Bodybuilding Blast For The Holiday Season

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Bodybuilding Blast For The Holiday Season
© Doug Champigny,
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Bodybuilders and weightlifters know it can be hard to stick to their weightlifting and nutrition routines over the holidays – especially the time from Christmas to New Year’s. But there is a solution that not only keeps bodybuilders on track, but can actually build more muscle while freeing up more time over the holidays!

Plan an overreaching/supercompensation cycle to keep your workouts and nutrition on track through Christmas & New Years!

Plan an overreaching/supercompensation cycle to keep your workouts and nutrition on track through Christmas & New Years!

The idea here is to time a short period of over-reaching and it’s corresponding super-compensation week to align with the holidays. If you’re not familiar with over-reaching and super-compensation, the former is a short period of greatly increased training volume – increased to the point that it would lead to overtraining in short order. But instead of falling into the overtraining trap, after a few weeks of over-reaching workouts you take a week off to let your body heal fully, and GROW! That week off is your super-compensation, so named because you can experience more growth during that week as your body grows than you might otherwise see.

You don’t need to increase the weights you’re lifting during your workouts – in fact that could push it too far. Instead, add more reps to each set using your usual weight, add more sets to each exercise or add in a few more exercises per bodypart. If you don’t have the stamina for the longer workouts, increase your training frequency instead. For example, you could train legs, chest and triceps on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, then train back, shoulders, biceps & abs on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. That way you can do one or two compound exercises and two or three isolation exercises for each bodypart and still be out of the gym in 60 – 90 minutes each day. On that schedule every bodypart gets trained 3 times per week with twice the volume you’d do on a full-body workout, and you only have one day (Sunday) off each week.

It’s easy to see how doubling your volume could quickly lead to overtraining, but you’re going to keep it in the over-reaching stage by only doing it for a short time. Intermediate and advanced bodybuilders could do it for 3 weeks or so starting December 1st or 2nd, while novices should limit it to two weeks and can wait til the 8th or 9th to start. Either way, by the 23rd or 24th you’re finished and move into the super-compensation week. For the next week to ten days you stop lifting and take in more clean calories than you’re used to so that your body can compensate and heal from all you’ve put it through.

Now suddenly you have no gym time required from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, freeing your time up for family, friends and holiday fun, takes away the frustration of trying to train if you’re away for the holidays, and makes use of the extra carbs, protein and fats you’ll be consuming during that time. And after a week to ten days off you’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in the gym for your next session, just in time for January’s cycle.

When you go back to the gym after your week off, return to your previous workout routine or have your trainer create a new one for you. DO NOT go straight into another over-reaching/super-compensation cycle, as it’s too hard on your central nervous system – never do one of these cycles more often than once every 3-4 months.

So go ahead, set your schedule to do your workouts this way once December rolls around again, and be ready for a better, less rushed and lower-guilt holiday season where you actually build more quality muscle and endurance than any December before, and set yourself up for a great following year!


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