode.
Return home, shower again, and have a healthy protein packed dinner with fiber and fats (salmon on spinach with asparagus is great!) and go to bed at a reasonable time. You are now back on the wagon!
Hope you like these strategies guys. Much love!