5 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight This Winter

how-to-avoid-holiday-weight-gainThere’s something about the cold weather that makes people start to crave their comfort food. Maybe it’s the chill in the air. Maybe it’s a biological remnant from our caveman days when cold weather usually brought about starvation and so people ate more to pad themselves a bit for the lean times. I love nothing more than curling up with a nice plate of macaroni and cheese when the snow begins to fly. But I’m always worried about putting on my ten pound winter coat. Here are some things I’ve come up with over the years to help me avoid gaining weight in the winter.

The biggest mistake you can make is fulfilling those cravings with fatty food. So, resist the urge to sit down with a plate of nachos for as long as you can. Yes, it’s true a little spice will warm up your innards more quickly than just about anything else but all that cheese will weigh you down like crazy. If you can’t resist the urge to splurge on those nachos and just want something hot, why not try a nice bowl of hot soup. Soup is a great food to eat in the winter. It fills you up and is loaded with good nutrition.

Resist the urge to be more sedentary when it’s cold outside. Yes, I know it’s hard to get out and play a round of tennis if there’s a foot of snow on the ground but you can always head to your neighborhood indoor track and run a few laps. Not as much fun you say? That’s probably true. Slip your iPod into your pocket before you head out the door. Running to your favorite tunes is a

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Remember that when you are losing weight you are doing it on a gradual basis rather than on a daily basis. This is why it’s important to take ALL your daily exercise into account. Even just going through the motions of daily life can be part of your workout routine if you know how to structure it properly, always more fun than just running in a huge oblong for the sake of it. Listen to some salsa and that will really get you in the mood!

  • Tip #1: Cleaning the house can help you keep those pounds off
    • If you don’t want to turn into a couch potato during the winter, spend some time zipping around the house as you clean it. Though I’m sure you’d much rather hire a cleaning lady to come in and vacuum your floors, doing it yourself is actually much better for your waistline. Put your favorite music on the boom box (mine is Paul Simon’s Graceland CD) and move your booty while you dust and vacuum your heart out. You can burn about 250 calories with just one hour of vigorous housework including mopping, dusting and vacuuming. That’s the equivalent of what you’d burn if you were jogging for an hour. When you’re all finished, your house will sparkle!
  • Tip #2: Pack your lunch and take a lunch break
    • People are much more apt to gain weight during the winter because they tend to stay in the office and eat at their desks when the weather is not nice outside. If you pack your lunch, you will almost certainly be eating a more nutritionally balanced lunch than you get at any fast food burger joint. If you take 15 minutes to step out of the office even if you have to put your boots on, you will not only get some fresh air, a quick, brisk walk will invigorate you and oxygenate your blood. If you do this five days a week, you will burn about 300 calories by the time Friday rolls around.
  • Tip #3: Put your boots on and walk to work
    • If you can get to your workplace in about twenty minutes on foot, leave a little bit earlier in the morning and take a nice walk before you get to the office. If it’s really cold outside, bundle up with some layers and put on a nice pair of mitten. Walking to work each day, regardless of the season, will not only save you a lot of money in terms of bus fare/gas, it will help you reduce your risk for a stroke. Walking also helps reverse the inevitable signs of aging. You only need to do a brisk walk for 30 minutes or so about three times per week in order to derive this kind of benefit.
  • Tip #4: Take part in some virtual workouts
    • It is so easy to try to find almost any reason to skip going to the gym for a workout and bad weather is usually at the top of that list. If you really hate going out into the snow again after you get home from work, why not think about joining a virtual gym or a virtual health club. This is becoming much more popular for busy people. They can get on via their own television set in their living room for a nice aerobic workout. Some of these virtual gyms will even tailor your workouts to your own fitness level.
  • Tip #5: Buy some dumbbells
    • Working out three times per week with a set of dumbbells is a very easy way to build lean muscle in an almost painless way. Doing a thirty minute dumbbell workout will increase your metabolism and will help you build fat burning lean muscle. If you don’t want to spend the money on a pair of dumbbells (about $15.00 for a set of 3 lb. weights), you can use cans of beans or vegetables. Carrying your groceries home from the store is another painless way to get a strength building workout.

Kickass Kettlebell Workouts for Weight Loss

Kettlebell-workout-for-weightlossSeveral weeks ago I was at my gym. As I started to walk over to the shelf that holds the free weights, I noticed some very different looking contraptions. I asked one of the trainers what they were and he said, “Those are kettlebells!” Well, he proceeded to tell me about them and gave me a demonstration of how to use them. Wow! That’s really all I can say. I gave them a try and I have been hooked ever since. Last week, I purchased my own set of kettlebells and have been using them ever since.

These wonderful, different kind of weights build endurance and strength mostly in your lower back. So, if you’ve ever had problems in your back caused by weak muscles, this is the remedy for you. They will also do wonders for your shoulders and legs and help increase your grip strength. There are several basic movements which may feel very awkward and difficult at first but once you’ve mastered them you will be amazed at how different your body will feel very quickly. The basic movements are designed to mimic real world activities like farm work or shoveling.

Kettlebells are very different from regular dumbbells or even barbells because using kettlebells involves using several large muscle groups at a time. Most of the time when you are working out with kettlebells, you will do many repetitions of the same movement. Because you are working several muscle groups at the same time, you are able to repeat the exercises for several minutes with no or only a few breaks in between.

These workouts are designed to target your core muscles so if you have a weak core or serious back problems work up to them slowly.

Where Do Kettlebells Come From?

Kettlebells come from Russia where they had been used by the Russian army in physical training exercises and other conditioning programs. Prior to that, they had been used since the 1940s in Russia and throughout Europe. They first began to be used in North America in the 1960s.

If you are trying to find a workout you will not get bored with too quickly, take a good, long look at kettlebells. Nothing is worse than slogging away for hours on end at the gym doing the same old workout routine over and over again especially when you are bored to tears with it. It hardly seems worth it and you will be getting diminishing returns.

You only need about 15 minutes per day when you start using kettlebells. It is crucial that you find the right weight and that can take some time. Learning the proper moves can also take some time so this is not an exercise routine that you should think you’ll just be able to pick up and go with right away.

What Makes Them So Unique?

kettlebell-workoutKettlebells are made in a funny looking shape. They  basically look like cannonballs with handles. It is precisely this funny looking handle which gives the kettlebell its spectacular workout ability because it is the handle which changes your centre of gravity and enables you to use so many different muscle groups at once.

Because of their compact shape you are able to do many more exercises than you are with simple dumbbells. For instance, the kettlebell “swing” would simply not be possible with bulkier equipment.

How To Choose A Kettlebell

Be careful that you don’t make the same mistake as so many other novice kettlebell users. You will want to ensure that you have the proper size so that you are able to complete all the exercises. Most women can use a 15 to 25 pound kettlebell with no difficulty. You must also be sure that you get one constructed from solid steel which has been welded together.

What Kind Of Workouts Should You Do?

You will soon discover that are almost as many kettlebell workouts as there are workouts for weightlifting and cardio. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Stick to a simple workout in the beginning. You can add to it and tweak it as you go and become more versed with using them. The key is that you want to make sure you have all the movements down first before you try adding anything to them.

You can use your kettlebells just three times per week. I do my workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is important to allow your body at least twenty four hours to rest in between workouts.

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My workouts include the following:

Monday: Kettlebell Swing/Squats/Shoulder Press

Wednesday: Shoulder Press/Squat/Swing

Friday: Squat/Swing/Shoulder Press

Even though they are the same exercises, the order in which you do them has a great impact. Each movement is done with 7 repetition. You add one more repetition each week. The first time you do this workout, you do four cycles and each week you do it, you add one more cycle to your workout. It is also important that you rest between cycles but do not give yourself more than about one minute to do so. This way you will be doing a workout similar to the kind of interval training that a lot of athletes do.

I have tremendous success with my kettlebells. My muscles are much more toned but most importantly, I feel much stronger and have much more stamina.