Winter is a tough season for fitness, especially this winter - it's been so cold, and we've had a lot of winter storms that have kept us stuck indoors watching TV and eating all day. Unfortunately we have less than 80 days until it's officially swimsuit season (Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.), so it's time to break those bad winter habits so you can be comfortable at the beach in just a few weeks. These are the top 5 winter habits to break for your summer body:
-Drinking hot chocolate and chai: a hot chocolate can pack in 57 grams of sugar and 460 calories (like drinking two candy bars), and the same size Chai Tea Latte packs even more sugar than the hot chocolate. Liquid sugar calories are phantom calories that your brain never really registers (so you keep eating), and they are literally addictive. It's time to get back to regular coffee (maybe with a splash of cream and stevia), plain tea, oh, and maybe some water here and there.
-Waiting until the weather is nicer to go to the gym: it's been a cold winter, and it's tempting to stay under the covers in the morning instead of hitting the gym. The irony of this is that the more often you skip the gym the harder it is to have the energy to get out of bed because fitness and energy levels decline fast. It's easier said than done, but just get up. Remember to be disciplined not motivated. If it helps you can start with doing something small in your home ï¿½ squats, planks, etc. But, whatever you do, you still need to get out of bed.
-Driving everywhere instead of walking: I'm the first to say that spending your exercise time on walking is not an effective weight loss strategy, however that does not mean that I think people should be more sedentary. Being sedentary (prolonged periods of not moving) does profoundly negative things to your body - especially to your carbohydrate metabolism. Find ways to move more in the cold such as habit No. 5 (which will send you to the bathroom more), and taking the stairs only if you're not walking outside.
-Swapping healthy summer food for winter comfort foods: mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, pie and other winter comfort foods start to creep into our diets starting at Halloween. As the fatty starches and sugars creep in, the veggies and protein get pushed out. Winter comfort foods can really pack the inches on your waist and sap you of the energy needed to go workout. Take a look in your kitchen and get rid of the tempting comfort foods in your house, and go to the store to get the healthier foods you used to eat. If it's in your house it's in your mouth.
-Cutting back on the water: when we don't sweat we often forget to drink enough water, but the winter time can be just as dehydrating as the summer (maybe more so) because of the super dry air that we breathe indoors and outdoors. Being dehydrated will sap your energy and many people confuse thirst with hunger. A great place to start is with drinking half your bodyweight in ounces. So, if you are 150 pounds, then about 75 ounces of water.
Josef Brandenburg is a Washington, D.C.-area certified fitness expert with 14 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book Results Fitness. In 2004, he started The Body You Want personal training fitness program, which specializes in weight loss and body transformations for busy people. Read more about The Body You Want at www.josefbrandenburg.com.