Now that winter is here, we tend to crave more carbs, fat, sugar and salt as our primitive impulses tell us to start storing energy for the long winter ahead.
We also tend to start making excuses about why we can’t work out due to the ‘treacherous cold weather” we experience in Australian cities… sounds a bit funny when we compare our winter weather to the likes of Canada, doesn’t it?
It sounds equally funny that winter affects our frequency of visits to climate controlled gyms or even workouts inside our heated houses! But let’s face it – the “winter factor” does give us a great excuse to be a little lazier.
We did some research and came up with 4 simple rules to keep you fit and food conscious this winter:
1. If leaving the house is too scary, work out on your living room floor!
There are at least 50 bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere. Even just a 30 minute workout using a combination of these exercises is guaranteed to get some sweat dripping off your forehead!
2. Don’t let a winter cold hold you down for more than three days!
If you’re already taking care of yourself, a winter cold should not last more than a few days. Even for very fit people, it is hard to avoid getting sick at least once during the colder months.
The best offence is a good defence – prepare your immune system for the army of germs that await you in the outside world by ensuring you take in some Vitamin C every day. Mandarins and oranges are ideal because they can be carried around easily, require no preparation and they’re packed with immunity-boosting goodness!
When the sniffles finally hit you, allow your body some rest and rug up at bedtime to sweat it out. Heaps of water, tea and soup is always helpful.
Our latest favourite winter food is Vietnamese Pho – a rice noodle soup that will have you sniffling and sweating out all the toxins in your body by the fourth slurp. You can find plenty of Pho restaurants in Vietnamese precincts around town and the best part is that one bowl shouldn’t cost you more than $10. Our tip: go hard on the chili, if you dare!
3. Sign yourself up to a fun-run or a new sport
We all need an extra kick up the backside during winter. There’s nothing more obliging than an upcoming event that you have to be fit and ready for! Find out what’s coming up in your city, bite the bullet and sign yourself up – having an end in mind will provide you with much needed motivation to keep on track.
Have you considered a team sport? There are plenty of clubs around catering to enthusiasts of anything from indoor volleyball to roller derby! Team sports lead to new friendships, and a social obligation to show up and sweat it out every week!
What about trying a Martial Art? Boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, MMA, karate and taekwondo are some of the most efficient cardio workouts you will ever come across. And you’d be surprised by how many Martial Arts gyms there are around you. The best part is that you get to leave every class feeling like Bruce Lee – an adrenalin rush like no other!
4. When the cravings kick in, add protein!
If you’re craving a meal that’s high in fat or carbohydrates, think of ways to transform it into a protein-rich meal. Instead of opting for an oily pizza or pasta, try a grilled chicken breast topped with a freshly made tomato sauce and a side of salad or vegetables. Even try making a ‘hidden vegetable sauce’ by adding carrots and celery. You still get a hearty winter meal, but you miss out on all that post-binge self-loathing. Adding lean, grilled meat to your meal also helps to replenish your muscles after a workout.
As we mentioned earlier, Vietnamese Pho restaurants are a great option if you’re wanting to eat out!
Give it a try!
So, we dare you to stick to these simple, foolproof rules for just one month without giving up. The next month should be a walk in the park! Before you know it, summer will have arrived and you won’t be suffering from beach-body anxiety like all the other suckers!
Readers – do you have any other suggestions?
Here at Lifespan, we’re always open to new ideas, and we definitely need all the extra winter motivation we can get! Feel free to leave us a comment with your winter health and fitness tips below!