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5 key things I’ll be doing to stay ripped this holiday season

By November 30, 2010February 14th, 201413 Comments

So right now I kinda have a four-pack (is that even a thing?), and due to my age, genetics and inability to give up the finer things in life, i’ll probably never attain the highly coveted extra couple of packs™—But that’s ok.
In the coming weeks, it’ll all be about MAINTAINING what I’ve achieved, and keeping myself in-check during the holiday period.

Let’s face it, we over-indulge during the holidays

What are you going to do, miss out on all the cakes, pies and countless gallons of egg-nog (my favourite out of ALL the ‘nogs’), whilst you sit there with your family bouncing walnuts off your six-pack?

I don’t think so Tim

I won’t be, so why should you?
However, let me make it loud and clear, If you are 25% body-fat and think you’ll shed some fat over Chrissy, you’re probably smoking more weed than Pauly Shaw at a Mariah Carey concert.
Similarly, if you’re 10% body-fat right now and think you’ll lose a couple percent, you’re probably so high right now, that these very words appear as though they’re massaging both your eye-balls with tiny little ‘word-hands’.
What I’m trying to say here is, the leaner you are, the harder it is to shed the pounds.

What I’ll be doing

The following is what I’ll personally be doing over the holiday season to make sure I don’t pile on extra kilos, but more importantly what I’ll do to maintain my current physique whilst being able to enjoy the festive season!

#1 Changing my program

I’ll be shifting from the ‘Bonus Phase’ of Visual Impact and doing something completely different.
Why this will ward off fat: The body is clever at holding onto its fat for survival purposes. It will train itself to stop using my body fat as fuel, making it harder to keep the kilos off. Changing my program at this time will serve as an effective ‘body-guessing’ weapon aswell as help to keep me motivated.
Nothing gets me pumped to train harder like a sparkling new program (oh, and caffeine).

This MIGHT turn you off over-eating this holiday season

#2 Intermittent Fasting

Yes I’ll be intermittently fasting once a week like I am now.
It will probably be even easier to give up eating for a day when I’m not sitting behind a desk.
If you haven’t given it a go, I would highly recommend you try it, then incorporate it into your holidays.
Why this will ward off fat: Incorporating fasting into my lifestyle cuts out a days worth of calories from my week, boosting my metabolism whilst allowing me to enjoy the finer things in life (relatively) guilt free.

5 Ways to stay ripped this holiday season

I think there’s a Vitamin Double-D joke in there somewhere, but I’m not that crass

#3 Resting

I took a month off training and eating properly in May-June of this year, I came back a little softer (due to Parisian cheese and butter) but found my body was well rested, and reacted VERY well to training once I started the Visual Impact ball rolling again.
Why this will ward off fat: Like you, I’ve been smashing my body at the gym all year with hardly a break in between.
Think of the holiday season as your body’s chance to recover from the onslaught.
If you miss 3-4 days or a week, you’ll come back stronger with a renewed passion for your training.

#4 Drinking more water

I’ll be aiming to carry a 1.5 litre flask around with me when I can.
Why this will ward off fat: Water will be key to keeping me hydrated aswell as purifying me from all of the Christmas alcohol i’ll be ingesting.
It will also keep my metabolism boosted to an elevated level.

#5 Increase Vitamin D

I’ll be on holidays for a week or so, which will give me plenty of time out in the sun (therefore plenty of Vitamin D).
Why this will ward off fat: According to a study, low Vitamin D levels have been linked to obesity.
Really, It’s probably just an excuse to justify long periods of sun baking.
Don’t forget your sunscreen people… although that has been linked to cancer.
You can’t win right?

In summary

If you’re smart about it, you can keep the fat at bay whilst enjoying this magical time of year.
But whatever you do, don’t be discouraged by missing a day of training or over-eating here and there.
Enjoy time with your friends and family—You can start your fat-loss program January 1st.

Further inspiration

Rusty over at has written a great article on ‘maintenance’. I suggest you check it out here

Editor’s Note: How will you ward off the fat-demons this holiday period? Comment below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Chris Cannon says:


    Nothing better than changing up your program to stay fresh and fit through the holiday’s, I’ve been through Visual Impact and it’s a killer program.

    I’ve never tried fasting before, but I hear good things from everyone who has tried it… I plan on giving it a go to see how I react to it, but not sure the holiday season is the time to do it!

    Keep the good stuff coming.

    Chris Cannon

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Cheers Chris,
      If ESE is too difficult, there is the lean gains approach which is a slightly smaller fast period.
      Might be worth a shot for those finding it difficult reaching 24hours.
      For the ladies, the lean gains approach actually recommends a 14 hour fasting period MAX due to the difficulty in maintaining hormonal balances during a fasted state.

  • Clint,

    Great tips. I will also be doing some of these to help avoid massive weight gain during the holidays while I’m gorging myself. I think fasting is key even if it’s not a typical 24 hour fast. During my most recent period of high calorie time off, I did some 12-16 hour fasts between large meals which helped a lot with damage control.


    • Clint Nielsen says:

      I’ll be trying the ‘lean gains’ approach during the holidays (which is max 18 hours for males, and max 14 hours for the ladies).
      Definitely much more achievable during such high-caloric times ;)

  • Bryan says:

    Do you just compensate in later meals for your calorie intake? As in, instead of normally eating 500-700 calories for lunch you jump it up to 1100-1400 calories? Or do you try and keep the calorie intake the same? I typically go 5-7 hours of sleep without eating to straight up working out in the morning. Then I pump the protein shake and animal protein foods down immediately afterward. Besides that curious point, great list Clint. I still stay away from the sweets mainly because I know once I start I won’t stop. Better to stop before I even start.

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      I typically keep my cals the same. Then again, Im not a fan of counting calories at all.
      A typical training day looks like this: Ill wake up, ingest 10grams of BCAA’s before I train (and that’s it. No meal, nada, zip).
      Post workout ill then eat a solid meal about 40mins after.
      I will then eat again 1 hour after that, then have a decent lunch.
      Typically ill try and get most of my calories into the post workout area.

      On fasting days, i won’t eat until 6pm at night, where ill have a decent meal, then follow it up with dinner at 8.30pm.

      In regards to sweets – ill eat them at the weekends. Even eat too many of them.
      Let it be said, I have a severe problem with chocolate ;)

      • Bryan says:

        Haha. Good to know. I am surprised to see the results that you do have with the severe liking of chocolate. Thanks for the insight on your dietary habits. My eating pattern is defiantly up and down due to work and other stress factors. I can’t wait to be back in a healthy routine.

        • Clint Nielsen says:

          Look after yourself 80% of the time and indulge for the other 20% :)
          I can’t stress enough the importance of ‘cheat’ meals on the weekends.
          If not only for your mental health, the swing into positive calories unlocks further fat-burning potential when you switch back to your normal ‘weekday’ eating plan.
          If I can use Martin Berkhan over at as an example — he has eaten whole cheesecakes in one sitting and still manages to be 5.5% BF year round for 3 years.

  • Clint,
    Excellent tips. I’m doing all of them right now except for the Vitamin D tip. Might be a good idea since my levels were slightly low during my last blood test. I probably won’t be sunbathing too much here in Boston during the cold winter months though.
    P.S. Glad I can’t now comment again!

  • Clint I’m cracking up @ the Santa Claus pic and “kinda ripped right now” caption :).

    My goal is to maintain the weight I lost prior to the holidays. I’m eating 2 – 3 meals a day when I feel I need to eat. But I’m not depriving myself of the foods I like – I just make ‘adjustments’ to my food intake. I enjoyed the family Thanksgiving Day dinner ;) but made up for it by eating small portions of fruit, vegetables & turkey for the next 2 days.

    I haven’t tried intermittent fasting yet, but have been doing quite a bit of reading/research on the subject. Since I’ve well tolerated a 2 – 3 meal a day feeding schedule, I’m pretty confident I can achieve good results from it.

    Keep up the good work on the blog!


  • Hi!
    Just found your blog, good article!

    Ive published a link back to this post on my website

    Quake Fitness – Connecting Fitness and Health Blogs!

    Cheers/ Cai – QF Staff

  • Jon says:

    Great article! I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without
    coming across your blog somehow, but I’ll make sure to follow you
    on twitter and facebook too. Love the humor on the website, keep it

  • Sam Childs says:

    Nice, I like the simplicity. I bet you are part of Rusty’s fitness blog training!
    I justed started using fasting, I used to think eating 5-6 meals a day was the proper way, but the more I look into it, the less it seems the correct way.

    -Sam Childs

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