We all know that we should be training in winter to stay healthy and in shape. Yes, to be healthy is most important, but let’s face it, no one wants to emerge after winter, looking like a butterfly who turned into a worm instead of the other way around.
I know more than anyone that this is difficult.  It is more important though, to remember; if you want to be healthy and in shape, you will have to put some work in.   I have listed my top tips on how to stay active, and stay in shape this winter;
Shorten your session

We all know in winter the days are shorter and we really struggle to get the time to fit everything in. Why don’t you try a short workout video at home or try a 30 minute walk to get you started. A good idea is also to break your sessions up.  Do cardio every alternating day and top up with weights in between instead of trying to get everything done in an hour.

Include weight training into your workout

There is a common misperception that weight training makes you bulky, and only cardio assists in healthy fitness and lean body mass.  Building lean muscle assists with burning more calories during rest. With winter being a time of naturally being less active, weight training becomes even more important.  Read more on the current trend of weight training and how it assists with weight loss.

Train with a friend

We all have those days when you just can’t and just don’t feel like getting to gym, or to hit the road for a run or walk. Commit to a training programme with a friend, and you are more likely to stick to your program.  Set goals together, and hold each other accountable for your progress.

Plan to enter a race which takes place after winter

This works like an absolute charm.  My sister and I commit to running a race together every September.  Even though she stays in another city.  We prepare individually for this race and as we are committed not to let each other down, we train through winter for this race.  I am also quite competitive by nature so I always ensure I am fit and prepared well.  This don’t have to be a 42 km or anything hectic.  Why don’t you try the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon which has a peace run/walk option of 10km. Both are taking place on the 23 of September and entries are open as we speak.  Follow link for more information.

Eat more protein and veg/salad easy on the bread and soup

Protein takes longer to digest and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.  It also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.  Even snacks should have at least 10 grams of protein.  This will help to deter you from consuming the ever so tempting comfort foods of winter.  Salads are great as well during winter.  They are rich in vitamin C sources, and also keeps your diet balanced.  Try and stay away from cream/fat based soups and bread. Rather option for soups which are water based, with loads of protein and equally high in fibre.

Drink more water and tea’s

Research suggests the some 75 percent of people may be chronically dehydrated and we often mistake dehydration for hunger. Regular water consumption can curb snacking for the wrong reasons and boost energy.  In winter we also tend to look for the dense milky, sugary drinks such as hot chocolate, latte’s etc.  It is important to be aware that these are loaded with calories.  (Try to stick to green tea, skip the sugar and milk).  Read more onbenefits of drinking green tea.

Be carb smart

There is a misperception that carbs are the enemy. You can eat bread and pasta, but quality, quantity, and timing is everything.  Balance the key. Carbs based vegetables, or those with protein and fibre (like beans and dairy) should be the bulk of your intake. Try and stay away from empty and refined carbs. You can have bread, pasta, and rice (starchy carbs) after a workout, before a race, and in moderation, (when your body can best/actually use them)

Don’t skip meals

Have you ever tried going shopping on an empty stomach and you buy everything you see? Same when going to an event starving, you eat anything and everything that comes your way. By not skipping meals not only revs up your metabolism it also makes you steer clear of temptation. Eat normally throughout the day so you have willpower to only enjoy eating in moderation.  Planning your meals becomes very important as well in winter to stop you from over eating. Read more on how you can plan your meals better with a useful mealtime plan.

Supplement your diet

Michelle Jooste who is a dietitian at Vital Health Foods, says that Vitamin C is one of the best preventative measures to support your immune system during the winter months. Research shows that in adults, supplementing with 1000mg of Vitamin C daily assists in reducing the duration and severity of flu symptoms” explains Jooste.

Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium and Vitamin A all contribute to healthy immune function. Multivitamins that contain these ingredients reduce the risk of getting cold and flu. Multivitamins further ensure that you get the nutrients and minerals you need to function optimally.

This in turn, will limit your down-time so that you can still exercise and enjoy preparing for that marathon!

The Sanlam Cape Marathon and Vital Health Foods have compiled a competition hamper to encourage you and a friend to exercise and be healthy.

Winners will each receive;

A race-pack to the Cape Town Marathon (R660 each including timing chip and Asics Shirt) Slazenger Jacket from K-way, a Travel Mug, Lunch Box Cooler, Hand Sanitisers, and a R1200 shopping voucher on Vital online store as well as 3 boxes each of Futurelife high protein

For a chance to win this hamper you will have to complete all below steps:
  1. Share this article and tag your friend who you would like to challenge to be active out-doors this winter.
  2. Mention which race you want to train for, and challenge your friend to (10km peace race or full marathon)
  3. Tag Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and Vital as well as The Jog Blog (otherwise we can’t see you)
Your post will look something like this:

“I want to challenge @FriendsName to run the @CTMarathon 10km fun run with me and stay healthy this winter with @Vital.Health.Foods

The social media handles are as follows:
Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

Facebook @CTMarathon

Twitter @CTMarathon

Instagram @CTMarathon

Vital health foods and The Jog Blog competition give awayVital Health Foods

Instagram @Vital_Health_Foods

Facebook @Vital.Health.Foods

Good luck, stay warm and be healthy!