I received an email the other day from my friend Jeff Anderson (aka The Muscle Nerd). I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was composed of the perfect blend of humorous sarcasm and TRUTH. Those two things blended together always touch me in a way that nothing else can. I LOVE IT!
Anytime we learn something while we are laughing about it at the same time, it helps what we’ve learned to stick in our brain.
(Gee, Jeff, I hope no one in your family reads my blog! If they do, be sure to send me another email telling me about the next family get together. )
Begin Hilarious Email from Jeff:
Ok, this was the plan, Lori…18 hour drive from Chicago to upstate NY on Wednesday of this week…Thanksgiving holiday with my parents, sisters, etc. on Thursday…out on Friday.
Short, sweet, and no time to dig deep into dysfunctional family arguments.
Then my grandmother passed away last week, forcing us to move our trip up to come out for the funeral. Thinking this was my “out” for the holiday (c’mon Lori…you can’t expect me to travel 18 hours each way TWICE in 2 weeks, right?), I was in for a surprise…
…snow squalls between Chicago and NY…ALL DAMN WEEK!
What should have been 3 days in and out is now turning out to be 11 DAYS…stranded in HELL!
You see, my parents live in a tiny little town in the mountains that forces you to live like a bit character on “Little House On The Prarie”…nothing but a Wal-Mart, a few pizza joints, and a liquor store.
I remember someone once saying that as adults, we should never stay in the same house as our parents for longer than 3 days. I now understand WHY and I’ve begun checking on the waiting period for a handgun permit in New York state.
Part of the problem? The inherent challenge of staying in shape over these 11 days amidst all the stress and trying to scrape together a healthy diet.
There’s not a single gym or health food store within driving distance and my parents’ pantry is filled with what amounts to a bazillion boxes of refined carbohydrates and bottles of high-fructose corn syrup!
But I think I’ve turned the corner and for those of you who may find yourself in similar circumstances over the holidays, I offer you my own personal…
…”How To Stay In Shape (And Out Of Prison) Over The Holidays” plan!
I’ve broken my own “Survival Plan” up into a MORNING and an EVENING set of strategies.
In the MORNING…
TRAIN! Simple as that!
Training in the morning jacks up your metabolism the rest of the day because your muscles are using body fat to fuel your recovery efforts.
I went down into my parents’ private junk yard (aka “the basement”) and found a water pipe I can use as a pull up bar to hit my back, shoulders and arms depending upon whether I have my hands facing in or away from me, followed by some hanging knee raises for abs.
Putting my feet up on the stairs for some elevated pushups, I can also hit my chest the “old fashioned” way!
For legs, I stand at the bottom of the stairs, facing away from them and stick one foot behind me on one of the steps. Slowly dropping my body down, I can do some brutal one-legged stationary lunges to hit both my hams and quads pretty hard.
After a good “muscle” workout, the crap my parents have in their cupboards is actually what my muscles are craving so they can use the sugar rush to replenish muscle glycogen and aid in new muscle growth. A sizable protein shake (using some generic tub of whey I found at the local Wal-Mart) goes great with the white flour pancakes my mom has made for my son each morning!
I’ve been knocking out this morning training program each day in just about 20-30 minutes of an intense gut-buster so it actually gives me a great window of opportunity where the sludge they call ”food” in these parts doesn’t have that negative effect it would have if I weren’t taxing my body along the way.
(BONUS POINTS: Your family sees you training and they either think YOU think you’re “better than them” or they’re inspired to do something about their own depressing bodies. Either way…YOU WIN!)
In the EVENING…
I try to limit my carb intake from about 5pm on to avoid fat storage at night while I sleep.
However, after a full day of putting up with “lessons on how to raise my son” and guilt trips, I’m usually jones’n for a coconut custard pie and a shovel to help numb the pain by 7pm.
===> Solution #1: “Smart Desserts”!
1 cup of low fat cottage cheese with a scoop of my chocolate whey protein powder mixed in and you’d swear you were eating chocolate cheesecake!
Mmmmm…muscle building goodness!
===> Solution #2: Red wine!
I normally have 1 glass of red wine each night with dinner, but hey…this is a “special occasion” so I’m making an exception and making it 2 GLASSES while I’m stuck here!
My parents are looking at me and wondering if I need a 12 step program, but I tell them that the antioxidants in the wine are good for me and suggest they drink also. (I figure if we ALL had 2 glasses of wine, we’d get along MUCH better!)
But seriously Lori…wine does reduce stress, contains antioxidants, and is a vasodilator so it helps with blood flow in transporting nutrients to your muscles.
Probably most importantly, it helps to reduce cortisol levels in your body.
I’ve dedicated a whole section in my Combat The Fat Program to the harmful effects of cortisol and how to keep it from slapping mounds of fat onto your body. It’s one of the main culprits you have to deal with when trying to lose weight and you absolutely MUST get this hormone under control to maximize your fat burning.
Anyway, I hope my own survival plan will help many of YOU cope with the stress and fitness challenges that await you this holiday season.
But if I don’t make it and you see my face plastered on a “Most Wanted” poster at your local post office, think about how valuable these tips were for you and look the other way should you see my white mini-van taking the back roads to Mexico, ok?
Thanks for helping a brother muscle nerd out, Lori!
Your “Champion For The Average Joe & Jane”
The “Muscle Nerd”