Winter is a great time to rest your body but its also the perfect time to add some extra size and muscle without having to worry about your body fat percentage too much. There can be a lot of confusing information out there on how to add size without also piling on a lot of unwanted weight but if you use these tips then it can go a long way to helping you gain the right kind of weight over the winter period.
- Restore Your Immune System
For those of you who live in cold-weather areas, catching the flu is practically inevitable. Holidays are the perfect storm to share flu-causing microbes. On top of that, the constant eating most people do during holiday season impairs their digestive systems. The immune system is mainly built up in your gut. Great health is the reflection of a healthy gut.
The best immune system builder is a good probiotic. Instead of the most common yogurt that is often full of sugar, you can opt for goats milk or Greek yoghurt enriched with probiotics. Glutamine taken as a supplement will go a long way.
When bacteria enters the gut, the incubation period could be up to five days until it grows strong and invades the rest of the body to cause dreaded flu symptoms. Repairing the gut in the process will bring the gut’s homeostasis back up to par and help beat the symptoms in half the time.
- Eat Different Foods
Since most people follow the same diet over and over again with the same foods, take this time of the year to change things. Swap the chicken and rice meals for filet mignon and mashed cauliflower. During the winter season, the brain tends to slow down, and energy levels drop. Changing food around will help you get rid of some possible food intolerances, which are often activated by repeatedly eating the same things.
Since we like to spend less time outside during the winter and don’t get enough sunlight, we start to lack a major component of life: vitamin D. It’s a good idea to eat foods that have higher levels of this vitamin. However, I wouldn’t go for the “vitamin D-enriched” juices, milk, or foods since the body will not absorb it the same way as the bio-available vitamins from natural sources.
Here are the major food sources of vitamin D:
- Cod liver oil
- Sockeye salmon
- Beef liver
- Help Build Lean Muscle Mass
The best thing in this case would be to increase your protein intake. One way to do this is by eating more meat. Try different kinds than what you’re used to as well. The best is wild game like venison, boar, and bison—totally natural meat with no hidden chemicals and raised in the wild without any antibiotics. It will not only help you gain muscle mass for your “bulk-up phase,” but it will also help you stay focused all day long and keep your metabolism through the roof. All the amino acids will also help beat the winter blues and keep energy levels high.
- Keep Your Metabolism Active
Bulking up doesn’t mean that you have to look like a sumo wrestler during the winter, only to lose all the fat afterward. Keep low glycemic carbohydrates as usual, but increase your carbohydrates at night. Your body is more efficient at processing carbohydrates at night, which makes it a great time to use higher glycemic carbs such as sweet potatoes, wild rice, or carrots. If you time it efficiently, this meal is the best after a great hypertrophy workout. Nutrient timing is the best way to go. Protein and its amino acids will boost your metabolism like nothing else, but carbs at the right time will make sure you have the adequate energy for the next lifting session.
- Promote Healthy Brain Function
Depression-like symptoms come out in full force around this time of year, especially with everything that’s been going on. The lack of sunshine and warmth makes some people vulnerable to less than desirable thoughts, and makes it harder to stay motivated. This is not the time to cut down on fat. The brain needs fat to function well. All sources of fat are required. Polysaturated, monosaturated, and, believe it or not, saturated fats are the way to go, especially in the wintertime. Saturated fats positively affect free testosterone. It’s of great help for muscle growth, tissue regeneration, immune system boosting, and sexual function. The best sources of saturated fats are coconut oil, organic butter, meats, and nuts.
It is proven that saturated fats help retain more omega 3’s in the cell and can make it easier to convert it into DHA, which is critical for optimal brain health and function at all stages of life. However, too much saturated fat can also be harmful. Let’s say that a reasonable amount should be one-third of your daily fat intake.
Down the road, after winter comes spring. Planning it all in advance will save you time, even though planning takes time. Take a few months off your regular diet habits by trying out these kinds of foods to help you get through those cold and boring winter months, and use it to your advantage.