Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Post 11: Taking a Holiday to Obese-City

Hi Guys,

This week I am on holiday, so see y’all next week… just kidding, the hustle never stops, full stop.

Today we’re talking about an important tool: how to navigate holidays (of the vacation and religious kind), but with a twist: this stuff actually works.

I know you want to enjoy your holiday. You want to let loose. You want to have fun.

It's holiday time #ladsontour

That’s why you’re not going to hear me saying “eat less and exercise more!” or “don’t overdo it!”. That advice is so aged and frankly, dull, that we should not be heeding it anymore. In particular, I don’t see this line of advice being effective when people want to let loose, especially considering that they didn’t heed it during the other weeks of the year! It’s going to be near impossible for you to “work off” the extra food you eat while on holiday but you can manipulate what you have.

I also acknowledge that a lot of people try and slim down for their holidays, but wouldn’t you rather be in that “slimmed down” state all year round? Today we’re going to be learning how you transform your holidays from evil-knievel ramps into speed bumps.

As always, I’ll be practicing what I preach. Starting on 27/06/2016, I weighed-in at 195lbs. This was actually a new low weigh-in for me, so staying around or below this weight was going to be relatively difficult. I’m going to follow up this post with another on Saturday to review my own advice, how it went, and most importantly (for most people out there): how much I weighed.

Save your future self some hassle

We begin with the unfortunate fact that this is going to be an exercise in damage limitation. You can hit all the new low weigh-ins you can in the regular season, but this is the off-season son, the rules are reversed, and greed is good (read step 1).

Take a look at the first episode of the 70lb Down Series (here). It took me 9 weeks (9 freakin’ weeks!) to get back to where I started after the Christmas break, and I lost weight at a very good pace. What about the people out there who could only hope for a 1/2lb loss a week? They’re going to be re-losing that week for a quarter of a year! If Christmas was more like a speed bump, rather than re-eliminating 17lbs, I could have been losing it for the first time!

Let’s unpack that further: that’s an average of 2.4lbs gained a day. That weight was re-lost at a rate of 1.9lbs a week.

This implies that “one day’s worth” of Cowlean-style eating would have saved me a week’s hassle.

That’s an impactful statement.

This is why some pre-commitment goes a long way. Here’s an excellent article from Mark Sisson on pre-commitment, what it is, and why it is effective (link). If we pre-commit to certain behaviours before we go on holiday we might save ourselves weeks of effort in the future. This is an effective tactic to use before going out to eat: look at the menu ahead of time and pick out what you’re going to have.

Step 1: greed is good; become a glutton

This is one of those backward tactics that actually works. Given the chance to eat (a buffet, for example) or you have the money to spend, gorge on the high fat and high protein options. I am literally telling you to overeat.

I dare you to say no to this opportunity.

This is your chance...

The reason I say this is threefold. One, I love stuffing my face until I can’t eat anymore so I understand the impulse. Why not do this when you have the opportunity to have unlimited meat or other protein sources and unlimited vegetables (perhaps with a creamy sauce to pour over as well)? You couldn’t live your whole life this way (at least not for long), but you will certainly get that feeling of indulgence which you might have gone on holiday for while doing relatively little damage.

The second reason is that most people eat way, way, too many carbs. Save the starchy carb sources for the athletes, and instead go nuts on a huge stack of steak and vegetables. You’re going to be eating a more appropriate meal than what you were used to and again, it scratches that indulgent itch!

The third reason is because it helps segue into step 2…

Step 2: skip breakfast if it’s not paid for already

The reason why I give the qualifier is because I know you guys. I know people aren’t going to pay for breakfast and then not eat it; I know I wouldn’t. If it is paid for then practice step 1 at breakfast time, then question whether you need lunch or just a snack. Otherwise, make sure you have an enormous meal the night before then you won’t feel hungry until lunch time.

Who knew getting #wrecked could work in your favour
This is an excellent way to get into intermittent fasting (or Bulletproof IF if you were able to bring/buy butter and have access to a full or hand blender, however unlikely. Full information on using butter and coffee to lose weight here). Even if you’re not used to IF it should be easier due to the mass of food you ate the day before. It should also be noted that if you partied late into the night and woke up around midday, you’ve been on a sort of intermittent fast...

Remember what I said at the beginning of the post? I’m not here to give you dull and useless advice that you’ve heard before; I’m here to give effective and understanding advice! On holiday you want to indulge and I’m providing the crack team who will operate the controlled explosion!

Step 3: exercise for 1 minute a day

That’s right, exercise for 1 minute each day.

Sounds too good to be true? That you could exercise for just one minute and not put on any weight? That’s because it is too good to be true, but this strategy works for other reasons. That’s because the aim of the game is damage limitation.

Remember this is high intensity exercise, but only for 1 minute. Also: this is exercise, not movement. Walking around beautiful cities is excellent for your health but in this case it doesn’t count.

One reason is the hormonal and metabolic benefits that you’ll get from the one minute of high intensity exercise each day. Maybe sprint down the beach, do some burpees in your hotel room, or swim lengths of the pool like a madman. For comic effect, go to your hotel gym and swing a kettlebell for a minute and then leave straight away, all the while making a big show of how hard you just worked.

Those old biddies won't know hit them!
Disclaimer: Cowlean does not endorse violence

The second reason is that one minute can often become more than one minute; just don’t feel like you’re tied to anything more than those 60 seconds. You might go to the gym and swing that kettlebell for a minute, but while you’re there you also spot a bench press and decide to knock out a few easy sets (I prefer to find some dumbbells and perform some curls for the gurlzzz…). You could set out to do that minute of burpees but you decide to do a few sets of crunches as well (just to make your abs pop!...).


Let’s revisit those takeaways and give some parting advice:
  1. Become a glutton
  2. Skip breakfast where appropriate
  3. Perform 1 minute of high intensity exercise a day

Sounds quite easy right? Yep.

Reasonable? Yep.

Quick? Yep.

This post was written with a beach or poolside holiday in mind, but it could easily be applied to a holiday like Christmas. In fact it might even be easier. Food is available and plentiful (especially turkey!), meaning you can eat tonnes in the evening then fast in the morning. Plus, you’ll be near to your local gym so you can carry on your regular workout routine, with any extra carbs you’re shovelling down your gullet being put to good use!

I’m not telling you not to enjoy yourself. In fact I imagine that would lead to reverse psychology and the complete opposite outcome. I’m well aware that holidays are a chance to relax, however, sometimes people come back with more stress than they left with. Not having to lose an additional 5lbs will save you time and stress in the future.

Save yourself some hassle in the future. Go on a Cowlean holiday. Don’t find yourself on a one-way flight to obese-city.


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