The holidays are here and Thanksgiving is tomorrow (depending on when you read this). Rather than stressing out, you can still burn fat over Thanksgiving while enjoying a nice family meal.
Forget about scouring the internet for tricks and shortcuts to speed up your results. In this article, I’m going to give you a no B.S. rundown of what not to do, and more importantly what to do to improve your fat loss results.
I’ve got 8 tips to burn fat over Thanksgiving, helping you prevent holiday weight gain so you can make progress and lose inches the smart way.
1) Limit Isolation Exercises to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving
The next time you go to the gym I want you to take a minute or two to observe where most of the members spend their time. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people are using machines, oftentimes seated while doing so.
This isn’t to say that machines are bad because, hey I like to hit some leg curls or extensions from time to time.
But, and it’s a big but (pun intended) you should prioritize compound movements in your training.
Why do compound movements when you could sit and relax on a machine?
- With compound movements (think squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, chins, rows, lunges, etc) you recruit more muscle fibers. A squat, for example, will hit more muscle groups than just doing a seated leg extension. This is why compound exercises are the perfect choice to burn fat over Thanksgiving. You can enjoy your holiday meal and still get results.
- Compound lifts will be better to burn fat over Thanksgiving because they’ll burn more calories.
- At the very least, start your workout with big, compound lifts, and finish with machine stuff if you choose.
2) Don’t Go Crazy With Warming Up
It seems like lately people are spending more time during their warmup than lifting some damn weight. And, to burn fat over Thanksgiving, spending too much time warming up is going to be a waste of your time.
If your warmup takes more than 15 minutes MAX, please rethink how you’re going about that. I wrote an article a while back on warmup drills you can do before lifting some heavy weights. You can read that here.
A lot of people have gotten realllllly carried away with stretching/mobilizing/flossing every nook and cranny of their body that they’ve lost sight of the main purpose of being in the gym.
To look better, feel better, and move better.
My online clients are busy people. They don’t have an extra 30 minutes to spend rolling around when they could be lifting. Funnily enough, many people fail to realize that lifting can actually improve your mobility and range of motion if done properly.
Unless you’re a circus performer, do you really need to be able to do the splits or toss your legs behind your head?
Instead, work towards a full range of motion with compound exercises to drastically enhance mobility.
Because at the end of the day, foam rolling isn’t gonna burn fat. You still need to train hard.
*Note- Don’t get me wrong and think that I’m anti-warmup or stretching or mobility stuff. Just don’t get super carried away with it that you run out of time to actually LIFT and get stronger.
3) Group Classes Aren’t Very Effective
Having worked in a commercial gym for 2 years, I know exactly how these group classes work. The instructor takes a large class through an array of exercises, makes em sweat, and they leave feeling exhausted.
The biggest problem though, is there’s no type of progression in place at most commercial gyms. Every class is just a random hodge-podge workout, often using exercises that I honestly can’t actually call exercises.
Balancing like the karate kid while doing curls is not the most effective use of time. It’s also not the most effective way to burn fat over Thanksgiving.
However, group classes can be a fantastic addition to an existing gym routine. You want to make sure the instructor knows what they’re doing, and also that there is some sort of tracking involved.
How will you, or the instructor for that matter, know if progress is being made if there isn’t any way to track things? A group class structure where you train with the same movements for a period of time and gradually increase the sets, reps, or weight each week would be a great start.
Simply going to a jam-packed group class where you’ll do a random workout every single time isn’t the most efficient strategy to help you burn fat over Thanksgiving.
If you do want to burn fat over Thanksgiving, make sure that in a group setting you’re still doing the compound lifts, or at the very least, variants of them.
4) Follow a Logical Plan to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving
Building a little on the last point, you’ll have a tough time making significant progress just “going to the gym.”
What I mean is this: Some people go to the gym with a plan of what they will do that particular day. Others simply go to the gym and do whatever they feel like doing.
If you want to get real results, you should be following a program of some sort. You need to be able to compare your results from one week to the next and track weights, sets, and reps to see if what you’re doing is improving.
To burn fat over Thanksgiving, I’d recommend training with higher volumes during your workouts. This means you should lift in the 6-15 rep range on average and use weights that are moderately heavy.
If you want to preserve muscle mass and burn fat over Thanksgiving at the same time, then follow these guidelines.
5) Be Consistent With Workouts
Let’s say your current training routine is set up as a 4-day split. If you miss just one of those four sessions, then you’re missing out on 25% of the work you were supposed to do.
Of course, life gets in the way. Things happen. Unexpected events occur. But many times we’ll skip a workout for no good reason. It’s really important to be consistent day-in and day-out.
I’ve talked a lot about consistency in previous articles. There’s a good reason for that. Being consistent is a huge component to your success. Without it, you’ll pretty much be spinning your wheels and wasting your time.
Forget what the internet says about “the best time to workout” or training when you’re in the “fat burning zone.”
To burn fat over Thanksgiving you simply need to be consistent.
The best time to train depends on YOU. Do it when you can make it a priority for that hour or so. It can be morning, noon or night. Whenever you can get it done is what you should go with.
But, that doesn’t excuse you from missing workouts later in the day because you chose to do something else. To put it pretty cut and dry: if you don’t treat your workouts similar to your job, you’ll get fired pretty quickly. Imagine if you only showed up to work 75% of the time. That wouldn’t be too good.
Get your work in and reap the rewards.
6) Add Some Cardio to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving
A lot of people are on opposite ends of the spectrum with cardio. They either think they’re the energizer bunny and do insane amounts of cardio or neglect it altogether.
The amount of cardio you do really comes down to what your goals are. If you’re a marathon runner, then you’ll probably be doing a bit more cardio than say a powerlifter.
If you’re the type of person that can just do endless amounts of cardio, keep in mind that cardio is still a stressor to the body. More is not always better. If an overabundance of cardio is hindering your ability to recover then it’s not having the benefits you’re probably thinking it does.
On the other hand, doing absolutely zero cardio is not what I would recommend for most people. My clients who are looking to lose body fat and improve their quality of life do some cardio but not a ton.
If you want to burn fat over Thanksgiving, you can use low intensity, steady-state cardio, or include some metabolic conditioning circuits, like those found in my ‘Metabolic Fat Loss’ manual.
If you want a copy for yourself, to help you burn fat over Thanksgiving, shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you the details.
Cardio can have a nice impact on body composition, recovery, general health and well being, and can help you burn fat, too. Some people despise it, while others would only do cardio if that could get them the body they wanted (you need weights too 😉 )
7) Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving by Focusing on Diet ‘Big Rocks’
What’s the number one most important consideration in diet success to burn fat?
If you’ve read any of my other articles then you know the answer.
To burn fat over Thanksgiving, total calories matter above everything else. Calories are more important than food quality, nutrient timing, and fancy supplements put together.
This means you should focus on total calories first before worrying about other less important details. Of course the other stuff matters, just not as much as understanding calorie balance.
In terms of gaining or losing weight, building muscle and boosting strength, the number of calories you consume will always be most important.
Obviously, health is a big concern for many people, as it is for me as well.
What you’ll often find is that when you get your calories going in the right direction, you feel better, look better, and are most likely improving health markers like cholesterol and blood pressure as well.
8) Avoid Mainstream Diet “Fads” to Burn Fat Over Thanksgiving
I got trapped. Back when the whole “gluten free” craze started, I read tons of different articles and the book “Wheat Belly.” I thought avoiding wheat was the cure to burn fat and get into amazing shape.
Ha, was I wrong. I’ve been wrong a lot, but this is probably one of those things that I look back on and think, “Man, I love bread. Why the heck would I trade that in?”
*Quick note- I’m not debating the fact that some people have Celiac’s Disease. These people have a severe sensitivity to gluten and just can’t have it at all. However, from my latest findings, this is only about 3% of people.
Anyway, why do people lose weight and think they’re getting healthier by eliminating gluten? Well, mostly because a lot of foods with gluten also have tons of other added ingredients and extra calories. So, it’s not the gluten that’s the problem for most people struggling with their weight.
It’s the additional calories in many of the foods containing gluten that do them in.
It all comes back to total calories. Eat all the gluten in the world and you can still lose weight. Just as long as your calories are in line.
Another popular word in the last 10 years or so is “Paleo.” A lot of people jumped on the paleo bandwagon.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. I’ll tell you what, the main principles of this type of eating make a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately, following a Paleo diet does not necessarily mean you’ll burn fat more than someone who doesn’t follow Paleo.
On the plus side, you don’t need to avoid carbs, bread, or potatoes to burn fat over Thanksgiving.
Like anything diet related, it seems like the extremes always show up more but what really works is a balance of all nutritional aspects.
With some Paleo circles, it’s a sin to have any processed food, gluten, or sugars etc. I feel like this leads to more patterns of disordered eating than focusing on getting healthier, stronger, and more fit.
While Paleo is a great base diet, it’s simply too strict in food choices to work for the majority of people. Use it as a base, but adjust it accordingly to fit your own personal goals.
Plus I’d still like a beer every now and then 😉