The sun and warm weather are undeniably huge sources of exercise motivation, so it can be pretty tricky to find drive during the colder months. How do you get motivated to train when all you feel like doing is snuggling up with Netflix and binge eating your favorite foods?
To help you snap out of it, here are a few tips to help you get through the seasonal lull.
Switching up your routine is the smart thing to do year-round, but since most of us are creatures of habit, we all have our favorite style of training and tend to stick with it. Fortunately, it is a perfect time to try something new because it’ll add much needed mental stimulation while helping your physique improve.
The body thrives off muscle confusion; in fact, that’s how new muscle is built and fat is burned. Don’t be afraid to force yourself out of your comfort zone. Now is the perfect time to try kettlebells, Pilates, Olympic lifting, yoga or anything else that may interest you in the slightest way.
Even if it’s not directly contributing to your overall goals, sometimes you need to do other things to appreciate what you really like even more.
If you want to get leaner, now is the best time to do it. Research published in Cell Metabolism found that shivering and exercise bouts can convert energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat. You have to adjust your clothing for the weather, but a little shivering to start off your session can pay dividends, helping you create a bigger energy burn with every step you take, bringing some very warm results.
Don’t use cold weather as an excuse to stop exercising. Nutritionist Alix Woods suggests: “Do 30 minutes of interval training 3-4 times a week. If you’re struggling to make it to the gym or you’re just too cold to leave your heated house, there are numerous fitness apps available to download that provide you with an interval workout.
“Interval training allows the body to burn more calories over a shorter time than steady cardiovascular exercise, such as longer distance running. This is due to the alternate periods of high intensity training and low intensity recovery.”
Your summer physique is forged in the winter. April is far too late to start training towards this goal, so if you want to make noticeable improvements, you need time.
Use this season to start sculpting those changes while everyone else is overeating and stuffing their faces, and that way you’ll develop discipline as you try to achieve your goals.
Make a realistic meal plan that includes cheat meals so you’re not that annoying person who never has a slice of pizza. It’s all about moderation, so use an 80/20 or even 70/30 clean-eating to non-clean-eating ratio. Another good approach is to have a cheat meal every other day.
If you’ve been eating less-than-healthy foods, it’s time to get back on track. Start by getting rid of the high-calorie apple pie sitting on your kitchen counter and go easy on the pumpkin spice lattes.
Also, there’s more to fall than fattening comfort foods. Fresh seasonal produce, like cranberries, pomegranates, sweet potatoes and eggplant, is packed with flavor and full of beneficial nutrients.
Nothing gets in the way of an intense workout like a heavy cold you just can’t shake, or worse, flu symptoms. As many as one in seven distance runners comes down with regular upper-respiratory tract infections, found a study in Research Digest. This occurs because your body devotes resources to repair your worn-out muscles rather than sending them to the disease-fighting front lines.
Be sure to stock up on sickness-fighting foods to shore up your defense. Eat tomatoes with avocados, as when the fat in the avo combines with the tomato, or any other brightly colored vegetable, you absorb 15 times more of its beta-carotene, found research in the Journal of Nutrition. This antioxidant minimizes the free radical damage, limiting the damage to cell membranes, DNA and protein structures in your body. Make guacamole a regular on your dip menu.
Add spirulina to your shakes, too, because research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that it improves immunity and bumps up your exercise endurance by almost 10%. If you’re after something tastier, a curry might be all the culinary protection you need to fend off the sniffles. Research conducted by the American Chemical Society found turmeric (commonly found in curries) acts like a biochemical disciplinarian which enters cell membranes, making them more stable thereby increasing your cells’ resistance to infection from disease-causing microbes. Doesn’t taste half bad, either.
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