Damage Control: The Supplements to Minimize Holiday Cheating

You like getting results when it comes to your fitness, but naturally, you also like eating holiday food that does everything in its power to unravel all the hard work you’ve done. You’re not alone — this is a common problem around the holidays. How can people possibly stick to some goals they set up way back in January when the dessert table is calling in December?

You might be surprised, actually. You can still gain muscle mass and keep working toward a better body, even as you cheat on your diet. You just need to be properly equipped.

GAINING MUSCLE

N’FUZE and AUGMENT: These two supplements’ ability to shuttle carbs into the muscle cell make them great to use during weight training if your goal is weight gain. Specifically, the thioctic acid (alpha lipoic acid), d-pinnitol, 4-hydroxyisoleucine and vanadyl in N’FUZE act as insulin mimickers — that is, they boost the speed of nutrient transportation directly into the cell. If you are going to cheat on your diet, at least pick a time: When you do it post-workout with a dose of N’FUZE, you are maximizing even your cheat meals.

As far as the AUGMENT goes, it helps shuttle long-chain fatty acids into the cell because of the l-carnitine tartrate it contains. Ursolic acid plays a role with oxidation and glycogen uptake, further improving the rate at which those nutrients can be moved from your bloodstream to the muscle cells.

The bottom line: By taking AUGMENT and N’FUZE and planning your cheat meals around your workouts, when your body can actually use the sugars for good.

LOSING WEIGHT

LIPOCORTHERMOVEXKETOLEAN7: What your body does with fatty acids and carbohydrates once they’re consumed makes all the difference between gaining body fat and avoiding the storage of more. Two big-time ingredients in all of the aforementioned products are CLA and l-carnitine tartrate, two ingredients discussed at length before in many NUTRISHOP articles. Let’s recap:

CLA works by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that shuttles fat from the bloodstream to fat cells for storage. Remember, fat cells never go away — they fill and empty, like a water balloon, and when new fat is consumed the blood-to-cell route is how it is stored as body fat. CLA inhibits the enzyme that causes that reaction, meaning a lower likelihood of body fat storage. The great thing about all three products listed above is that they stack, so you can take all three to maximize their efficacy.

A 2011 Dutch study suggests that L-Carnitine L-Tartrate can be used to increase muscle and impact muscle metabolism. Research has indicated that LCLT reduces fat mass — the actual size of the fat cells in your body — and increases muscle mass and reduces fatigue. So, the fact that all three supplements listed here contain LCLT is not a coincidence!

The holidays don’t have to mean “bulking time,” whether you’re a gym rat or consider yourself to be just moderately active. You can fight against the food with fat-burning supplements, holding you over until you get to your New Year’s resolutions instead of falling off the wagon at the end of the year like everyone else.

THE “DR. OZ RECOMMENDED HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS STACK”

Not everything said on TV is true, sure. But that doesn’t mean we should discount it all, either. This is the exact thought when it comes to considering garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean extract and raspberry ketones, all approved and recommended on-air by Dr. Oz. As a catch-all term for these, you could call them anti-inflammatory supplements, but in addition to that are other benefits.

They combine to prevent body fat storage and mitigate the effects you might otherwise take from cheating on your diet —  raspberry ketones help raise the body’s temperature by releasing norepinephrine and also limits the amount of available blood sugar by signaling the release of adiponectin. What this does is 1) create a warmer internal temperature that encourages fat melting and 2) limits the available blood sugar that is most easily converted to fat stores. The overall result is an environment that discourages body fat storage — which very much so comes in handy when holiday drinks and desserts are in abundance.

So, how to get some raspberry ketones? You could eat handfuls of raspberries…but that kind of defeats the purpose. Instead, check out DIOXILEAN 5, which has the ketones, garcinia cambogia and green coffee bean extract mentioned above, a great blend of ingredients that will help you stay lean and fierce throughout the holidays, even while your diet may not be at its best.

No-Excuses November: How to Eat to Beat the Holidays

A buddy of mine recently got excited when he remembered it was November.

“Oh, yes — this is the month where you just eat pie the whole time!”

And he’s not totally wrong, is he?

Yes indeed, November — with Thanksgiving and winter feasts and warm comfort meals — does signal the beginning of some ultimate food temptation. Not to worry: We’ve got a road map to guide you through it all, from foods you can feel free to chow down on to treats you should avoid. And, you might even be surprised at a few of them.

Follow this blog throughout the week for a few of our best tips to holiday eating. If you think you just won’t be able to get through it all, and will definitely have a few “letdown” days, check out our guide on Preparing for the Holiday Health Apocalypse. But if you’re feeling up to a challenge, keep it right here.

CHOW DOWN

Ham, turkey, chicken. These are probably going to be on every table in abundance during the holiday season. And that’s a good thing. Lean meats should be the basis of a muscle-building, fat-burning diet, and assuming you don’t go crazy with gravy or mashed potatoes on the side, you can generally eat to your heart’s content when it comes to lean meat. And if your family likes, for some reason, to involve fish with the feast, that’s even better.

Pumpkin/pumpkin spice: Let’s not get nuts here — we are not recommending you eat nothing but pumpkin pie. However, cooked pumpkin is actually an amazing source of fiber and vitamin K, and you could do much, much worse than a slice of pumpkin pie (especially if you’re comparing it to, say, a chocolate mousse pie). Use Splenda, even, to make an even more guilt-free dessert, and don’t be shy with the cinnamon. Some studies suggest it’s a legitimate, powerful fat burner and good for blood pressure, too. Tell those pumpkin spice haters to get a new hobby.

Beans: Green beans, soups, chili, bean salad — there’s plenty of opportunities to work these hearty winter favorites in to any meal, especially in the holiday season, and we all know how effective they can be at, um…getting things moving. Without getting too gross, the fiber that allows beans to do their magic is essential to flushing unnecessary waste and toxins from the gut, and that means a more efficient digestive system. Bonus points if you can come up with a great baked bean recipe that’s not loaded with sugar, but really, there are endless possibilities.

Sweet Potatoes: Just don’t load them up with butter and that gross marshmallow cream. That’s nasty. Otherwise, bake them or make them into fries, and go to town.

STEER CLEAR

White Potatoes: Mashed, au gratin, whatever — these waistline-enemy spuds usually come with gravy and a second helping, not to mention butter, cheese or whatever else you may find smothering them. With no discernible health benefits and plenty of tasty, healthful alternatives, feel free avoid white potatoes at all costs.

Pecan Pie: Like pumpkin pie, this treat has a healthful, natural food in its name. But this one is absolutely loaded with sugar and butter, making it a calorie bomb that’s nowhere near as friendly as our pumpkin dessert. Shame on you, pecan pie, for using a perfectly good natural food against us.

Gravy: It’s not just the butter or calories that you should be worried about with gravy, but the sodium. One of the most overlooked nutritional downfalls is eating too much salt — it forces your body to retain water, bloating you up and causing discomfort. If you need to douse your food with something, try to cook more flavor into it in the first place with a dry rub or, post-cooking, get your hands on a dijon mustard, or a vinaigrette with olive oil.

PORTION CONTROL

Just about every piece of “eat this, not that” advice we’ve given above can be ruined if you, like so many others on Thanksgiving, decide that your plate must be completely covered and stacked high enough to block the view of your relatives around the table. No, not all calories are equal, but the fact remains: Even if you choose the “healthy” options at your holiday feast, it won’t matter if you’re eating twice as much as a normal meal.

The important thing to remember is that this particular meal is about family and visiting, not the food — that’s just a bonus (a really huge, delicious one). Take your time, enjoy your company, have a little of everything instead of a lot of some things and pay attention to your own gut. If you’re content, stop eating. If you’re full, DEFINITELY stop eating. And if you can’t follow any of that advice, well — enjoy yourself. And then get ready for a killer workout the next day.

Preparing for The Holiday Health Apocalypse

NUTRISHOP Note: This is a multi-entry running article that will be updated daily. Check back for updates throughout the week!

OK, so we overstated things a little bit in our title there.

Hyperbole aside, there’s no getting around it, though: Hallowen represents the official kickoff of the winter holiday season — the four month stretch of typically increased junk food consumption across America every year, and it’s here in just 10 days.

Is a night of costumed kids, scantily clad adults and buckets of candy so bad? Well, for many who are trying to stick to a diet and haven’t been 100-percent locked in to the plan, yes. The temptation alone can cause second thoughts, not to mention the act of a good, old-fashioned chocolate binge for the week after Halloween (we know, you’re just “getting rid of all the extra Snickers” you bought).

This week, we want to help you prepare for Halloween, and it has nothing to do with avoiding the night’s festivities — yes, sweets included — altogether. Instead, we want to load you up with information to help you establish some firm winter guidelines going forward, so that you’ll feel 100-percent guilt-free when you do indeed indulge on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the rest of the face-stuffing days that pepper the upcoming season.

First things first: Identify the enemy. What’s the first step necessary when you’re about to navigate a minefield? Well, it sure helps to know where the mines are. Luckily, in our case, we’ve got them clearly marked on our calendars. Go ahead and circle every big date you know is going to definitely feature some not-so-friendly food. Conveniently, each is just about spread out enough to give us ample recovery and planning time. If you’ve got some extra birthday parties or nine consecutive days of Hanukkah in there, well, you’ll have to be slightly more creative (and we’ll help you then, too). So, go ahead, do it: Make a physical list, hang it on the fridge, write it on your home office whiteboard, whatever. Just make sure you have something in writing that will serve as a reminder of turbulent dieting ahead. Again — you’re not looking to avoid the food these days have to offer, at least not entirely. You’re just planning so that each is a blip on the radar, and not part of a downward trend.

Planning the diet. Obviously, once you get your “here we go” dates marked, you’re going to use them as cheat days. The hard part — making sure you don’t have more than that one, so you don’t get a snowball effect. At first, it sounds easy enough: Sure, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, are going to be high-calorie days, but you can just jump right back into your regular, healthy diet, right? Maybe — if you don’t own any tupperware or saran wrap. Leftovers are the ghosts of our evil, delicious feasts, and haunt us for up to a week after the original meal, even longer when you’re talking about fun-size candy bars. Come up with a plan for those leftovers: Send them home with family, or find a healthier way to repurpose them (extra desserts should be part of the first group; save extra ham for hearty pea soup or omelettes; feel free to toss out leftover cranberry sauce. Ew). And remember, the candy you’re buying for the neighborhood’s kids is for the kids. If you have extra left over, you’ve got an entire school year of perfect, small desserts for bag lunches (for kids). Even better, just take them to your office, throw them in a central location and let your co-workers chow down.

On top of guarding against the junk food aftermath, you really want to be vigilant about what happens beforehand. Get your meal plan on point, especially in the seven days leading up to a day where you know it won’t be (remember, NUTRISHOP offers free meal plans for customers). Eat plenty of protein, vegetables and fiber, and stay hydrated. That way, when the Big Junk Day comes, your body will ramp up its metabolism to process all the strange, high-calorie food with minimal inclination toward storing any of it as body fat.

Planning the workouts. This one is big. Not only do holiday festivities tend to throw a lot of unhealthy food our way, but they also end up robbing us of the physical activity needed to 1) burn the extra calories and 2) maintain or improve upon the hard work we’ve done year-round. It’s an even more delicate time for fledgling healthy people, new in their goals of fat loss and hit with a massive gamut of temptation once fall rolls around. Here’s how to deal with it all.

The first step is creating a workout plan, and deciding how many days a week you want to work out. Even three good workouts a week is solid, but four to six  is ideal, with a little bit of exercise every day (even if it’s a quick walk around the block with your dog or a couple minutes of jumping jacks in the morning) when you don’t go. Once you decide that, you can easily see how many workouts you have headed your way over a given time frame. For example, let’s say you started today, and wanted to get through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas without missing a workout. Easy — scheduling a workout is a much more effective way to get in your work than deciding randomly to go.

In this case, there is a 62-day span we’re talking about, if you were to start now. Let’s cross off the holidays already as non-workout days (though you really could easily get in some exercise on Halloween — the gyms don’t close like they do for the other ones). Now we’re talking about 59 days. If you’re going five days a week, you’ll have 42 workouts in front of you. That leaves you with 17 days off. Seventeen! See? This stuff isn’t THAT hard.

Knowing that you need to get 42 workouts in during this stretch, and that you have 17 off days to burn, helps with making up for lost time along the way. Let’s say one of these days (Christmas Eve, for example) is just way too hectic, or that you’re too hung over the day after Thanksgiving. Name any reason you might miss a workout. The point is that as long as you can recover and squeeze in another one on what might’ve been a day off, you’ll be fine — and sometimes, the extra day of rest will even benefit you.