Archives For fitness

Winter brings with it chilly winds and sub-zero temperatures. With shorter days and cold weather, most people experience a lull in their motivation to stay active. Many of them are tempted to skip the gym in exchange for warm nights spent indoors. Weekend bike rides and afternoon runs are also sacrificed because of the bone-chilling weather. Since winter coincides with the holiday season, most people focus their attention on preparing for gift giving, holiday parties, and family dinners.

Given all these distractions, most people let diet and exercise fall by the wayside during the winter. By the end of the holiday season, many of them have already gained a few pounds and begin to experience feelings of anxiousness or depression.

Don’t let the cold weather and holiday throw your fitness off track. You have worked so hard to achieve that body, so don’t let all your efforts go down the drain. Read on for tips on how to stay fit and healthy during the winter season.

Mindful eating

Healthy plate

Image Source: www.oprah.com

According to studies, the average American gains about one to two pounds over the holidays. It’s not surprising given that most people attend festive events during this time of the year. Many of them are centered on foods.

Since most of our favorite foods are served in front of us, this makes it even more difficult for us to stop eating. While there is nothing wrong in indulging in your favorite foods, you may want to take a healthier approach to what you eat during the holiday season.

Choose your foods wisely. Limit the number of high-calorie foods on your plate and fill it with vegetable dishes, leafy green salads, and lean proteins. Concentrate on your meal while eating. We know you’re eager to catch up with your family, but you are more likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten if your attention is somewhere else.

Go outdoors

Go outdoors

Image Source: www.running.competitor.com

Most people feel less inclined to venture outdoors during the winter months. However, staying cooped up inside the house isn’t good for your health. Later on, you may find yourself depressed and blue. Going outside can help you feel better. Adding an outdoor workout to your routine will do your body good and instantly improve your mood. Not only will you burn more calories, you’ll also be able to put an end to SAD.

Before you walk out the door, make sure that you wear enough layers to keep you warm and comfortable. Dress in easy-to-remove layers to allow for changes in temperature. Never attempt to exercise without a sufficient warm up. Otherwise, it can lead to shock in joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Our body takes a longer time to warm up in winter, so make sure that you invest more time in your warm up.

Use the stairs

 

Image Source:www.today.duke.edu

Most people go on vacation during the holiday weekend. We bet the last thing you want to do is to put on your joggers and go out for a run while on vacation. To help you burn some calories, you may want to take the stairs at your hotel rather than taking the elevator. You can also do this at the office, subway station and other places.

Don’t think of climbing stairs as a consolation workout. It may not feel like a workout, but it actually is. In fact, it can help you burn more calories, tone and sculpt your body, increase core muscle strength, and maximize your cardio efforts. Most importantly, it’s free. Just about all of us can get access to stairs.

Shovel snow

Shovel snow

Image Source: www.popularmechanics.com

Your walkway and driveway are likely topped with a lovely coat of white snow during this time of the year. If you allow snow to build in your driveway, this can cause potential danger to your family, your, car, and your home. So go get that shovel and start clearing the driveway.

Shovelling snow can be a very intense activity. In fact, 30 minutes of shoveling is the exercise equivalent of hitting the gym for about an hour. It is actually a great workout that engages all of your major muscles, including your triceps, biceps, glutes, quadriceps, back, and abdominals.

Most people tend to underestimate how hard shoveling snow is. This activity is almost comparable to lifting weights. Lifting heavy snow plus the cold winter air makes it even more challenging. Do not attempt to do this on your own if you have a history of heart problems. You don’t want to be rushed to the hospital while clearing snow.

Get a flu shot

Get a flu shot

Image Source: www.mensfitness.com

Most people spend most of their time inside the house during the winter. Viruses are more likely to thrive indoors since the doors and windows stay shut 24/7. This makes you more susceptible to colds and flu.

Anyone who has a suppressed immune system may contract the flu. Just because you did not develop symptoms, doesn’t mean that you’re immune to it. You’re still carrying the virus and may have passed it on to someone else already. This is why we think it’s important that everyone gets the flu vaccine this winter.

Ice skating

 

Image Source:www.fitday.com

If you’re looking for a fun activity that can also double as a form of workout, try ice skating. Most cities will have an ice skating rink.

Ice skating is a great way to get some exercise and embrace the winter weather at the same time. In fact, skating is said to be more beneficial than running. The joints and muscles of the legs get a great workout through gliding and synchronized movement of the legs. It also targets almost every muscle group in the body. What’s great about ice skating is that it provides a great aerobic workout without even knowing it because you’re actually having fun. The best part is you can share this activity with the rest of the family. Skip the gym and hit the ice this winter. With ice skating, you can stay in shape and have fun while you’re at it.

We know staying in shape can be tough if you also have a job (probably one that doesn’t make your level of fitness a requirement) and a personal life. But the key to getting anything accomplished is baby steps. If you’re overall happy with the way you look now (maybe with a minor adjustment or two to be done), then staying in shape should be easy, as long as you make yourself a little routine. If all you can think about when you hear ‘routine’ in regards to fitness is a boring set of push-ups, don’t worry. We have far more fun things in mind.

1. Jumping rope

man jumping rope

Yes, jumping rope can be quite manly too, in case you’re wondering. Nothing manages to tone the muscles on your legs and butt quite as well, not to mention that it’s also a good cardio run-up. Last, but not least, a jump rope can also be very fun. Check one out here.

2. Light weights

If all you think about when you hear ‘weights’ is Pumping Iron and you’re not sure you are actually up for it, try to reconsider. If you adjust the weights you work with to something that feels light and casual enough not to be too much bother, you’re still doing your body an immense service. Staying in shape will be much more fun after a light snack, we promise.

3. A pull-ups bar

man with pull up bar

A bar to help you do pull-ups is easy to install and pretty cheap. As an added plus, you can totally impress both your buddies and your female visitors by displaying one in the doorway between your living and the hallway. This bar on Amazon is a good example, but you can find tons of similar models.

4. A healthy snack

Snacking is important both before and after your mini-workout (as long as you don’t end up munching on more than you actually burned off, of course). We suggest any fruit or small handful of nuts you like. Macadamias are particularly great for your muscles, since they’re low of cholesterol and high in minerals like zinc and such.

5. A basic roller wheel

Another type of fitness equipment which doesn’t occupy much space (we totally understand if you don’t want to be one of those guys who turn their house into a gym) and is also an affordable alternative is the classic roller wheel. Check out this one on Amazon, for example. You can just take it out from under the bed whenever you’re willing to get your 12 minutes a day of exercise. We promise it’s enough for staying in shape and even toning up a bit, as long as the rest of your lifestyle is overall healthy!

Image sources: 1, 2.

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For fitness enthusiast Michael Volkin, 9/11 was a life changing event.  He joined the Army only a few days after September 11, 2001. Once he graduated basic training, he found himself deployed to Iraq. But Sergeant Volkin had an interesting job.  Among his other duties as a Chemical Operations Sergeant, he was the company fitness trainer. He found himself having to lead soldiers through fitness regimens with little to no training equipment available. So Sergeant Volkin quickly became an expert with bodyweight exercises.
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