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Thursday, September 20, 2012
by Karen Kwan
Do you find you tend to put on weight in the fall season? There’s no good reason you should go into hibernation mode like a bear, but we can see how the rich and delicious autumn fare is tempting, and the fact that we no longer need to bare all in a bikini but rather can just get all cozy in layers of sweaters can certainly make hitting the gym to stay tone somewhat less urgent. Not to mention the fact that with school starting up and new routines in full swing, well, our health regimens often fall apart at the seams a bit in the fall. Here are some expert tips on how to stay on track.
Make your workouts more efficient
“No more summer schedules mean that time really is of the essence,” says Sammie Kennedy, founder of Booty Camp Fitness. “Use your time wisely to work out smarter and not harder; exercise efficiently.” She suggests incorporating some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and Tabata training methods. “Full of cardiovascular challenges and plyometric movements, these workout styles keep the heart rate elevated in intense bursts resulting in an absolute calorie blast.”
Another thing to keep in mind is to make it easier on yourself when it comes to your actual exercise routine. Rather than figure out your cardio and strength training, leave it to an expert. “Look into joining a group fitness class where a professional has already designed and efficient, targeted workout,” says Kennedy.
Break out your slow cooker
“Slow cookers are an excellent way to prepare healthy meals that take no time at all,” says Michelle Saraiva of Get Real Gurls Nutrition. “There is nothing better than coming home to a warm, home-cooked meal. And prepping meals ahead of time will help you avoid eating out which makes managing your weight easier,” says the registered dietitian. She suggests experimenting with bean dishes like a vegetarian chilli, bean soup or chickpea curry as beans are high in fibre and protein which will fill you up for longer.
Prepare yourself for the upcoming celebrations
They’re already stocking Halloween candy in the stores, and even though they’re smaller in size, do your best to resist buying bags of them. “Did you know even eating one mini, Halloween-sized candy bar everyday could lead to 10 pounds of weight gain at the end of the year?” says Saraiva. “A general rule of thumb is that an extra 100 calories a day equals 10 pounds of weight gain per year. An extra 200 calories = 20 lbs of weight gain and so on. And research shows that people tend to overeat smaller packaged treats like mini candy bars or 100 calorie snack packs,” she says.
Besides Halloween, Christmas will be here before you know it. “Get motivated to stay on top of fitness by planning what dresses you’ll be wearing to holiday events and New Year’s parties and keep them in prominent view next to your gym clothes,” suggests Kennedy. “Remembering and seeing why you’re motivated to achieve your health and fitness makes it more likely that you’ll stick to your exercise plan.”
Take advantage of fall’s seasonal produce
Get inspired to cook by buying the freshest seasonal produce. “Go for squashes — with the fall season comes a variety of local squashes to add to your menu,” says Saraiva. She suggests using spaghetti squash as your starch instead of actual pasta. “Check out these calorie savings: one cup cooked spaghetti has 220 calories versus one cup cooked spaghetti squash which has only 40 calories!”
Steer clear of popular seasonal bevvies
“Watch out for high calorie, seasonal beverages like apple cider and other hot drinks like hot chocolate, which become oh so appealing as the cold weather rolls in,” says Saraiva. “You want to avoid drinking your calories as they don’t fill you up as whole foods do. Stick to tea, coffee with milk (or black) or plain skim milk lattes for a hot indulgence that won’t break the calorie bank.”