Ask The Expert, Fitness & Sport

Should A Season Determine Our Health?

As the saying goes, summer bodies are made in the winter; but to be perfectly honest, why should a season determine our health and wellbeing?

I think the main issue to address here, especially in the UK is that our winter months can be brutally cold, dark and gloomy. During colder months, our bodies naturally want to keep us warm, it’s a survival instinct, so we are inclined to eat more in order to gather a layer of winter fat to keep us warm. So if we are looking to maintain our summer bodies, we need to ensure we stay active and continue to maintain a nutritious and balanced diet, but how can we stay motivated when the seasons subconsciously effect us both physically and mentally.

Callum Melly poses the question: should the seasons determine our approach to health?

Callum Melly asks why should a season determine our approach to health & wellbeing?

Staying Active Beats The Blues

A lack of sunshine can lead to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) as well as a lack of Vitamin D which can result in depression, energy loss and in extreme circumstances, rickets. Therefore, I always recommend to my clients supplementing with a good quality Vitamin D supplement, such as The Protein Works “Vitamin D3 Super Strength”.

As a nation we tend to accept that it is socially acceptable to do less exercise during the colder wetter months from October through to February, who want’s to go out for a run when it’s hammering down with rain or in the blistering cold, or go to the gym before or after work when it’s pitch black? But that’s my point exactly, we should make the effort to stay active and eat healthily, there are the same amount of hours in the day and to be honest, the endorphins that are released during exercise can help to combat SAD and keep you more upbeat during winter.

Callum’s Top Tips To Stay Motivated

In order to stay motivated I recommend the following things:

  • Update your playlist to include upbeat and energetic music.
  • Track your results (weight and progress pictures) each week to keep yourself focused and motivated upon successful results.
  • Get yourself a training partner and hold each other accountable for your actions or lack of them.
  • Follow a structured exercise and nutrition programme like my “BODY IN 8”, 8 week body and lifestyle transformation programme. You can discover more about “BODY IN 8” at www.bodyin8.com.
  • Follow inspirational & motivational personalities on Instagram and connect with health and fitness communities and like minded people. You can follow me on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook at @callummelly

Fat Cells Never Disappear

People often turn to comfort eating during these colder months, rich and stodgy foods such as Sunday roasts, stew and dumplings are typically British and again can add to that desired layer of body fat that we instinctively want to achieve, and it’s easily achievable due to the ridiculous amount of calories each meal contains. Furthermore, seasonal traditions such as Halloween and Christmas fall in during these Autumn and Winter months and again, everyone tends to go overboard and think, oh well, I will just wait to New Year to get back into shape.

What people forget, or probably don’t even realize is that when we gain weight (body fat) due to a calorie surplus, we create more fat cells to store fat molecules as energy. Fat cells never disappear, we can burn the stored fat within the cells, but the cells themselves remain. Therefore, if we do gain weight (fat) and then lose weight, it is always possible to gain that weight back and more, due to those extra fat cells being created always being there. Surely this knowledge alone is enough to make you think twice about over indulging?

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Healthy Lifestyle For Every Season

I think we need to reassess how we look at exercising and eating during Autumn and Winter and make a conscious effort to maintain our exercise and healthy eating regimes. Workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home if you don’t want to drag yourself out of bed at 6am in the cold and dark to venture to the gym. Comfort food can be healthy, how about making a lean mince and sweet potato shepherds pie for some post-workout recovery, rather than your traditional rich and calorific version!

What I am trying to say is that there are always healthy alternatives that will get you through these cold and wet months, but more importantly help you to maintain your summer body all year round!

My “BODY IN 8” virtual personal training programme is a great way to stay in shape during winter, everything you need from your daily workouts with myself as your PT, to nutrition, exercise and lifestyle tips and advice! The social community on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @callummelly is also a great way to stay connected, inspired, motivated and focused on your goals with likeminded people!

At Home Workouts

If you are unable to get to the gym, then I would recommend either of the following bodyweight circuit workouts:

  • Select a number of different exercises (usually 4-10).
  • Complete them back to back for a set duration with good form (usually you will work for 30-60 seconds and there will be 10-30 seconds brief rest between each exercise as you prepare for the next exercise).
  • Repeat the circuit (usually 3-5 times)

OR

  • Select a number of different exercises (usually 4-10).
  • Complete them back to back for a certain amount of reps with good form (usually between 10-20 reps)
  • Repeat the circuit (usually 3-5 times)

Fasted Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) Cardio

Fasted LISS cardio in the morning is a great way to target burning stored body fat as energy and start your day in a calorie deficit. In order to optimize LISS cardio you want to be working at 60-70% of your maximal heart rate, on average you will burn around 100 calories every 10 minutes if working close to 70% of your maximal heart rate. You can calculate your optimal fat burning zone with the equation below:

220 – your age = maximum heart rate

To find 60-70% of 193 you need to multiply 193 by 0.6 and 0.7. For example, Callum is 27 so:

220 – 27 = 193

60% = 193 x 0.6 = 115.8

70% = 193 x 0.7 = 135.1

So Callum’s optimal fat burning zone is between 115.8 and 135.1.

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