Call it human hibernation but it is one of the things that links us to our cute mammal friends—chipmunks and raccoon and Jesse Ventura which are known for hibernating. A study says that Animals respond to light and temperature cues. These cues compel bears, for example, to store 50 percent of their body weight as fat in preparation for the long, cold nights of winters. Does all this make you empathize it with your winter sluggishness ? Well to a lot extent it should. Most of us spend our winters like giant, hairy carnivores, sleeping more, eating more—and exercising less. Having post winter workouts is a must for getting yourself back into shape.
THE DAMAGE: NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK
Don’t worry about the long-term effects of a winter layoff. There’re really aren’t any. Your fitness will ebb and flow, like everything else in your body. In the long run, it’s really irrelevant if you miss a couple of weeks here and there.
JUST SHOW UP
Longer nights actually have a physiological effect on men’s bodies. A lack of the hormone melatonin (its production is linked to duration of daylight) makes us sluggish, and we spend our days covered up in layers of bulky clothing, making it easy to hide our spreading love handles.
But there’s one place where people aren’t covered up, where the lights are bright, and where we feel a surge of adrenaline just by walking in the door, hang on! it’s not a maternity ward. Just go to a gym. Your mentality will shift back. You’ll see people who look fit, and that will motivate you. Buy a pass and spend the whole darn day there. Don’t push yourself. Try out every aerobic and strength machine—and play with all the buttons and settings—until you know how everything works. The next time you go, you won’t be stuck doing the same old routine, like you did last year.
SET YOUR GOALS STRAIGHT
What’s the first thing most of us do to get back into shape? We join a gym or buy a treadmill or hire a personal trainer, all without any idea of what we ultimately want to accomplish. Do not forget we need goals, not gadgets. That first goal has to be specific: Lose 2 inches off your waist, drop 10 pounds, get ready for a summer basketball league, bench-press 200 pounds. Once you have a specific goal, the next step is to give yourself time to accomplish it. Tell yourself you’re going to lose 2 inches or 10 pounds in 6 to 8 weeks.
MAKE A PLAN
Just as you wouldn’t rent a Porsche to haul your furniture, you shouldn’t go into the gym and start pumping iron if your goal is to lose your gut. All exercise is good for something, but no exercise is good for everything.
If you want to lose pounds: Focus on food and aerobic exercise. Exercise is important—the nation’s most successful weight-droppers work off about 2,800 calories a week. When it comes to losing weight, diet gets you there faster.
If you only want to build strength: Hit the weight room. Don’t severely limit your calories, and go easy on the aerobic exercise too. Both of those could lower your testosterone, making it tougher to add strength.
If you want to prepare for a sport: Work on skills (shooting, hitting, throwing) and the type of endurance the sport requires. For example, basketball and tennis require short bursts of speed; running longer distances slowly won’t get you ready for that.
Also focus on flexibility. Mark Noble, flexibility consultant for the Duke University basketball team, found that the team’s performance improved about 30 percent over a 2-year period when he had the players begin a program of simple stretches. His favorite full-body stretch: Squat down and try to get your tailbone as close to your heels as possible while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Place your elbows inside your knees and push your knees apart. Now lean forward a little farther. This one stretch hits your Achilles tendons, lower back, and groin muscles.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
Its the same thing to say that, “I need to do aerobic exercise” or “I really should lift weights.” It’s another thing not to hate every second of it. Here are three approaches to try.
A. Distraction: Distract yourself with some sort of entertainment. Tell yourself you can read your favorite mystery author only when you’re on the recumbent bike. Make the tread-mill your Louis Rukheyser hour. At high-end gyms, you can surf the Web while on a stationary bike.
B. Aspiration. In the most soul-numbing moments of the most boring meetings of your career, what do you wish you could be doing instead? Climbing a mountain? Hitting a home run? Starring in your own straight-to-video martial-arts movie? Work with that. Schedule a vacation that involves hiking and climbing. Or sign up for an entry-level karate class. Then do whatever cardiovascular exercise and strength training you need to get in shape for it. Give yourself a reasonable time frame, one month should do it.
C. Recreation. No rule says that exercise has to be plodding around a track or smelting iron in a room full of muscle-heads. Recreational sports burn calories too. Say you play three rounds of golf- a week, walking and pulling your clubs with a handcart, which would be about 1.5 miles of walking, or 1,500 calories burned. Here are some other ways how a 5-pound man can burn 1,500 calories in a week without feeling miserable exercising:
- Doubles tennis: 3 hours
- Fly-fishing: 3 hours
- Softball: 31/2 hours
- Lawn mowing (no, not a riding mower): 4 hours
- Drumming: 41/2 hours
- Vigorous sex: 12 hours
- Driving a drag racer: 3 hours
START AT THE HALFWAY POINT
Your first week back from a break, attempt to do only half of what you did before. Work out with half the weight. Walk or run half the miles. Hit half as many golf balls or baseballs, or shoot half as many jumpers. After a couple of weeks, you may feel the temptation to start pushing yourself but Don’t. Your feet, knees, elbows, and shoulders aren’t ready for the pounding, even if your muscles feel great and your stamina seems to be returning. Your joints and connective tissues won’t give you any feed-back until there’s a problem. Instead, increase your miles and speed and weights lifted by 10 percent a week, tops. If you start your program with half of what you were doing before, you can get back to two-thirds within a month. In 2 months, you’ll be better than ever.
Most of us fall off all our wagons at least once. When we stop exercising, we stop eating carefully and start drinking sloppily. Here’s something you can do tomorrow to eat lighter and healthier: Pack your own lunch. The more you eat out, the less control you have over your food, and the more likely you are to overeat. Even when you order just a sandwich at a deli, you eat more food than you’d ever make for yourself.
2 ways to lose weight fast:
a. Go off the juice. Sometimes you can just stop drinking sodas and juices and drop significant amount of pounds in a month.
b. Stay away from bars. Energy bars, anyway or protein drinks, energy gels, or any of the other high-calorie additives that come with workouts these days. Unless you’re trying to gain weight, the fat around your waist is all the energy you need for moderate workouts. Make friends with fruits. Add a fruit to each meal, and a vegetable to lunch and dinner. You’ll feel fuller and eat less at your next snack or meal. A less radical measure is to use meat as a condiment, rather than as the main attraction: Make it part of a sandwich or a salad, or use it in a pasta sauce.
THE GUT-SHRINKING WORKOUT
Okay, you’ve decided on a specific goal and taken some simple steps toward re-vamping your diet. It’s now time to get on to the specifics of your workout program. First, take out a tape measure. Measure your waist around your belly button. Next, suck in your waist until it’s 2 inches smaller. That’s what the average guy gets on this program.
Weights: Do each workout twice a week. The weights specified here are just suggestions; they may be too light or heavy. Just make sure you improve each week.
Cardiovascular: Before each weight workout, do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at a challenging intensity. Three other days a week, do 1 hour of cardio exercise at a slightly lower intensity; you can do this all at once or break it up 30 minutes before work and 30 minutes after, 20 minutes three times a day, and so forth.
So now, since you’re aware of the ways to get off your winter lay off, we’re sure you’d want to be well inspired by the 7 Awesome Indoor Workouts to Try Before Winter.
References:  Bradshaw WE, Holzapfel CM. Light, time, and the physiology of biotic response to rapid climate change in animals. Annu Rev Physiol. 2010;72:147-66. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021909-135837. PMID: 20148671.  Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Nieuwenhuizen A, Tomé D, Soenen S, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Annu Rev Nutr. 2009;29:21-41. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141056. PMID: 19400750.  Lisa Balbach, a certified aerobics instructor and personal trainer, offers practical information on how to get in shape. The site includes easy-to-follow stretching exercises and aerobics choreography.