Holiday Fitness

On the 12th Pound of Christmas… NSFW

Over the month of December, I gained 12 lbs of fat.


Fat… Not bloat.

No… I’m not going to make excuses for it. No… I’m not going to blame hormones or the holidays, depression, or stress (- each of which contributed to it). No. I’m just going to talk about what I fucked up where I am… … and what happens next.

Stardate: 3rd January, 2018.

Where I am:


I started 2018 in pain. Neck pain, which the chiropractor had rectified since October. Back pain. S.I. Joint pain. Hip/Groin pain (-which, I soon realised, emanated from the same general area as my arthritic hip.. which hadn’t given me any issue for at least one year). Forearm pain. Knee pain. Tricep/Lat-insertion pain. Pain. Period.

You name it, it hurt. All at once. Spontaneously. I couldn’t fathom why. I hadn’t done anything stupid for months. My training was pretty solid… not overkill. I was working less (- i thought). Though a chronic insomniac, my naturally subpar sleeping habits were no worse than usual.

Only one thing had changed in the recent past.

It was my diet.

I’d transcended from low-inflammatory keto-dieting… to full-on Christmas fuckery binge.

Fucking Sugar.

It’s not our friend.

But don’t take my word for it. Speak to my clients.

Half of them are in a similar place right now: The males with joint pain… and the females with unusually painful menses.

And the only commonality between them has been the Christmas binge!

And research supports the link between sugar, binge eating, stress and inflammation. [1][2][3][4]

Numerous studies point to the increase in inflammatory markers, and deleterious effects on health, gut health, and general well-being.

Yet somehow, we calmly overlook this.

Food is supposed to make you feel good after all.



So… what happens next?

I’m calling today my day 0.

I’m modifying my diet: transitioning through lower-carb, to low-carb, to ketosis over the coming weeks.

I’m also going to exercise less hard… which may seem counter-intuitive to many. But, let me explain.

Intense exercise is inflammatory.

Under normal, healthy circumstances, that’s not an issue.

However, under a state of systemic inflammation – adding to that inflammation doesn’t make sense. It can make each of the negative trickle-down effects of the existing inflammatory situation worse. The means sore skin, sore joints. You name it. NOT COOL.

So… yea… back to the game plan:

  1. Fix diet incrementally.
  2. Adjust exercise… limiting truly exhaustive work.
  3. Add natural anti-inflammatories (- bromelain, white willow bark, fish oil, et. al.)
  4. Increase fat intake (see: ‘fix diet’)
  5. Increase fibre intake (see: ‘fix diet’)
  6. Rest where possible.

I may throw in a couple fasts here and there… but not for ‘detoxing’ purposes (-as ‘detoxes’ are bullshit quackery not necessary – like really, stop wasting money on that shit. …rather, I like fasts for the increase in mental clarity, decreased cravings, improved glucose tolerance, and numerous other benefits.


If YOU’ve noticed painful changes in your body after the holidays, maybe your issue is the same as mine.

And, here’s your homework:

  1. Google anti-inflammatory supplements.
  2. Read up on ketogenic dieting, fasting, and intermittent fasting.
  3. DON’T start the gym in January all-out like a crazy person. You can’t undo all the damage you did in a week. Ease into it.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados



  1. Gao, Y. et. al. “Dietary sugars, not lipids, drive hypothalamic inflammation”. Mol Metab. 2017 Aug; 6(8): 897–908.
  2. Giugliano D, Ceriello A, Esposito K. “The effects of diet on inflammation: emphasis on the metabolic syndrome”. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Aug 15;48(4):677-85. Epub 2006 Jul 24.
  3. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. “Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge”. Psychosom Med. 2010 May; 72(4): 365–369.
  4. Succurro E, Segura-Garcia C, et. al. “Obese Patients With a Binge Eating Disorder Have an Unfavorable Metabolic and Inflammatory Profile”. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Dec;94(52):e2098. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000002098.

6 Painless Holiday-Fitness Tips

6 Painless Holiday-Fitness Tips
by Corey Springer

NarkSide: December 2009

December’s here, and you know what that means: Parties, dinners, alcohol, cakes, and candies. Personally, I’ll be dieting hard straight up until January… but I’m pretty sure that ‘diet’ is the last word you want to hear at this time of year. I can’t say that I blame you either. Holidays are supposed to be fun-filled times spent with friends and family… not stressing over counting calories and the like. That being said, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself AND stay fit. All it takes is a little attention to detail. With this article I’m going to share 5 tricks that I personally use to stay in awesome shape even during the holidays.

Let’s get cracking!

1. Stay Active

A no-brainer right?

The empty gyms at this time of year argue otherwise. People simply don’t seem to want to work out when the holidays approach. However, everybody wants to look good in that outfit on new years eve… right? With exercise you can have your cake and eat it too. (I’m sorry… I REALLY wanted to throw that cliche in there lol)

Try to avoid skipping work-outs. Heck, make your time more efficient by planning all of your work-outs in advance. We all know how much time shopping takes up. So try to get your work-out in first each day. Put it last in the day and you run the risk of never making it to the gym.

It also helps to set a goal. Yes… even during the holiday season. Heck, it’s ESPECIALLY important at that time. Right now, I’ve set a goal of clean eating until Christmas at the very least. Think about what you want to achieve, and set a small goal to suit. It’ll go a LONG way in keeping you on track!

2. Watch your Alcohol intake.

I can hear you now: “C’mon Nark… Holidays are made for getting plastered”. I’ve got to admit, I like to get a couple beverages in during the holidays… but my aim is to avoid going overboard. Holiday drinks (like eggnog for example) tend to be loaded with sugar, and alcohol. Some (again, like eggnog) compound the already high amounts of sugar and alcohol, with high amounts of fat.

Remember my article “Cut Liquid Calories… Cut bodyfat“? Well liquid calories REALLY add up. Alcohol also tends to inhibit our impulse control, so while drinking we tend to snack even more than usual.

Try limiting the number of alcoholic beverages you consume at outings. Also, try alternating between an alcohol beverage and a non-caloric one (like a diet coke). This’ll save you a BUNDLE of calories over the course of a night.

3. Say no to gravy.

Gravy… tasty but evil. We tend not to think about it when we’re piling it on… but the calories here REALLY add up. Think about what goes into making it: fats, or fat drippings from meat… these are the primary components. A typical serving of gravy can add almost 400 calories to a meal. Bear in mind that 400 calories is the average calorie total of a full meal.

To compound this, we usually add another 400-700 calories from our actual meal… plus another 300-400 calories from holiday beverages. So we’re looking at 1000+ calories per sitting. That’s half of the average person’s daily requirements in ONE sitting. And you know that you’ll be repeating this feat a number of times per day during the holiday.

So… Do your waistline a favour.

Ditch the gravy!

4. Practice control

…Portion control that is.

Now… I understand that this may not be as easy at parties as it is in the comfort of your own home, but neither does it have to be overly complicated. The easiest trick is to start by filling half of your plate with veggies. That effectively cuts your calorie intake for that meal by almost half. Next, allot 1/4 of your plate to proteins… and the other 1/4 to carbs.

Try to avoid consuming high-glycemic carbohydrates (highly processed carbs like cakes and pastries) only. If you’re going to consume ’em… make sure that they don’t account for anymore than half of your allotted carb count for that meal.

5. One for the ladies: The ‘clutch trick’

Ok… This isn’t one that I use personally, as I’m not a female. But, as a people-watcher, I’ve seen it effectively put into practice. Basically the trick involves the type of purse (or bag) you take with you to parties. The suggestion? Ditch bags with straps. When you have a bag with a strap, the bag gets slung over one shoulder… leaving both of your hands free to grab snacks and drinks. I know most of you have been there (and I do mean guys as well): whereas you mindlessly eat as long as there’s stuff being served. It’s easy to pound 1500 calories in this manner. Quick fix? Tie one of those free hands up with a clutch purse. As you can only hold either one drink or one entree at any one time, your mindless binge is seriously curtailed. And hell, you don’t even have to think about it.

6. One for the guys: a vanity affair

Ok… we’re back on track. Here’s a tip that I use year-round! What is it? Fitted clothing! That’s right… fitted shirts, and jeans. Form-fitting clothing can be a serious deterrent to over-eating at holiday outings. I mean, who wants to have a gut hanging over their belt in the middle of schmoozing? I certainly don’t.

Vanity? Sure.

Practical? Very.

In parting:

Well, that’s it… my 6 tips and tricks.

There are many other tricks that one could employ to avoid over-eating during the holidays. These 6 tips are some that I’ve found really effective however. There is no reason why one can’t enjoy the holidays without undermining all the hard work you’ve put in all year.

Get out there and enjoy yourselves people!

Happy Holidays!

– Corey “Narkissos” Springer
Owner of: “The NarkSide” Fitness Forums,Apollo Fitness Barbados, & NarkSide Apparel.