This article has been written for Canadian Physique Alliance – Nov/Dec 2020 Edition


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Seasons Treatings! Wow how time flies! Here we are the holiday season nearly upon us. Thanksgiving a few days away as I write this, American Thanksgiving next month then it is the Christmas season and New Year’s. All of these amazing united events for us to get together and enjoy time with our loved ones friends and family.

With that, I know what you all are thinking, comes food. Well that’s what this piece is about, holiday food and how we can use these fun and festive events, dinners and meals, all of it to our best and most effective advantage and benefit.

First of all let me say how wonderful it is that all of us reading this and writing this get to experience those times. How we should never feel negatively imposed upon by these times no matter at what point it is in our season. In season, off-season, pre-contest or post contest. We should always keep a positive mindset and invite these times with excitement and positive anticipation.

For all the competitive athletes out there, I remember when I was competing, how daunting it seemed when I was in prep and something like Thanksgiving or Christmas or a holiday event where there was one of those dinners and all of that food available, was an issue not a blessing.

Not only was it daunting but there was a pressure because I felt like I needed to partake with everyone in what they were eating or I would be rude or worse left out. Well if anyone feels like that let’s break this down and get some peace of mind and find some freedom in all of this.

If you are in prep and it’s a Sunday or Monday (whatever day) dinner well simply bring your food. If there’s a certain nutrition program that can be worked into a holiday dinner because there is meat and veggies available or there is a clean carbohydrate source being prepared find out and work it into your plan. If there is not, again just bring your food do not opt out. Please by no means avoid such times, just come prepared. It’s these times, these moments with friends, family and loved ones that we should not ever miss. It’s about the time together, be not repelled by something as simple as food.

If it is your family preparing it request that there be some food appropriated to meet your plan. Or help with the preparation of this wonderful family meal and include what you need in the preparation. IMPROVISE ADAPT OVERCOME. Don’t retreat, don’t give in or give up just make it happen, cover your needs and enjoy with everybody.

season treatings

That food can not only be enjoyed but help with prep and those gains! Perhaps you’re able to have one of these meals as a re-feed if it’s super clean. Awesome! If it’s a little dirty, then a cheat meal (even more awesome). So if that aligns, work that out between you and your coach and plan that appropriately. I work with clients every season to do this to the best of our ability. If something is impossible I instruct them to take their food enjoy the time and take some of the food and freeze it for the next plan or re-feed meal if applicable.

If it is off-season and you are in the what we call here at AF, lean gain phase, commonly referred to as bulking, however we much prefer gaining lean so that it’s much easier on your body and there’s not a necessarily fluff to take off come prep time. Now, this food and all of it that is available, well it’s very easy to get in the mindset that eating as much as possible at any given opportunity is the best plan.

I strongly disagree and I must instruct against that mindset. But eating without a plan at any time is not appropriate for the competitive athlete. Tactically planning and strategically advancing in our season no matter what portion of it we are in is always the best approach. To use this food and its calorie density for gaining muscle fuelling workouts and also enjoying of course is very easy to do. Don’t just gorge yourself, eating for purpose and coupling that with enjoyment and friends and family should always be taken seriously.

If you are in the  off-season  lean gain  clean bulking phase, just look at how cool this is you get Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s to be able to use to your benefit with all of that food available. Post training meals, taking leftovers and reheating it for those post training meals or a cheat meal once a day if that is part of your plan or on your set day of week.

Always listen to your coach always plan appropriately and strategically. Most of all face all of this with a healthy, food friendly, positive mindset. After all, food is our most effective tool in our arsenal if approached properly. So use it to your best advantage over  these holidays with friends, family and loved ones. Wholesome homemade food is beneficial to help us on our plans to get us to our absolute best.

Enjoy with freedom and peace of mind eventful time over the holiday season my friends.

All of my best to everyone out there.
Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays.