It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here and judging by the growth of my beard, November is halfway over.  For all those who doubted me, I have successfully made it 15 days without shaving.  The itchiness has subsided and I have even been told that I am starting to resemble a young Russel Crowe.

Maybe I made up the last part but Lindsay has told me that she likes the beard so it will stay until the meet.  So far the key has been moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

Go Bruins!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I had a few of my clients ask me if I could write a post on how to eat during this time of mass consumption.  So pay attention o ye faithful and I will share some of the tips and tricks to surviving the biggest meal of the year.

Step #1: Lift Heavy Things

That’s right, your first step to total turkey domination is to train hard right up to Thanksgiving and thereafter.  This should be obvious if you are an avid reader of my blog but some people tend to miss the ball on this one.

If you plan to consume extra calories on and around Thanksgiving all the cardio in the world isn’t going to save you so save the treadmills and elllipticals for the New Years resolutioners and hit the weights by picking things up and putting them down.

As I have said before, heavy training will yeild a much greater effect on your body’s fat metabolism.  Especially full body exercises like deadlifts, squats and pullups.  If your not satisfied at the end of the workout then incorporate something heavy and explosive such as pushing a sled or sprinting up stairs.

Sample workouts for the Monday and Wendsday before Thanksgiving:


A) Trapbar Deadlift 5×5

B1) Walking Lunges 4×8/side

B2) Pullups 4×6

C1) Single Leg Deadlifts 3×8/side

C2) Jumping Jacks 3×50

C3) Feet Elevated Pushups 3×8


A1) Goblet Squats 6×5

A2) Dumbbell Bench 5×6

B) Barbell Glute Bridges 3×8

C1) Seated Cable Rows 3×10

C2) Jump Squats 3×6

C3) Ab-wheel Rollout 3×8

Coincidentally this is the same type of training that you should be doing the other 365 days a year.  Just sayin’.  And for a little extra motivation here is a clip of a highschool Junior doing work on 345lb barbell glute bridge over at Cressey Performance.  All I have to say is mad props Becca, you rock!

Step #2 Treat It Like Any Other Day

Why do people overconsume on this one particular day?  Basically because they let themselves.  Listen people, it is just another day for you to be you and if you are trying to lose weight or reach a particular goal don’t feel like you have to gorge yourself to Jabba the Hut status.

I like Michael Pollan’s quote from Food Rules the best when it comes down to having a sound nutritional base:

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Simple enough right?  If you are going to pick at those platters that you or your family leave oth then stick to the veggies and shrimp cocktail.  Try to avoid things like the crackers and cheese which I’m sure you could eat the whole tray of…and some people do!

Remember that there is going to be things like stuffing and casseroles at the table so save the carbs for the actual meal and for dessert of course.

Step #3: Dessert Substitutes

Blasphemy I know but read on before you shoot the messenger.

Just because dessert is supposed to be sweet doesn’t mean it has to be loaded with carbs and lack protein.  All you need is a little ingenuity (and a little something called Google).

When it comes to baked goods, I have found that substituting things like oat flour or almond flour and sweeteners like Stevia for the usual flour and sugar can change the whole nutritional makeup of traditional desserts.  Throw in a little protein powder and you’ve got a masterpiece.

Here are two that will fit right in at Thanksgiving without anyone noticing:

Pumpkin Protein Cake (from Cara’s Cravings)

1/2 cup (120gm) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute, such as Eggbeaters (or 1 whole egg)
1/2 scoop (15gm) vanilla or cake batter flavored protein powder, such as Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard
1 packet Truvia All Natural Sweetener , or other sweetener to taste
a big dash of pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter*

Blend together the pumpkin puree, egg substitute or egg, protein powder, sweetener and pumpkin pie spice.

Pour into a microwave-safe bowl and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes, or until cake has puffed up and is set.

Warm the peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle over the cake.

Nutritional Info**
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 226.7
Total Fat: 8.8 g
Cholesterol: 15.0 mg
Sodium: 106.1 mg
Total Carbs: 16.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
Protein: 23.3 g

Throw some peanut butter on 'em.

Protein Brownies

1 cup oat flour (or 1/2 cup oat flour & 1/2 cup almond flour)
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup Stevia (or 1/4 cup Splenda)
8 oz berry flavored applesauce (brings out flavor)
4 egg whites

Coconut oil or non-stick cooking spray
9 x 9 baking pan

This recipe makes 9 brownies.
For one brownie, the macros are:
Protein: 7 grams
Carbs: 11 grams
Fat: 0.8 grams
Calories: 81

Please share any other turkey day survival tips and/or recipes in the comments below.

Written by Steve