It is easy to let your fitness goals take a back seat during the cold winter months. The days are shorter and the cold weather makes it justifiable to skip your workouts. In addition, frequent parties and family gatherings, all with easy access unhealthy calorie dense food and drinks can distract your from your goals. Motivation wanes and by the end of the winter you have gained extra weight that is difficult to lose.
Thankfully, this is all preventable if you have a plan of attack. I am going to provide you with a blueprint—exactly what to do to stay lean during the holidays. When Spring Break comes this year, you will show of your hard work with ease while everyone else is crash dieting to get in shape. Plus, staying in shape over the winter helps you avoid extremes with your body. Maintaining a lean physique is much easier than packing on the pounds during certain times of the year then losing weight rapidly.
The fundamental principle of this program is “balance.” This means that you can still enjoy the holidays with family and friends, as long as you make smart choices while celebrating and adhere to the workout plan. Being fit should enhance your life, not make it miserable. This fat blasting workout and diet program is going to be easy to integrate into your schedule. The workouts will last no longer than 45 minutes, and the food for your diet can be cooked in bulk once a week, making it easy to stay on track. The best part? You can still have that leftover pumpkin pie and stay in shape. More on that later.
MY WINTER FAT BLASTING DIET and WORKOUT PROGRAM
WINTER FAT BLASTING WORKOUT SPLIT
Monday- Chest, Biceps
Friday- Back, Triceps
FAT BLASTING WORKOUT SPLIT (DURING BUSY WEEKS)
Monday- Full Body 1
Wednesday- Full Body 2
Saturday- Full Body 3
A major advantage of this workout program is that it will only take 30-45 minutes to complete each resistance training session, and there are only four per week. For these workouts, choose 3-5 exercises per body part, and perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps with moderate weight. Be sure to superset at least 2 exercises per body part per session. This will be just enough to give your metabolism a boost but not so much that you are overtraining. As long as you are focused in your efforts, that is all the time you will need to sculpt a physique to be proud of.
The program will rely heavily on supersets: the act of performing one set of an exercise directly after a set of another exercise. This is an extremely effective training tactic as it helps burn fat and save time, while maintaining muscle mass.
If you are having an especially busy week—which is to be expected over the holidays—you can substitute the original four-day split and simply perform three full body workouts. Full body sessions are also a great time saver and provide a jolt to your metabolism. These workouts will likely take an hour, and are especially beneficial if performed in circuit fashion. For the full body workouts, pick 8-10 exercises, preferably multi-joint, compound moves (bench press, for example, as opposed to flyes). If you are doing a full body circuit workout, move from one exercise to the next with little rest between sets, then complete the circuit for a total of 2-3 times. Another option would be to perform supersets for a few of the exercises, and straight sets for the rest. A final option would be to perform the full body workout with straight sets in its entirety.
Cardio workouts are also a vital component of any successful fitness routine. Each week, aim for 2-3 sessions of interval cardio. Interval cardio training is simply defined as a period of intense training followed by a period of low intensity training or rest. A great example of interval cardio is sprints. The same tactic can be applied to a run on the treadmill or Stairmaster. Interval cardio is a great fat burner, and will send your metabolism into overdrive. This means you will be burning calories long after you step off the treadmill.
It is also important to include 2-3 abdominal workouts per week. These can be paired with your cardio workout or completed after your weight training sessions. For overall abdominal development and core strength, choose one exercise per core region (upper, lower, obliques, lower back) and perform 3 sets of 12-20 reps per exercise.
WINTER FAT BLASTING DIET
To stay lean over the winter, is it important to avoid a few diet pitfalls.
First, holiday parties and family gatherings will have unlimited supply of high calorie, sugar laden food that will ensure you don’t see results. When attending a social event this winter, be conscious of choices you make. Eat before you go, and drink water frequently throughout the event. This will help keep you full and prevent you from eating to satisfy a craving.
Now that we know what to avoid, here is how you can make sure you get and stay lean this holiday season.
Have four to five medium sized meals, evenly spaced throughout the day. The meals should contain a low to moderate amount of carbohydrates. The source of carbs is crucial: make sure it is from fibrous carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables. This will help you avoid spikes in blood sugar that can trigger cravings and binge eating.
For protein, it is ideal to have lean animal protein. Fish, turkey, chicken, and lean steak are all good options. A low carb, low fat whey protein supplement is also an acceptable option. Healthy fats from avocados, almonds, and walnuts are also a welcome addition to your new eating plan.
Having the meals evenly spaced will provide you with a steady stream of nutrients and keep your metabolism high from constantly having to break down food.
Directly after your resistance training workouts, your body needs a source of rapidly digested carbohydrates and protein to repair your muscles. You can use those holiday treats to your advantage: simple sugar, when consumed after a workout, can boost strength gains and help your muscles repair after strenuous exercise. If you are craving sweets, have them after your workout with minimal consequences—just don’t overdo it. A couple small pastries or cup of apple cider after your workout will give your muscles the repair they need while satisfying your craving for sweets. The key is to avoid fat after a workout, any desserts that are high in fat will slow absorption of nutrients after a workout, a time when rapid absorption is desired.
Don’t be like the majority of the population and use the winter as an excuse to take a break from your workout and diet regimen. If you are proactive and integrate this plan into your schedule, you will be pleased with the results long after the snow melts.
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