Fitness tips that should help battle the extra calorie intake during the cold months
Of course this is much easier said than done for most people who have overlooked their fitness goals for the year.
Which is why the following list of fitness tips is offered based on advice collected from two personal trainers, Duff Zayonce and Jason Wong, along with nutritionist Amanda Ritchie will help keep you in check.
Clean up your diet: During the winter months it is very easy to indulge in heavier dishes and opting for a dessert at the end of a meal. Nutritionist Amanda Ritchie says, "Many people, especially young men, tend to plan their bulking phases during the winter months. This is a time of adding a desired amount of weight to your physique which if properly executed will translate into muscle mass during the spring and summer months." The winter is also a time to get wrapped up in your favorite sweaters and to layer on a bulky coat; so diets are typically forgotten about since you're covering up anyways.
- But don't overdo it: "Of course you want to be pushing the heaviest weights or running the furthest distances but the worst thing that could happen is suffering an injury. Once you're injured, consider your fitness goals put on hold," says personal trainer Jason Wong.
- Establish realistic goals: Six pack abs and a tight little rump would do wonders for your confidence but what is the point of achieving all that if all you're going to do is burn yourself out? Duff Zayonce suggests "establishing a realistic goal that is specific, measurable, and time oriented." According to him, this will not only get you out of your comfort zone but also create a solid framework you can track your progress with.
- Educate yourself: Hitting the gym or signing up for classes is great. But if you haven't done your homework and found out exactly what is that you should be doing you're setting yourself up to fail even before you leave the starting gate. "Consult friends and family that are or have been fitness enthusiasts at one point in their lives — they can be great sources of information and would gladly point you in the right direction," says Ritchie. "Whether it is the proper technique or how many reps and sets you should be performing, it's all very useful knowledge."
- Find some variety: "The easiest way to get bored when establishing a new routine is to fall into a repetitive pattern. When you are no longer getting excited to show up to the gym, consider your summer fitness goals to be shot," says Wong. So instead of lifting weights and hitting the treadmill from time to time consider other activities such as yoga, pilates, or joining a recreational sports team.
- Keep your motivation fresh: It is easy to forget why living an active lifestyle is beneficial. It isn't easy to wake up early in the morning and drag yourself to the gym, feeling sore for the next few days after a heavy session is not a pleasurable experience for most people, and working up a sweat and being yelled at by a personal trainer doesn't exactly sound very appealing. "Keep reminding yourself that this isn't the final destination and once you do reach your fitness goals it will be well worth the price you had to pay," says Wong.
- Make it a group activity: Some individuals have a hard time breaking out of their comfort zones so having a friend or two around to help provide that extra support can make a huge difference. Not only will they be able to step in as a spotter when lifting heavier weights but they can offer advice by monitoring your technique, or even be viewed as a great resource to learn about fitness and nutrition from. As focused as most people appear to be in the gym, many of them are more than willing to help. If you can't find a friend to join you don't be afraid to approach a fellow fitness enthusiast — they've been in the same position as you so they understand where you're coming from.
- Commit exercise to your daily schedule: To ultimately achieve your fitness goals, working out on a regular basis is going to be much more effective than showing up to the gym every once in a while. "Not only will you see your fitness greatly improve by scheduling, but having set aside the time to show up to the gym will force you to hold yourself accountable," suggests Zayonce.
- Don't limit yourself to the indoors: "As cold as winter can possibly be at times don't let that limit your options for staying active," says Zayonce. Ice-skating, cross-country skiing, and other winter related sports can break up the monotony of running on the treadmill and would be a great way to enjoy the fresh air.
- If you've got it, flaunt it: Eventually all your hard work is going to start paying off. "Compliments on how you have lost weight and how much more energetic you seem will become an everyday occurrence once you have achieved your fitness goals," says Ritchie. You have remained disciplined and never gave up on improving your health and self-esteem. So don't be afraid to let the world know that you have arrived!
- By SUNJEEV PRASAD