Stepping on the scale around New Year’s is one of those dreaded moments many people shy away from. Indeed, putting on weight during holidays comes almost naturally. The days are colder and shorter, which is not exactly an invitation to break a sweat outdoors.
Yet, winter can be much more than just a festive loop of eating and hibernating inside. Why stretch a few cheat days to the whole month? Because others are doing it? Well, these are poor excuses to fall by the wayside.
So, take a deep breath and reconsider your habits before diving into the buffet table head first.
Plan of attack
To keep the extra pounds at bay, you need a sound game plan, which must effectively cover two crucial areas of fitness: Physical activity and nutrition. So, let us start with the latter.
We all know that drinking and feasting really make it hard to set the wheels in motion and achieve real progress towards your goals. Therefore, you will have to recognize your nutritional enemies and know your friends.
Alcohol, which overflows during holidays, really inhibits a weight loss process. Mixed drinks that are packed with carbs and sugar are especially detrimental to your efforts. Thus, they are to be avoided as much as possible. As for beer and other staples, the trick is to drink them slowly.
The art of cherry-picking
Likewise, be smart when picking party foods. There is a variety of delicious treats that do not pack a caloric punch. Think in terms of low-cal veggies, broth-based soups, protein-rich shrimp cocktails, etc. They will make you feel full without shoving a stream of calories down your throat.
To stay in the driver’s seat, you have to keep a close eye on the signs by the fitness road. So, weigh yourself on a daily basis. Note that fluctuations are to be expected, but at least you will notice the patterns and prevent things from spiraling out of control.
Be realistic and do not expect to achieve success overnight. Also, it’s a good idea to invest in a fitness tracker to keep tabs on ups and downs.
So, you do not have to decline every party invitation and abandon all drinking opportunities. You just have to tone it down a bit. At the same time, you have no other choice but to brace yourself for winter fitness.
There are ways to creatively squeeze in some workout, even when working with a busy schedule.
One of the best ways to stay active during winter is to engage in outdoor sports like skiing, sledding, ice skating, etc. Walking through knee-deep snow also does the trick and pushes your leg muscles hard. If these are not your cup of tea, opt for an indoor workout in the form of boot-camp sessions at the gym.
For something a bit different, check out alternatives, such as hot yoga, Barre, POUND, pole dancing, indoor rock wall climbing, etc. Martial arts are also a great way to get your heart pumping and torch a boatload of calories. So, see if there is an MMA gym or something similar in your vicinity.
From the comfort of the home
Those who are put off by cold mornings and see gym commute as a highway to hell can opt for a home workout instead.
To advance by leaps and bounds, make the most of your time by performing 20-minute, high-intensity workout that mostly consists of full-body workouts. Activate all your major muscle groups and shed calories like it’s nobody’s business.
As a finishing touch, implement some cardio exercises in your workout regimen and take a balanced approach to fitness.
On fast tracks
Sorry to break it to you people, but we are not biologically predetermined to gain weight during the frosty months. It is all up to your lifestyle and everyday choices.
There is no reason to let exercise be the first activity you are going to drop during holidays. It should certainly be a top priority for those who want to stay in shape. So, you need to be moving more and avoid unhealthy foods.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure to track your progress and keep hammering towards your goals. Throwing in a towel is not an option, you know.
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Peter is a men's grooming & fashion writer at High Street Gent magazine from UK. Beside writing he worked as a menswear fashion stylist for many fashion events around UK & AU. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.