4 Strategies To Avoid Unwanted Weight Gain over the Holidays

 To celebrate the rapidly approaching holidays and the launch of my brand new course, 30 Days of Fat Loss: A Pre-Holiday Fat Burning Challenge, I’m excited to share this article with you in which I reveal 4 strategies to prevent weight gain during the holidays.

Enjoy and, if you want to apply to join the 30 Days of Fat Loss Challenge email me at ryanwoodtraining@gmail.com.


I absolutely love the holidays. It’s a time to get together with family and enjoy the holiday spirit. It’s also a season known for food.

Lots and lots of food.

Admittedly, one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving and Christmas so much, aside from quality time spent with my family, are all of the delicious and yummy treats floating around non stop.

For many  people, the holidays can be tough if weight gain isn’t your goal. And for most people, gaining weight is not the goal.

With a surplus of calorie dense foods everywhere you turn, the holidays tend to set a lot of people back in terms of excessive weight gain and increases in body fat.

There is a way around this however.

I used to be just like you every time the holidays came around. Rather than fully enjoying my time at home visiting with friends and family, I constantly worried about getting “fat” over the holidays. But, over time I’ve come to realize that it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

You can still enjoy your favorite foods without worrying.

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t automatically mean you’ll gain loads of weight.

You should aim to head into the holidays already confident and in good shape, so that you don’t have to constantly stress out about family dinners and large meals.

With a couple months left before the holiday season begins, I wanted to give you some tips to make the holidays the joyous time that they are. There’s no need to be a stressed out mess and worry incessantly about every single thing you eat.

I want you to be able to enjoy holiday dinners with your family.

And I certainly don’t want you feeling guilty if you have a piece of pie, or an extra helping of creamy mashed potatoes with gravy.

Bottom line: I want you to enjoy the holidays as much as I do.

As long as you put in the work ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up for a very enjoyable holiday season free of worrying, setbacks, or weight gain.

Below are 4 strategies to help you avoid gaining weight over the holidays.

1) Diet before the Holidays

You want to enjoy the holidays right?

I know I sure do.

If you’re anything like me, you want to look good and eat your cake too.

Instead of dieting during the holidays, get it over with before the get together’s and family meals begin.

Set aside 4 weeks to drop body fat, gain strength, and feel more confident going into this holiday season.

To get you started, be sure to read my free fat loss manual, which you can get here. This guide will give you everything you need to know about dropping body fat, including how to set up your diet and how to train most effectively to blast fat.

There are several reasons why it’s best to attack fat loss prior to the holidays.

First, there’s less temptation because you won’t be going to nearly as many get togethers in October as you probably will around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This will help you stick to your plan with better consistency when you have less distractions that could potentially get in your way.

Second, by dropping body fat before the holidays, you will feel a sense of new confidence in your body. You’ll be much less likely to binge at those holiday parties because you won’t feel the need to.

You will still be able to enjoy your favorite foods and treats because you laid the ground work in the previous months.

Being able to enjoy yourself with family and friends will be very mentally refreshing and a nice reward for putting in the hard work leading up to then.

2) Prioritize resistance training

In order to lose body fat and reveal muscle you need to be lifting weights. Too many people neglect the importance of weight training when trying to lose weight.

Instead, they severely cut their calories and do lots of cardio. What happens is they end up dropping weight but a good part of it comes from muscle.

Then you end up with “skinny fat.” Ain’t nobody got time for that. We want lean and strong.

During a fat loss phase, the goal is not only to lose body fat but also to preserve lean mass, aka muscle.

Muscle is what gives the body it’s contour. Whether you prefer the terms “toned”, “ripped”, “lean”, or “defined”, they all mean pretty much the same thing.

The way to get this look is through sound nutrition and resistance training.

Training for hypertrophy is your best bet during a fat loss phase. This style of training is higher volume than general strength training, and is mostly performed in the 8-12 rep range.

High volume resistance training will provide the body with enough stimulus to preserve muscle while in a caloric deficit.

This is a good thing. A very good thing.

Why anyone would want to lose muscle is beyond me. So make sure that you’re lifting weights to spare as much muscle as possible during a fat loss phase.

A lot of people think they need fancy exercises to lose body fat. They think they need to “confuse” the body to keep it guessing in order to make progress.

Well, that’s not the case at all.

All you need is hard work, consistency, good nutrition, and  some basic exercises that have worked for many years.

Below is an example of a 4 day hypertrophy program designed for fat loss.

There’s no magical exercises. No gimmicks or fads. Just the basics because they have been proven time and time again to work remarkably well for fat loss.

   Day 1/Monday/Legs

  1. Squat                                   
  2. Leg press                           
  3. Stiff leg Deadlift               
  4. Calf Raise                           

Day 2/Tuesday/Push

  1. Barbell Bench Press       
  2. Barbell Overhead Press 
  3. Dips                                        
  4. Skullcrushers                    

 Day 3/Thursday/Legs

  1. Deadlift                                  
  2. Glute Bridge                         
  3. Barbell Lunge                    
  4. Calf Raise                        

Day 4/Friday or Saturday/Pull

  1. Overhand Pullup                
  2. Barbell Bent Over Row    
  3. Lat Pulldown                     
  4. Barbell Curl                        

Start out with 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each exercise. Then, the following week you can add a set, add weight, or add some weight and an extra set. This way you are increasing your volume from week to week, and making progress.

3) Adopt a Flexible Nutritional Approach

For many, following a rigid diet plan doesn’t work. Whether it’s too complicated or just too difficult to follow, some people prefer to utilize a more flexible approach.

I use both approaches with my clients with great success.

Here is one of my female clients who has done well following a more structured plan:

Oct 2014 121 July 2015 125

 Oct 2014 121       July 2015 125

The most interesting thing here is that she actually gained weight, but got noticeably leaner. While some people aim to drop the number on the scale, I think if you lose body fat and improve overall composition then the scale number doesn’t really matter so much.

Now, here’s a male client who keeps an insane work schedule. Because of this, we choose to utilize a more flexible approach with his nutrition.Shanti progress pictures

We make sure his total caloric intake is in check, and that he’s eating enough protein.

Now, when the holidays roll around, you may prefer a more flexible approach to your nutrition.

You’ve made great progress and you don’t want to throw it all away, right?

Don’t worry.

We all will have parties, family gatherings, and big holiday dinnners to go to.

Instead of just gorging non-stop for several months, try to think a little more strategically about your nutrition.

Understand your caloric needs, and your required protein amounts. Plan ahead just a little bit if you know you will be attending a big dinner or feasting with the in laws.

Because the holidays are usually packed with ridiculous amounts of delicious foods, your goal should be to maintain as close to your starting bodyweight as possible. You’ve just dropped body fat leading up to the holiday season, and you’ve got a new bodyweight you feel great about.

Aim to stay within a couple pounds of that bodyweight throughout the holidays.

The way to do this is to be flexible and smart with your nutrition.

Maybe you eat a bit less on a day where you know you will be feasting at night. Stick to lean proteins and veggies during the day, and be sure to get your resistance training sessions in.

On special dinner days with family, make sure you resistance train that day so that the extra calories you consume will be put to good use, and help to keep you from going too far over your maintenance requirements.

My ebook that I mentioned above goes into how to figure out calorie needs, as well as protein, carb, and fat amounts.

Knowing that the holidays are filled with sweets and baked goods, you can assume that you will have no trouble hitting your carb and fat amounts.

If you can prioritize protein you will be one step closer to preventing unwanted holiday weight gain.

Be flexible with your nutrition over the holidays. This is a time when it’s especially important for families to be together.

And again, aim to maintain your bodyweight during this time. Once the holiday season is over, you can then decide if you’d like to begin another fat loss phase.

4) Consistency Is King

I’ve talked already about enjoying your holiday time.

Nobody wants to suffer through family dinners, or feel guilty about what they’re eating when spending family time together should be most important.

While it is very important not to stress too much about the holiday food situation, I know you will probably have control over most of your meals.

This means you can still stay on track during those meals. Don’t use the holiday’s as an excuse to flat out binge for two months. Be consistent over the holiday season by placing an emphasis on protein, and keeping an eye on total calories.

If you know you get roughly 2,000 calories, maybe you want to save yourself 1,500 of those calories for your family dinner.

As long as you stay relatively close to your calorie goal, your bodyweight will remain fairly consistent.

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t automatically mean you have to gain 20 pounds. You can enjoy all of your favorite foods and still stay on track. The key is not over indulging. Just because there’s unlimited amounts of food and dessert at your fingertips doesn’t mean you have to eat until you’re sick.

Make sure you stay consistent with your training, keep your calories in check, and enjoy time spent with family.

That’s what the holidays are for. Not to be stressed out about what you’re eating.

I know it can be difficult to get going, though, which is exactly why I’ve created 30 Days of Fat Loss: A Pre-Holiday Fat Burning Challenge. To help you get a jump start with your fat loss goals so that you can utilize the tips in this article to prevent unwanted weight gain.

The 30 Day Fat Loss Challenge is specifically designed for men and women who are seeking rapid fat loss, strength gain, and improved confidence. This challenge will be tough, no doubt about it. Only those people who are serious about losing body fat should apply. 

If you work hard , follow the nutritional guidelines, and put in consistent effort you will rapidly lose body fat.

This challenge is not made for athletes, strength sport folks, or those who are already at a very low body fat percentage.

Here’s what you get when you join the challenge:

  • 4 weeks of individualized fat loss training
  • Your own customized nutrition guidelines for rapid and maintainable fat loss
  • Strategies to stay consistent and motivated
  • Ongoing support to ensure you lose fat fast

Follow the course to a T and you will:

  • lose fat fast
  • gain strength
  • lose inches around your waist
  • improve your self confidence
  • feel remarkable and worry free going into the holidays

If you want to get in on the 30 Days of Fat Loss: A Pre-Holiday Fat Burning Challenge shoot me an email at ryanwoodtraining@gmail.com. Be sure to put “FAT LOSS CHALLENGE” in the subject line.

I’m offering this at a heavily discounted rate, but am limiting spots to only 20 applicants. If you’re serious about committing to 30 days of rapid fat loss send me an email to let me know you want in.




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