Franco Carlotto: Carbs Aren't Your Enemy During the Holidays

By: Editors

Fitness Expert Franco Carlotto has spent the last 25 years of his life dedicated to the study of fitness and nutrition. With his popular book Carb Cycle, Franco is debunking the myths about banning carbohydrates from your daily food intake and teaching you how to attain and maintain a lean, healthy and sexy body. He also discusses why common diets don't really work and why the body's carb storage—something most people don't even know exists—is the only key to ultimate fat burn and weight control.

Since the holidays are a time to enjoy family and favorite foods like turkey, pies, stuffing, muffins and more, it's also a time when people dread potential holiday weight gain. Franco offers some helpful tips to indulge in all of your favorite foods without the guilt. As he explains, "When it comes to the holidays and fitness it all depends on three situations: what is done - or 'not' done - before, during and after the holidays."

Here's his advice:

1) Pre Holiday:
Do not starve yourself. EVER. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to starve themselves for days or even weeks. This just confuses and slows down your metabolism, and indeed programs your body to do the opposite: hold onto or (even worse) gain weight and fat whenever you eat again! Instead, eat a balance of protein and healthy fat along with carbohydrates in specific cycles.

2) Cycling:
By “cycling” your carbs before the holidays, you can enjoy all of your favorite foods guilt-free. Your body has a natural carb system that can be filled or depleted. If you eat carbs when your body’s carb system is depleted or emptied they won't be converted into fat but instead stored as carbs. The key is to never stay low or high but constantly use your body's natural carb storage to your advantage. Since the holidays as well as New Year's day falls into a weekend this year, all you have to do is lower, not completely stop, your carb intake a few days before.

3) During the holidays:
Holidays are a time to relax and refill your batteries, so if you gain 1 or 2 pounds don't be too hard on yourself. In order to attain and maintain a fit, lean and healthy body, it doesn't depend so much on what you do between Christmas and New Years, but on what you do between New Years and Christmas! So enjoy your favorite foods without guilt or regrets.

4) Exercise during the holidays:
Do not stress yourself out about going to the gym and participating in high intensity workouts. Instead, perform some low intensity combined cardio-weights sessions, or go for long walks. Allow yourself to relax and recharge your batteries during the holidays. Once you learn to approach fitness the right way all year long— your metabolism will be running high and efficient and therefore capable of going through some "off-time" during the holidays without totally getting out of shape.

5) Post holiday:
Set a realistic, achievable New Year's Resolution. One of the biggest mistakes is to get all fired up and start an intense diet and exercise routine only to burn out already at the beginning of January. Any good fitness program will allow you to adjust the intensity step by step in order to keep your results and spirit going in the long-haul.

Franco Carlotto is a 6-time Mr. World Fitness champion, and author of the book Carb Cycle, which explains that carbs are NOT the enemy.