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Health and Fitness Tips

Watching Weight Gain in the Winter

Nutrition is so important when you are trying to keep the winter pounds at bay. Here are four tips to help you while you strive to keep your workouts on schedule and eating habits in-check.

Water
When you exercise, your metabolic rate increases, resulting in increased body heat. This heat needs to be regulated via sweat to maintain proper body temperatures. The hotter it is outside, and the harder and longer you exercise, the more sweat you produce. If the fluid isn't replaced, the body becomes dehydrated. Since the body cannot adapt to dehydration, the loss of body water can severely affect physiological function, the ability to do work and overall health.

Be sure to drink water before, during and after training (both weights and cardio). To estimate how many ounces of water you should have during the day, use this rule of thumb - divide your body weight by 2 (so if you weigh 180 pounds, that's 90 ounces of water per day).

Eat at Home
The more often you eat at restaurants, the harder it will be for you to drop weight. Even if you choose wisely when you go out to eat, the portions are usually large and there's no telling how much oil or butter the cook slapped on the grill. So make an extra effort to prepare meals at home and bring them with you to work or school. Continue cooking chicken, turkey and eggs in bulk for easy protein sources. A counter top grill (such as a George Foreman grill) makes it incredibly easy to cook a chicken breast to perfection.

Change Your Carbs
Eating a low-carb diet is a big mistake. Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame - energy from carbohydrate sources is necessary to burn fat stores. Plus, if you're not eating enough carbs to replenish glycogen stores and fuel your training sessions, you're going to have to tap into your muscle protein stores for energy. Since protein is a subpar source of fuel, you'll be less able to hammer the weights and cardio at high intensities. Worse, you'll be burning the very tissue you're working so hard to build.

Instead of cutting carbs, you can manipulate them to clean up your physique. Strive to eat as many whole grains as possible instead of more "refined," or overly processed, sources of carbohydrate. Examples of refined carbohydrates include processed cereal bars, sugary cereals, or cheese crackers. At the store, buy whole-wheat pasta, crackers and bread; brown rice; and old-fashioned oats. If you don't already have one, find a cereal that lists "whole wheat" as the first ingredient and has at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. Switching to whole grains will increase your fiber intake and slightly decrease your calorie intake, as well as improve the overall quality of your diet. If you're struggling to lose those final few pounds, try swapping a grain serving for a fruit or vegetable serving each day.

Limit Sodium Intake
Excess salt can make you retain water and obscure the definition you've worked so hard to achieve.

To limit sodium and prevent that full, bloated look, avoid these foods: frozen meals, fast food, Chinese food, canned soup, boxed rice/pasta mixes, pickles, olives, chips, beef jerky, microwave popcorn and basically most processed ready-to-eat produce. Obviously, don't use the saltshaker.

Concentrate on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with lean proteins such as egg whites, chicken, turkey and protein powder. Low fat, or fat-free cottage cheese, milk, cheese and yogurt.

Remember to keep to a healthy routine, but if you slip-up, don't beat yourself up, just get back on your workout and nutrition plan as soon as possible.

Rick Gusler is a certified personal trainer and diet nutritionist who serves his clients through Gusler Body Sculpting and Fitness Center in central Denver. To schedule a free consultation or to learn more about the Gusler method of body sculpting, or Rick's Boot Camp, please contact him at 303.860.7131 or online at www.guslerbodysculpting.com.

Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center, LLC
459 Acoma Street · Denver, Colorado 80204 · 303-860-7131
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7-12, 4-9 · Saturday: 7-12 · Sunday: Closed