We all know that 'beach bodies" are built in winter… or do we? With studies showing that over one third of Aussie women put on between two to five kilos over the cooler months, it seems that keeping in tip top shape throughout winter, isn't easy for many of us. But, with summer fast approaching, the good news is that you can help shift that '5kg winter gain" and get back on track now.
Here, 'Australia's number one fitness guy", Guy Leech, tells us how to get back to that pre-winter bod with the following top tips:
1. Get Social
When it comes to fitness, being accountable to yourself sometimes isn't enough, but being accountable to others can really raise the bar. Knowing that you have a fitness buddy counting on you to make it to that gym class, meet for a morning walk or be on time to a pre-purchased boot camp makes you far less likely to skip out. 'Exercising with other people makes fitness a lot more fun," says Leech. 'While the actual fitness part is really important, so is making it enjoyable and committing to something you want to do. Besides, your goals will feel much more achievable if you tackle them with others," he adds. 'If you can't find a friend to match-up a fitness schedule with, create or join an online fitness group on Facebook to give you that extra boost of encouragement and support," he suggests.
2. Lose Kgs With Vitamin D
A recent study has suggested that getting your recommended dose of Vitamin D could also help shift those extra Kgs2. According to the study, people with a Vitamin D deficiency, who are also overweight, could benefit by taking a supplement or ensuring they get enough Vitamin D naturally by catching some sunlight. 'Swimming, biking or walking outdoors in the sun is a great way to get some Vitamin D while you exercise," says Leech. 'Also, if you have a personal trainer, see if you can take your session to a nearby park instead of the gym," he recommends.
3. HIIT it out
No time? No worries! High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) boosts the metabolism, burns heaps of calories and is a super effective way to train, especially if you're time poor. HIIT uses exercises that are broken down into short, intense intervals with regular rest or low-intensity breaks to recover. 'An example of HIIT is going hard for two minutes then resting for 30 seconds and repeating the process for 20 to 30 minutes," says Leech. 'Aiming to dedicate five one hour training sessions per week can be really daunting, so HIIT is a really time efficient and super effective way to improve fitness and burn fat," says Leech. Leech points out though, that for sedentary people starting out, it is essential to get a doctor's clearance before beginning any type of exercise program. Furthermore, he recommends starting out with a more gentle form of exercise, such as walking, until you feel comfortable building up to more vigorous forms of exercise. 'If you're used to high intensity exercise – then HIIT is great, but if you're just starting out you should definitely seek the guidance of an exercise professional before you up the ante on any exercise program," he recommends.
4. Clever Dining
While eating out can wreak havoc on your waistline, when work functions and birthday celebrations pop up, it's something we can rarely avoid. According to Leech, rather than avoiding eating out all together, we just need to learn to make the right choices. 'When dining out, portion sizes can be far bigger than a recommended meal intake or what you would serve at home," he warns. 'Choose wisely from the menu and don't be scared to ask how the food is prepared. Avoid high fat options and opt for sauces on the side so you can control how much you eat, even ask for an entrée sized meal instead of a main sized meal," he recommends. 'Also, remember that baked, broiled, grilled or poached usually mean less or no added fat, so choose one of these options over the fried or sautéed menu items," he adds.
5. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
Set yourself up for success by ensuring your goal is S.M.A.R.T, meaning Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. 'We've heard it all before, but too often I see people making the mistake of setting fitness goals they can't measure or track. If you can't measure it, how can you hope to achieve it?" asks Leech. 'It's a really good idea to start a goals diary where you can document the details of your S.M.A.R.T goals and track your progress," he adds.