It can be easy to gain a little weight over the colder months once summer is over and the pressure to be ‘beach body ready’ has subsided. With many people, this can lead to a yearly cycle of yo-yo dieting which can be terrible for your metabolism.
The autumn/winter period seems to be the prime time for packing on the pounds—while Christmas may be a contributing factor, there are other reasons for this yearly weight gain.
Firstly, the onset of cold weather and rain means that people would rather not go outside to keep fit during winter, and are more likely to take the car than walk. Additionally, according to the NHS one in 15 people in the UK are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD causes a lack of motivation during the autumn and winter months, meaning that sufferers tend not to leave the house as often and don’t get the exercise they need.
Then there is the additional food. With the Christmas season effectively starting on 1 December, there are too many opportunities to eat unhealthy food. This may form bad habits of eating mince pies regularly, or buying those full-of-sugar Christmas-themed drinks from coffee shops.
British and National Wrestling Champion Keith McNiven gave his key tips for maintaining your summer body, helping you to keep fit during winter:
1. Set your goals. Planning is important, as it will help you motivate yourself towards your goals. Set achievable targets for maximum results.
2. Change your outlook. The change in weather makes most people groan, but you don’t have to. Learn to enjoy the colder air and appreciate nature around you.
3. Get kitted out. Buying some additions to your workout wardrobe could be just the kick you need to go out and exercise. Get yourself some light layers that will protect you from the cold.
4. Make your own soup. Soup is not only filling and low calorie, but will also help to keep you warm. Try tomato-based or broth-based soups to have for lunch and dinner.
5. Switch your timetable. The fact that there are fewer hours of daylight means that you will probably want to change your exercise schedule so that you’re not going out in the dark. Try a 30-minute blast in your lunch break or go on a quick run in the mornings.
Keith McNiven is currently working as a personal trainer. He owns the company Right Path Fitness—a team of London-based personal training specialists.