6 Easy Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

by Jennifer Purdie
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6 Easy Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Winter can wreak havoc on our weight-loss or maintenance goals. Temperatures dip into the single digits making outdoor workouts less than desirable, and diets shift from green smoothies to heavy soups and holiday treats. It’s nearly impossible to stay on track.

In short, the season makes packing on the pounds all too easy. “Staying fit in the winter definitely takes more motivation,” says Michelle Gabriele, an ACE-certified personal trainer  with more than 20 years of fitness experience.Mornings are dark and cold and, of course, the afternoons get dark much earlier, too.”

But staying in shape this winter is possible if you incorporate a few, or all, of these ideas:

1. STEP ON A SCALE

You might want to consider adding a bathroom scale to your home. In a study published in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, researchers at Drexel University found that people who weighed themselves daily noticed significant declines in body fat percentage and body mass index over time, even when not enrolled in any type of weight-loss program.

2. ADD DIVERSITY TO YOUR WORKOUTS

Whether you workout at home or at the gym, try mixing things up, according to Allison Jackson, NASM certified personal trainer. “I like to write a bunch of different, individual exercises (e.g., squats, burpees, pushups) on popsicle sticks, mix them up and pick one to do for 30–60 seconds,” she says.

If you are gym member, Pam Sherman, certified personal trainer of 21 years, recommends trying new classes. “Having someone else tell you what to do is an easy way to stay fit and get a lot of variety in your schedule.” Innovative, in-demand classes for 2017 include Pound, a cardio workout that uses weighted drumsticks to sculpt your arms; rowing, dubbed the “new spinning”; and Zumba step, an integration of the old-fashioned step aerobics with the popular Zumba workouts.

3. DO BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES DURING COMMERCIALS

Pick your favorite television show or a football game, and watch it in your workout gear. “During the commercial breaks, rotate between planks, pushups, air squats and lunges,” says Xiao Wang, NASM-certified trainer, Kona Ironman qualifier and survivor of training through Boston winters.

4. TRAIN FOR A SPRINGTIME RACE

Register for a spring race, and then spend time crafting your training schedule, rather than simply downloading a pre-made calendar or paying for a coach to write one up. Why? You might stick to the schedule better — even when working out through the winter doldrums. In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers suggest that athletes who put forth effort into planning their training were likely to experience less effect from the discouraging factors that impact performance.

By participating in the schedule-creation experience, you can make your training entertaining. “Sign up for some holiday races,” says Martise Moore, running coach and founder of GreenRunner. “The fun and accomplishment you’ll enjoy along the way will warm you up and keep you in shape.”

5. SWITCH UP TRADITIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING TECHNIQUES

“Kettlebell swings are a fantastic off-season training tool that helps engage so many posterior muscles that have the tendency to not properly activate during endurance sports,” says Mike Klaus, Russian Kettlebell Certification Level II trainer at Forward Fitness.

The research on kettlebell training agrees with Klaus. In a study from the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, data suggests that kettlebells might serve as an effective alternative tool to improve performance in weightlifting.


READ MORE > THE 30-DAY PLAN TO TONED ARMS


6. GET OUTSIDE

When running, snowshoeing or hiking in the snow, you receive the benefits of vitamin D, which can lift your spirits after spending all day indoors. The activity also burns more calories, as you need to lift your knees higher than you would on a treadmill.

Just make sure you wear the appropriate clothes. “You have got to dress yourself like it is 10 degrees warmer [than what it is outside],” says Gabrielle Bolin, ACE certified personal trainer.  “Although you might be chilly as you leave the house, right around the first mile mark, your body temperature will have increased enough to initiate sweating, which will warm you from the inside out.”

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  • Davis Gloff

    Excellent tips, especially for going forward from New Years day!

    • fartmonster

      you stink Davis.

  • RickNSanDiego

    I have had 3 knee replacements since 2004 on the same knee. I go to a Water Aerobics class 5 times a week. I loosen up my joints by doing this. I’m usually the only guy in the class. I compete with everyone in the class and usually come out ahead but that doesn’t matter. The point is that exercise helps at 63 years old. I just pray that I won’t fall apart at the joints. Have a Happy New Years to all!

    • James A Tillman

      I had two arthritic knees after years of running and being over weight/obese. I tried and had short term success going on diets such as Atkins, Paleo, Biggest Loser over the years along with strenuous exercise such as taebo, running, weight lifting etc. but the weight would always come back especially in the winter during holiday season. It wasn’t until I fundamentally changed my Diet to the foods recommended on the Plant Paradox Program (book can be purchased online) as well as eliminated the foods that the program said to eliminate that everything changed. I started changing my diet in March 2017. Over the next 9 months I gradually lost nearly 60 lbs. I originally weighed 247 and now weigh 190. All ailments I had including insomnia, incontinence, brain fog, arthritis, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance along with the arthritis disappeared. At 61 years old I now have a physique similar to when I ran track in college 40 years ago. I was doing the same exercises I was doing prior to going on the Plant Paradox and am eating nearly 3000 calories a day. I thought I was eating healthy before but I found out most of the foods listed on the USDA Food Pyramid that fall under the standard American diet are basically wrong for the human body. By eliminating all modern grains and the GMO versions along with all animal protein fed those grains along with legumes (beans as well as beans called nuts such as peanuts and cashews), dairy produced by casein A-1 cows (Holsted) and greatly limiting the amount of fresh fruit and eating only organic fruit in season my body literally rejuvenated. I believe I actually became 30 years younger. What I believe happened is by changing to diet consisting of may varieties of organic green leafy vegetables, resistance starches (sweet potatoes/yams), organic vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, small amounts of wild caught fish, grass fed beef, pastured poultry and dark berries my good gut microbes came back and started digesting my food properly and proving me the nutrients I was not getting before. The leaky gut that was allowing foreign proteins into my body through my gut wall was healed. By fixing this problem my body and cells rejuvenated (most cells normally replace themselves every 90 days). Inflammation went away in various areas of my body such gut, joints, arteries, brain, organs etc. My immune system also significantly improved and I stopped getting colds etc.

      That Plant Paradox states that most diseases/illnesses are caused by leaky gut when consuming the Standard American diet. This includes cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia/parkinsons, and most other autoimmune diseases. Symptoms of the are in the form of obesity, rapid aging, and skin problems. We are slowly poisoning ourselves and it is happening to most of the US population. For most of us it is a slow process over our lives and we have been conditioned to believe it is normal. We gain weight, gradually get various illnesses and become old during our 60’s, 70’s, and 80,s. By eating the right foods that our body evolved to eat millions of years ago we eliminate the inflammation and thus age much slower without getting the diseases/illnesses.

  • Cheryl Robbins

    I love the popsicle stick idea and the exercise during commercial idea. Thanks! I’m hoping that these tips with my new Fitbit will help me with that “winter” weight (that I have had since spring)!