Winter's Here -- Get in Shape!
So you spent the entire summer under the AC, with a cold drink in your hand. Winter's here and now you notice that you've got big love handles escaping the sides of your pants! So what do you do to get fit again? Here's our five-point program, whether you're in the chilly foggy North or a balmy pleasant South.
1. Stretch and stretch some more – A lot of guys who want to get fit quick head straight for the dumbbells. “Bad idea,” says Krishna Kumar, fitness specialist and personal instructor based in Delhi. “Always start your workout sessions with lots of stretches. In fact, you could go the army way and concentrate more on stretches than heavy weight workouts,” says Krishna.
Apart from warming up your muscles, stretches can also help with muscular strength. Do a hamstring stretch where you stand and try to touch your toes. You can flex your knees a bit but don’t over-exert yourself while touching your toes.
Also try the upper back stretch by holding your hands over your head. Rotate your shoulders forward to really get a good stretch for your upper back. Hold the stretch for a slow count to ten and feel your body thank you.
2. Watch what you are eating – Yes, you’ve heard it lots of times, but it still holds true - you are what you eat. Quit starchy, oily chips and all that street food you’ve been gorging on. While you're at it, cut down on carbs after 7 p.m. Replace your usual source of carbohydrates with good carbs like the kind you find in potatoes and oatmeal. “Eat egg whites and fish for proteins or pulses if you are vegetarian. Go for apples, grapefruit and berries for fibre. And most importantly, have 4 to 6 small meals a day. That will keep your metabolism stoked all day,” advises nutritionist Dr. Vaibhav Singh. And remember to have proteins in all these meals. Carbohydrates should be reserved only for before and after a workout. Supplement your diet with probiotics to keep your stomach healthy. One way to do this is to include regular doses of yoghurt in your diet. Feel those muscles under the layer of fat already?
3. Run, Walk, Cycle, Burpees – Nothing can replace a good cardiovascular workout and if you are looking to get fit, you need at least a 20 minute session every day. Pick your favorite cardio activity and stick to it. Run, cycle or walk fast. Swimming is not an option if you are in the cold North, but replace it with a run through the mist. Not just will it burn fat, it will also keep you warm. “Do activities that get your heart rate up real quick. That will help burn a lot of body fast real quick. Burpees are the best option,” says Krishna. A burpee is a full body exercise performed in four steps. Begin in standing position, then drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground, kick back your feet to a pushup position. Immediately return your feet to squat position and then leap up as high as you can. Do these real fast and about 10 times to begin with. Feel those fat cells burning? Good.
4. Do more at home – That’s right, get working on those household chores. “Simple tasks like cleaning your room, dusting, switching furniture or changing curtains actually burn a lot of calories. Since you are more focused on getting the work done rather than the time or effort spent, you actually end up burning more fat,” says Krishna. For example, 30 minutes of digging in your garden is equivalent to 30 minutes on a treadmill. Even the most mundane of jobs like washing your car could burn more than what you would on a cycle for the same amount. So the next time your mother or girlfriend asks for help around the house, take it up gladly.
5. Winter fitness tricks – If you can’t beat the weather, then find a way to use it to your advantage. Indulge in some winter sport that will get your heart racing. If the cold is not helping you get out of your cosy blanket, then use sport as an excuse. But remember to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is known to cause weight gain. Try turning down the temperature of your shower. The colder the water gets, the more alert you will get. Exposing the body to the cold will also help boost metabolism and burn calories. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. Get a healthy dose of Vitamin D that you are missing from the hiding sun by eating fish, eggs and milk. Repeat all these points all winter and by the time summer arrives and those clothes come off, you will be ready to reveal a fitter, leaner and meaner you.
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