We made it through Thanksgiving, but it's not over yet. My clients, friends and family are all still worried about holiday weight gain. If we do it right we can enjoy our families, friends and YES food.
For me last week was very different. For the first time I took a trip out of the country (First passport stamp:). For one it was a vacation with my girl and on another note it was an experience. A chance to see how people live outside of our American bubble.
The result: GERMANY IS A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT!
|Mike and Mike at Chocolate Fest|
This will be very limited research considering I was only there for one week, on vacation, and with family. All I did for 7 days straight was enjoy family time, eat, and drink beer. Anyone that knows me is probably saying "drink beer"? Your right, but my thought was "When in Germany do what the Germans do". So that's what I did! If you look at the pic above I even found a Chocolate Beer or should I say "Chocolat Biere" and it was very good. So after a week of beer, eating bratwurst sausages with potatoes, sauerkraut, and fresh baked bread, I assumed the worse. A minimum of 10lbs...
To my surprise not one pound gained. So the hard work that I have putting in at the gym held up through all the sausage, bread and beer. HOW? So after sitting and really thinking about this, I had to figure out why. In most cases a week of destruction would equal at least two of your "six-packs" disappearing.
If you have ever done one of my training programs or any Phase 1 Sports program you know the level of intensity that we train with. The strength training, sprinting, jumping, boxing, etc. So there comes times when rest is needed. So I can say that the week in Germany was considered a rest week, but that doesn't account for the extreme amount of food and beer that was consumed.
My training: For my entire life I have been an athlete, so now at 33 years old I still train like a high level professional athlete. For that matter I train everyone like an athlete only altering programs based on their level. The number one sport that my training programs are based on would be football. The reason that I mention that is because that type of training is what my body is use to. Altering my training programs monthly has been responsible for physical improvement, but the programs have all been within the mold of a NFL training program.
Why is this important? Our bodies respond very quickly to muscle confusion. Doing different things will have a direct impact on you physique and sometimes they are not even planned. Before leaving for Germany we were reminded to dress warm and bring comfortable shoes. At the time that statement didn't mean that much. Two days into our vacation it meant everything. First of all it was on average between 35-45 degrees. For some that probably doesn't mean much for me it meant that I was freezing! The comfortable shoes come in handy when you are walking aka "Hiking" 3-5 miles a day.
|Me being a kid after a hike |
Our tour guides Manya's beautiful sister Brandi, her husband Mike, and son Chase made sure that we had a great experience. Part of that experience was visiting Castles that rested on top of hills, festivals, and of course France. So even though we were on vacation the thermogenic effect of trying to stay warm and the walking combined allowed me to maintain my training progress and enjoy the German culture without calorie or carb counting!
Why it worked?
1. The Weather
In terms of gaining and losing weight the basic thought is calories in vs calories out. With a few more factors to take into consideration I agree with that statement to some degree. Lets save that for another day and talk briefly about temperature. Is it possible that being in the colder temperature played a role in me not gaining any weight? After all my calorie intake for the week was a lot higher than normal. After reading numerous studies I've came to the conclusion that the cold weather played a role in me not gaining any weight over the 7 day binge.
Human Brown Adipose Tissue also known as Brown Fat: Could this be the answer?
Insert on function of Human Brown Adipose(Brown Fat) by Wikipedia:
Further, recent studies using Positron Emission Tomography
scanning of adult humans have shown that Brown Adipose Tissue is still present in adults in the upper chest and neck. The remaining deposits become more visible with cold exposure. The recent study could lead to a new method of weight loss
, since brown fat takes calories from normal fat and burns it.
Don't worry as of a couple days ago I have never heard the term either.
So in a nutshell research is still being done, but it is very possible that being in colder temperatures can have a direct relation to weight loss. From a simple perspective when your body is cold, it must work harder to maintain or achieve a level of comfortable body temperature. During that process your body is working harder therefore burning more calories and very possibly fat! This thought alone makes it very possible that my successful binge in Germany was at least partly due to the cold weather.
2. The Walking/Hiking
For me walking, hiking, jogging, marathons, etc. are NOT a part my normal training program. As I said before my routines are built around strength training, plyometrics, sprinting, etc. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) also plays a mature role in my programs. With that in mind myself or my body do not have any mental or muscle memory to draw from. During my time in Germany the average day included some time hiking to castles, walking up hills, down hills, through cities, etc. The second day I remember clearly my calfs being very sore. That's when I realized the miles we are putting in were not just getting us from point A to point B, but they were also burning many of the calories that we were eating.
As I conclude hopefully this has been a little more than a quick recap of my time in Germany. Hopefully it serves as a little entertainment, a little education, and some inspiration to continue striving for your training, fitness, and health goals.
|Manya and Me holding a very big beer mug!|
So now here is how we tie it all together.
Now that the temperature has dropped and holidays are here its going to be that much easier to skip workouts and add some meals. I'm not going to tell you to remain strict, stay on your diet, stay away from the pie, skip the gravy or anything else like that. In my opinion part of being healthy is enjoying life, family, and food. However here is what I do suggest. If the weather is a little cold outside maybe this is not the time to totally avoid it. Take that walk or jog, run those sprints in the park. Not only will you be maintaining and improving your fitness level, but you will also be expending more energy keeping your body temperature comfortable. From the training perspective this is a great time to try something new. Something that maybe you have been wanting to try, but never got around to it. Just like my miles of hiking and walking in Germany, find something that's totally different from your normal routine. So get on your Groupons, find that boxing class (or come to Phase 1 Sports:), runs those sprints at your local high school, or whatever adventure that will cause muscle and mental confusion!
Special Thanks to my lady Manya and her family who I had a great time with in Germany
Make sure to post your comments about your holiday training mission!!!
Next blog will be a response to Raquel one of my Facebook friends. "How do I tighten my Thighs and Butt" So that will be coming soon...
Mike Waters, Phase 1 Sports