A Runner’s Guide To Avoiding Winter Weight Gain
Winter doesn’t have to mean weight gain with running on your side!
We’ve all heard the statistics: on average, people gain 5lbs over Winter. You don’t want to be one of them, and neither do we! We’re all one step ahead of most people, of course, because we’re runners.
But even runners are susceptible to seasonal weight gain. So here’s how to use running, healthy eating, and your active lifestyle to maintain your weight over Winter.
Why Do We Gain Weight Over Winter?
There are three factors behind those 5lbs of Winter weight gain.
Our bodies are biologically primed to lay down a little more fat in Winter (our genes haven’t yet caught up with developments like central heating!)
We tend to be less physically active over Winter. Even if we keep running, the other stuff like walking, being outdoors, and gardening take a back seat.
Seasonal calories account for a lot. November, December, and January have a lot of parties, alcohol, extra food, and social opportunities. It’s easy to see where the weight gain can come from.
How To Stay Ahead Of The Weight Gain
So you need to be extra smart about your calories in (food/drink) and your calories out (running and activity) at this time of year.
Be more active.
Make fitness, running, and all activity a priority. You probably already schedule in your runs. Do the same for walking, and for manual chores like washing the car, cleaning the house, and gardening. Any activity will help burn more calories. Try to be aware of any downturn in your activity, and keep moving.
Join up with a friend or two for fitness. They could be running buddies. But they could also be people you go on long walks with, swim with, or even a new fitness class with. Identify the type of activity you struggle with most, and make it easier by inviting a friend.
Pay attention to food.
The calories you take in are important for weight management, but it’s even more significant at this time of year. Keep a close eye on portion sizes. Find healthier ways to cook warming, comforting foods. And choose your battles when it comes to social events. You can’t eat and drink everything you want and then be surprised if you gain weight. It might help to keep track of what you eat and drink, ether via an app, by writing it down, or even by snapping a quick photo for a visual reminder.
Get enough sleep.
Yes, sleep can really help you manage weight gain! First of all, if you’re in bed asleep then you are not sitting up snacking on excess calories. But there are other reasons to sleep more over Winter. Getting enough quality sleep helps your hormones stay balanced, including those that govern hunger, appetite and cravings.
You’re already a runner, which is going to really help you maintain your weight over Winter. But you can make running work even harder for you, by boosting the intensity of your training sessions. Add a new session per week, or replace one (if you already run a lot). Make this new session intense, rather than long. Try hill sprints, sprint intervals on the flat, intervals on the treadmill, or a hilly off road run (during daylight hours of course). Harness the potential of running to burn more calories, so you stay one step ahead of the seasonal festivities!