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Keeping the Weight off in the Winter

Do you tend to gain weight over the winter? It’s not surprising, seeing as it gets colder outside and you’re more reluctant to go running, and working out inside just isn’t your thing. Remember, though: if you’re reading this, it means that you can read. Science tells us that bears cannot read. Bears hibernate during the winter, not humans. You’re not supposed to eat as much as you can and sleep all day to stay warm; that’s what the heater takes care of. So, you’ll need to fight against the winter weight.

You should first find a way to exercise indoors, whether it’s in your own home or in a gym. Try joining a gym because it has a lot of equipment at your disposal. Granted a gym membership can be costly, you’ll need to carefully evaluate what you can and can’t do as far as exercise goes in your own home. If you’re into lifting weights and using a bench press and don’t happen to own either of those, then you should probably join up with the gym, but if you’re someone who is into doing more cardiovascular exercise and would only benefit from using the treadmills, then the gym membership might not be worth it.

You need to treat your winter workouts the same as you treat your regular workouts. You can’t “go easy” or back down because it’s a different season. Instead, you need to work through your exercises like it’s any other day. Think of it this way: if you exercise regularly during the spring, summer, and fall, then why shouldn’t you do the same during the winter? You’ll still be able to maintain your body weight or build muscle, because your body isn’t permanently affected by the weather. If you work out in the cold, you won’t build more muscle than if you work out in the heat. Just stay consistent, and you’re winter workouts will be just as effective as your spring workouts.

If you’re someone who enjoys running outdoors, then you’re probably intimidated during the winter. You know it’s cold; you may even stop running altogether for a few months. This is an absolute disaster. You can’t fall out of your regular training schedule just because it’s too cold outside. You should either find a treadmill to run on, whether it’s in your own home or in a gym, or go outside and brave the cold for yourself. Running on a treadmill can be very boring, plus the machine can mess things up because it gives you railings to support yourself on, and it sets the pace for you. You really should run outdoors whenever you can; however, be sure to stretch more than you normally would when you’re in the cold. You need to stay warm and keep the blood moving.

There are also some chores you can do during the winter to trick yourself into exercising. For example, if the cold weather is really affecting your workout schedule, then it’s probably snowing in your area. Shoveling snow can burn a surprising number of calories; you’re using your back, arms, and knees as well, so it’s good for exercising those parts of your body. Lifting large quantities of snow and ice can leave you panting for breath after an hour or so, so the next time it snows, grab a shovel and get to work. Additionally, chopping firewood can be a very invigorating exercise. In the short story “Two Bottles of Relish,” a man keeps up his appetite by chopping wood all day. Making a fire can be a nice alternative to cranking up the heat, so you’d kill two birds with one stone.

If you’re having trouble staying motivated during the winter, then you could try exercising with a friend at your side. Having someone next to you to push you on through your workout is a great way to ensure that you don’t give up; plus, you could have a little bit of fun by competing with a friend to see how long each of you can last, how much you can lift, and so on. You could also consider hiring a trainer if you’re not one for exercising by yourself; however, this could be rather costly, so make sure that you absolutely have no commitment whatsoever to your winter workouts before you start scheduling training sessions.

Besides exercising, you can also stop the winter weight from building up by just watching what you eat. The fact that it’s cold out can help you a little bit in this instance: if it’s cold outside, you’ll want to have hot food, such as hot soup. Soup can be very filling, but is also very healthy. If you eat a lot of soup, you will not be taking in a lot of fat, yet you will feel warm and satisfied. Just watch what you eat and don’t get carried away with hot wings or anything unhealthy. Remember, if you are exercising, you’ll need an adequate intake of protein, so chicken and beef are necessities. If you’re a vegetarian, then using protein supplements is just a good idea in general, but beans work well as a source of protein too; try eating some meatless chili to get your protein and some nice hot food.