Now that we’re getting into the fall, which rapidly warps into the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about how to prevent winter weight gain. Getting a jumpstart on things now can go a long way toward avoiding that seemingly inevitable five pounds or so that seem to creep up on you over as the months get cooler.
The key to preventing winter weight gain is to get into a healthy routine early (like now) and continue your healthy lifestyle throughout the season.
Winter Doesn’t Have to Be “Bulking Season”
While your friends may be breathing a sigh of relief now that fall is upon us, and everyone at the gym is happy for the breather and bulking season, that doesn’t have to describe you.
Think about it… wouldn’t it be a lot more fun (and a whole lot healthier) to continue working toward your goals throughout the year? How amazing will it feel to roll into January feeling great, not having put on a single pound over the holiday season?
It is possible! Take a look at the following exercise plan to prevent winter weight gain and get a jumpstart on your fitness.
What Types of Exercise Should You Do?
There are several types of exercise to incorporate into your winter-weight-gain-prevention project. They include resistance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT), steady state cardio, and flexibility training.
Resistance training is critical because not only will it enable you to build and maintain your muscle mass, but you’ll boost your metabolism, produce more growth hormone, strengthen your bones, and burn massive calories. Do resistance training at least 2 – 3 times per week.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a critical part of your weight-maintenance program as you endure the winter months. A good example of a HIIT training program is to walk or jog for two minutes, then sprint all-out for 30 seconds, followed by another two minutes of walking or running. Repeat this cycle for 20 minutes. Do a HIIT workout once or twice a week.
Steady-state training—similar to HIIT training in that it is aerobic-type exercise, steady-state training involves longer aerobic sessions that are not as physically taxing as their HIIT counterparts, but the longer time periods offer copious calorie burning, which is important when it comes to preventing winter weight gain. A good example of such an endurance plan is to walk 45 minutes or an hour. Try to fit this type of workout into your routine 3 – 4 times per week.
Flexibility training—flexibility is the fountain of youth and should be part of any good fitness routine. Add stretches to your routine to increase your mobility, reduce your soreness after workouts, reduce your stress levels, improve your posture and performance, and allow you to enjoy easier movement and posture. As long as you are properly warmed up, you can do flexibility training, yoga, or stretching 5 – 7 days a week.
Resistance Training to Prevent Winter Weight Gain
Try this full body workout 2 – 3 times a week to prevent winter weight gain. Perform each exercise for two to three sets of ten repetitions.
Bodyweight Squats—begin by standing with your legs hip-width apart. With your hands on your hips, bend your knees, and lower your torso until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause and then push back up through your heels to standing position. As you gain strength, continue to challenge your muscles by adding weight. Holding dumbbells in both hands either by your sides or up at your shoulders will increase the intensity.
Walking Lunges—begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and with your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward with your right foot, bending at the knee until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Push up with your left leg as you straighten your right leg to propel yourself back to the standing position. Repeat on the opposite side to complete one repetition.
Plank—begin in a tabletop position with your elbows aligned below your shoulders and your wrists below your elbows. Bend your elbows and lower yourself so your forearms are on the ground. Straighten your legs, so your weight is balanced on your forearms and toes. Keeping your back and knees straight, hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.
Triceps Dips—sit and place your hands on the edge of a stable chair, couch, or low table with your palms down. Slide your hips forward until they’re hovering beyond the seat. Slowly and under control, lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Move your body back up to the starting position by squeezing your triceps. To make the exercise more challenging, place your feet further out in front of you and/or place a weight on your upper thighs.
Biceps Curls—stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell (or a water bottle if you don’t have dumbbells handy) in each hand with your arms straight down next to your hips, palms facing forward. Bend your right elbow while keeping your wrist aligned with your forearm and lift the dumbbell until it nears your shoulder. Pause and slowly lower your hand back to the starting point. Repeat with the left arm to complete one repetition.
Pushups—begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your arms straight below you and about shoulder-width apart. Lower your body gently by bending at your elbows. Keep your back in a straight line. Once your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, or your chest is near the floor, push back up until your arms are straight. To make the exercise more challenging, just lift your knees off the ground to do a full pushup with your weight balanced over your toes and palms as you lower your body and lift it back up.
Shoulder Circles—begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms straight out to your sides until they are parallel to the ground. Move your arms in small forward circles for 20 repetitions. Repeat in the opposite direction. Move on to next exercise.
Superman Back Exercise—begin by lying face down on a mat with your arms stretched out straight in front of you. Simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the floor about 6 inches and hold for a count of five.
In addition to doing the above resistance training workout, don’t forget to also incorporate HIIT cardiovascular training once or twice a week along with a couple of steady state cardio sessions. Do plenty of stretching for a well-rounded workout that will help prevent winter weight gain.