3 ways thanksgiving can help you build muscle!

Thanksgiving is a day that most of us chalk up as a loss in the lifestyle column. We wait all year long just to see how many sides we can pile up on our plate.

What many of us fail to see though is that this holiday is the perfect cheat day to help pump you up for the rest of your weekend's workouts!


Go ahead eat everything and then when you're done, eat some more. You deserve it; your celebrating! Go into this holiday with a plan, just like every other day to help maximize your food intake intent.

Think of this day as the ultimate cheat day, except make sure you still approach it with a functional view. Most people wake up on Thanksgiving and "save" their calories by not eating a breakfast. Unless you're practicing intermittent fasting this isn't actually the smartest way to prime your body for a huge upcoming meal.

Make sure you start your day off with a nourishing small bite like a cashew yogurt parfait with gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds and fresh berries. I use Raw Trainer meal service to help stock up on the week, they featured this parfait last week and it was a super energizing way to start my day.

The plan for the day should even include lunch if your celebratory dinner isn't until later. A large leafy green salad or warm vegetable and quinoa chili would be perfect to keep that metabolism primed for the big eat.

What if your dinner was earlier in the day?

No problem, breakfast as we discussed is still in play, but now it's time to beat that meal by positioning your attack. If your plan included the week before in prep then you've been in control of your food intake and workouts to allow this day to essentially become your cheat day or recovery day of the week. This means we are looking to replenish glycogen storage and load up on carbs like berries (maybe a pie) to aid with cellular rejuvenation.

Did you know Blueberries are one of the most nutrient dense super foods? It's the sugar in the pie that we truly need to limit in order to succeed, but if you see a piece this thanksgiving, make sure to eat it!

See not so hard yet right? Let's dive into those green beans and cashew "creamed kale" or yea you heard what I said; cashews. Click the link for the recipe, once you try this non-dairy option you'll realize that there are so many ways to trick this holiday into being a truly functional sport of eating.

Lean protein should be next with small amounts of gravy and sides. You'll notice that when you look at foods separately they all look like they could be good for you in some way, but when you slop them together into free formed art you'll end up feeling the reason why some of these combinations are the true reason you find yourself stranded on the couch.

Let's build a plate together, go ahead and scoop out some mashed sweet potatoes (preferably without the marshmallows :-) then scoop out some stuffing... wait what about the other mashed potatoes? ah ha I knew you couldn't resist!

Stay with the law of one, you need one potato (roasted, mashed, sweet, scalloped) you don't need one scoop of each, that's your first mistake. We are carb loading so go ahead and grab some stuffing or dressing.

Next make sure to load up the other half of your plate with vegetables. I know they are covered in cheese or cream of mushroom soup so do your best to find vegetables closest to their wholesome form.

Lastly carve up some turkey and keep it to around 5 ounces. Notice we didn't grab a roll or begin stacking sides on top of each other until you can no longer see the plate. Don't worry you're not going to hurt anyone's feelings by not trying it all. You can make it back for seconds, but make sure it's part of the plan.


If you're looking for that second plate or feel as though to truly celebrate this holiday you need to attempt at least one more go of the now tepid food then first enjoy yourself a cup of black coffee.

Use Coffee as your beverage of choice and limit your alcohol intake to less than a single glass of wine. Alcohol stays in your body and can severely hinder your progress within the gym. A single beer can negatively affect your workouts for almost 48 hours!

Check out this Men's Health article to learn more.

Black coffee will not only help you stay awake during this holiday, but the caffeine acts as a mild appetite suppressant. You'll notice your second plate won't necessarily be so big, which is a win for us as we look to get ready for the next days workout.


This easily could've been first on the list, however with a good plan on how you will approach this holiday, workouts should be included.

The week leading up to this incredible feast should be full of big lifts and longer cardio sessions. To make up for the difference in calorie intake instead of reducing your calories leading up to the day, make a push to work a little harder to maximize the opportunity to rebuild and recover stronger.

Remember you tear muscles in the gym, feed muscle recovery in the kitchen and repair and build muscles in bed.

One thing I would add to your holiday morning and something that is catching on are early morning workouts on the day of Thanksgiving. If you can work into your morning a solid hour of fitness you will be setting yourself up nicely for all of the recovery "foods" to come.

By adjusting your approach and having a plan you can turn your Thanksgiving feast into a muscle building day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

In good cooking,



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