Winter is the perfect time for many fitness enthusiasts to relish on their favorite foods and bulk up. If you have been eagerly eyeing the holiday season so that you could “gain fat” and boast your protruding body, then it’s time to re-assess your strategy. No longer is “bulking up” your necessity during the winters. Younger generation of bodybuilders look for options that would help them gain lean muscle rather than putting on stubborn fat that is pro-inflammatory.
Since winter comes along with hordes of festive foods, some people consider it a rest period when it comes to their diet, doing their adrenals a lot of good. But then there are others, who burn a lot before and during the holiday season to keep their higher calorie level in control.
A good strategy to beat the winter’s blues is to consider it a chilling phase when it comes to your diet plans. But this doesn’t mean that you start ordering every meal from a popular fast food chain. Just sticking to some healthy basic foods, you can gain lean muscle mass while enjoying the festivities the shorter days bring along.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Flu is a winter guest that stays with you for long this season. Holiday season is the right time that this viral disease thrives and transfers to people around you. The constant intake of food during the cold days also slows down their digestive recovery, disrupting the overall immunity of the body and making you susceptible to catch cold. Since the immunity of the body is controlled by the gut, a healthy gut guarantees a healthy body.
In order to build up your immunity, consider opting for diet that is full of probiotics. Rather than choosing plain yogurt that is loaded with sugar, go for goat milk or Greek yogurt that is enriched with probiotics. Another way to beat the common cold is to take 5g of Glutamine supplement every hour. Glutamine is very beneficial for restoring the gut’s health and will keep the common cold at bay.
When bacteria attack the gut, it usually takes around a week for the cold symptoms to surface. Providing the gut with supplements would bring it par to keep the bacteria from taking full control of the body.
Enjoy Variety Of Foods
People who are looking to bulk usually stick to a similar diet throughout the year. Festive season is the time that you should relish on different choices. Instead of eating the ordinary chicken and rice meals, try beef steak with stir fry cauliflower. Brain performance during the colder months is considerably lower causing the energy levels to drop down. By adding a more variety to your menu, you can improve your body’s immunity and get rid of certain food intolerances that occur as a result of making similar food choices.
Since we don’t get enough sunshine during the colder months, Vitamin D levels in our body start to fluctuate. Now is the time to delve into food options that are rich with this vitamin. Instead of using Vitamin D enriched juices or milk, choose natural food sources, since it is difficult for the body to absorb the vitamin from artificial sources.
Some food options that you can consider using that consist ample amount of Vitamin D are:
- Beef Liver
- Egg Yolks
- Fish such as Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon etc.
Time To Think Lean Muscle Mass
Winter is the perfect season to look forward to gaining lean muscle mass. The tried and tested way is to notch up your protein intake. Try different types of meat such as venison, beef and bison, since they are unexposed to chemicals and pesticides and are totally natural. Nutritionally rich protein sources will let your body build lean muscle mass, while activating your metabolism. With ample amino acids circulating in your body, you can outperform this winter’s cold, keeping your energy level intact.
Work On Your Metabolism
Many people mistake bulking up as puffing up. They keep on filling their bellies with whatever comes their way and end up looking like an inflated balloon, only to let that air escape once the winter blues are over.
To keep your metabolism soaring in the sky, monitor your glycemic carbohydrates intake. Since the body is better at processing carbs during the night, increasing your glycemic intake such as carrots, sweet potatoes, lentils and rice during late hours would let your body build up energy for the next day. Bulking up carbs post workout a good way to gather the strength needed for the next lifting session. Timing is vital when it comes to gaining lean muscle mass. While protein and amino acids would give your body the needed drive, carbs at night would provide your body with energy reserves to meet your fitness goals.
Improve Your Well Being
Cold, dark winter days are a haven for depression, anxiety and stress. The lack of fresh air and sunshine makes some people prone to unfavorable thoughts, making it difficult for them to channel their energies. Cutting down on fat further worsens the situation. Since brain functioning is conditional to fat consumption, it is imperative that you consume all types of fat such as polysaturated, monosaturated as well as saturated fats. Saturated fats are extremely beneficial for free testosterone in the body, aiding the body in muscle growth, improving immune system, and helping the body in regenerative functions. You can easily obtain saturated fat from consumption of variety of meats, nuts, coconut oil and butter.
Saturated fats are also good for retaining Omega 3 in the cells and then conveniently converting them into DHA, which is the backbone of a healthy brain and vital for executing everyday functions. That being said, like in all things, moderation is the key. Abundance of saturated fat can play havoc with your health. In order to ensure that your body is getting an adequate amount, consider using 1/3 of your fat consumption in a day.
Though the wintry days may seem long, they won’t last forever. Just a few months down the lane and you’ll see yourself enjoy the spring’s pleasant air. A good diet plan for your winter months can build up energy reserves that can last up to the next season. Consider the gloomy winter months as a time to pause from your regular diet menu and indulge in foods that would build up strength and immunity. The energy reserves built now would last through your leaning phase in summer, making the process more enjoyable and fruitful.
Feature Photo Credits: Łukasz Dyłka