New Year, New You! Where to start your fitness journey.

Every year Winnipeg gyms are filled with individuals eager to lose the holiday bulge, that extra 5-12lbs they put on the previous 2 weeks of sitting around visiting with family. Driving hours from house to house, to sit and eat, and sit and eat some more. Our baseline activity level tends to drop as we get out of our routines therefore our total calorie expenditure drops. On top of that our total intake of calories tends to increase, and increase quite dramatically as we add high carb sides to our high protein meals…turkey and potatoes, gravy, stuffing. Not to mention, who doesn’t add a few beverages on top of that. Consider that all the calories you eat need to be converted to locomotion/perform work, be converted to heat or stored as fat for later use. Our activity being lower we tend to store a lot more. So where should we start if we made it through the holidays a few lbs over of our holiday weight in? Does this matter? Likely no, but assuming this is your situation, here is where we start.

First off, don’t panic, in all likelyhood, you haven’t been tracking your weight frequently and one off measurements don’t offer enough reliability or data to cause us any concern. Ok, now make sure you don’t let any unwanted weight fluctuations throw you off your game, get back on your routine and start planning your lifestyle according to your goals. DO NOT try to over exercise to burn off extra weight gain, there are so many reasons you could weigh heavier and most are not due to increased fat gain. Maybe you’re glycogen(sugar) stores in your muscles are full(true if you were low carb before the holidays, this is a good thing, so use that extra energy and have some good workouts. Secondly a reduced workload allows for recovery, so you may actually have built some muscle due to the extra calories and rest! Lastly, different varieties of foods, and more food, with less rest often leads to increased transit time in the gut, meaning you’ll weigh heavier due to increased food in your intestinal track. Paired with higher sodium and fluid retention equals more weight. So don’t panic and get back to business as usual.

So my recommendation, set some goals for 2018, make a plan, and get to work. Prioritize strength training. Work on increasing your total daily activity level. I always work with minimums, 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 10-15000 steps per week. Remember all steps aren’t created equal, make them count! Take up a sport or group exercise class to make the most of your activity! Track something other than weight to measure your progress. Take progress pics and use strength and performance as your main indicator of progress! Only athletes in weight dependent sports should worry about their weight. If you must track, track weight daily or not at all, take note of fluctuations and how they relate to hormones, mood, stress, calorie intake etc. Hope that helps get you set on your way for 2018!

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