[As featured in Resident magazine]
When the temperatures drop, it’s all too easy to let things slip, whether that means avoiding early morning workouts, overindulging at party season events or tucking into comfort food on chilly evenings in.
Piling on a few pounds can feel inevitable, but luckily there are ways you can limit the damage to your waistline this winter.
I spoke to fitness expert Claire Finlay, founder of Transition Zone, to get the low-down on staying trim all the way ’til spring…
1. Bring your fitness routine in from the cold.
In the colder winter months transfer your workout into the warmth of a fitness studio. You should also try mixing up disciplines to encourage your body to dig deep and find new strength and stamina reserves – try TRX one week, Reformer Pilates the next. If you do the same thing day in day out, you plateau and stop seeing results.
2. Get social to keep fit.
Group classes provide an added dose of motivation and fun. Why not get a group of friends or colleagues together so you can encourage each other? That way you can’t miss a session because you’ll be letting the rest of the team down!
3. Eat well and keep it clean.
When the temperature drops it’s easy to start craving comfort foods but do your best to stay clean. This means swapping additives and processed foods for meals that are wholesome, nourishing and heavy on fruit and veg. Our ethos at Transition Zone is “Train, Eat, Recover, Repeat”. For us, food is as important as fitness. If you don’t eat well then your body won’t refuel properly and perform the way it should, which will show in your next workout. That said, it’s important to keep a sense of balance and the odd treat is good for the soul.
4. Eat earlier, slower and more mindfully.
It’s not advisable to eat too late, but if it’s unavoidable then keep it light with nourishing smoothies or soups. Take your time when eating to enjoy what you’ve prepared and chew your food thoroughly. Stay away from eating at your desk or while watching TV as being distracted can actually make you eat more as you’re unaware of how much youre consuming.
5. Boost your immunity with superfoods and supplements.
Add superfood powders to your meals, smoothies and juices where you can. Try wheatgrass, sun chlorella, and plant-based proteins such as chia, hemp and spirulina. Try and incorporate as many of the following as possible into your diet: oysters, beef, lamb, wheatgerm, spinach (for zinc); peppers, kale, kiwi, broccoli (for Vitamin C); brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds (forSelenium); oily fish (for Vitamin D); berries, garlic, blueberries, blackberries, artichokes, chard and green leafy veg (for antioxidants).
6. Plan ahead.
Don’t leave exercise to the last minute – diarise. Treat your fitness schedule as you would your professional or social life. Look at classes as appointments, plan ahead and get them booked in at the beginning of the week. That way you can’t talk yourself out of them or get to the end of the week and discover you don’t have time. Make sure you always have some wholesome, nutrient-dense snacks on you so you never go hungry and get tempted into eating the wrong things. Nuts, seeds, energy bombs and smoothies are all good options.
7. Don’t let the party season undo all your hard work.
The festive party season often causes people to fall off the wagon. But simple things like pacing yourself, avoiding sugary cocktails, sticking to clear drinks (vodka, fresh lime and soda is the best of a bad bunch) and focusing on the main course rather than the canapés are all easy tricks to prevent additional pounds. And if you do go a little overboard? Don’t panic.
8. Sleep tight.
Getting proper, good quality sleep is essential to your health and wellbeing. If you’re tired and have slept badly, you’re much more likely to skip your workout and make bad food choices. Try and shut down all electronic gadgets (less blue lights) at least once a week and get to bed at 10pm. Don’t use your phone as your alarm; keep it as far away from your bed as possible – in another room if you can!
9. Don’t try to do too much.
Don’t hibernate, but equally make sure you set realistic goals. Embrace making time for your health and fitness by trying something new that you’ve never done before – whether that’s a boxing class or a heart rate monitored fitness session with friends. This is the perfect time of year to reflect on how far you’ve come and where you want to go in the future.