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Day 7: 12 Days Of Christmas Dieting

I do like this time of year. My competition season is over, no shirt off holidays are planned, the big jumpers come out, and, no one really can tell if you're carrying a little more timber on the trunk.

Day 7: 12 days of Christmas dieting

I do like this time of year. My competition season is over, no shirt off holidays are planned, the big jumpers come out, and, no one really can tell if you're carrying a little more timber on the trunk. I think this is the main reason most people let themselves go a bit around Christmas/winter time. Also, there is a natural built-in instinct that makes people over indulge through the winter months. This dates back to a more primitive time when you'd need to fatten up to make it through winter.

What if we used this need to overeat to our advantage?

Day 7: Christmas bulk phase

A Christmas bulk phase?! Doesn't this sound slightly counter-intuitive and flies in the face of what we've been trying to achieve? Sort of, but do hear me out. If we just accepted the psychological issues I mentioned before and total lack of motivation to get leaner in winter. Combine that with some pretty strong instinctual behaviours and masses of temptation surrounding us, could we not somehow take all these elements and turn them on their head to create something positive out of all of this?

What I'm getting at, is that we could use this time to add muscle mass. For half the world's population, this is generally not a problem and is more likely one of life's many goals (by that, I mean men) Most men would snap up the opportunity to be more muscular. Women however, tend to have a more negative disposition towards the thought of adding muscle mass. This is usually attributable to the thought that you'll end up some huge muscly freak that looks awful in your clothes. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Let me just lay out a few points about women and muscle. We all have muscles or we couldn't move. Just because you're trying to increase muscle mass doesn't mean that instantly you'll become massive. Quite the opposite. You just don't have the physiology to get big, largely due to the fact that female testosterone levels are less than a fifth of men's levels. You'd have to train weights like an absolute beast and eat like one too, to get anywhere near looking 'muscly'

The positives of adding muscle mass: -

• Increased metabolism - i.e. it's easier to burn fat

• Better movement and posture

• Better exercise performance

• Improved aesthetic appearance

• Reduce risk of metabolic disease i.e. diabetes

• Reduction in fat mass

The list goes on.................

We can see that there are certainly positives to adding some muscle. I firmly believe that regular resistance or weight training should be an absolute staple in everyone's day to day exercise regime. There are simply no negatives. Exercises like running, for example, have numerous issues attached to them, in the form of poor posture, knee, hip, and back injuries not to mention reduction in muscle mass.

To sum up what I'm suggesting for your day 7 tip; get down to your local gym and start pushing some weights. If you're going to overeat anyway then use the extra calories in your diet to aid adding some muscle mass. As I've mentioned previously we need a calorie deficit to drop fat. If you're in a calorie surplus you will store the extra calories. If you're weight training with a good frequency and intensity the surplus calories can be converted to growing your muscle mass. You're still storing the excess calories but not as fat.

You'll look better, feel better, have more energy and will be less likely to store bodyfat. Instead your new muscle will burn up the extra calories.

If you'd like to know more about resistance or weight training, and, how to go about exercising effectively, you can contact me via my website

Look out for day 8 of the 12 days of Christmas dieting.

Keep on liftin' Ali 'Fat Al' Stewart

The photo is of me at the BNBF British final 2016