Winter Fitness: Healthy Habits
Staying healthy can be a challenge this time of year, but celebrity trainer Dolvett Quince offers savvy advice to help you keep your eye on the prize.
Between colder weather that can keep people in many parts of the country indoors more than usual and celebrations surrounding the holidays, winter is notorious as the toughest time of year to maintain fitness goals. Celebrity trainer Dolvett Quince, however, has seen it all (many times over!). Read on for master motivator, author, life coach, entrepreneur and longtime The Biggest Loser trainer Quince’s prescription for making it through the winter months looking and feeling your best.
It’s Not All or Nothing.
This is a time of year when many people feel pushed to overextend themselves in more ways than one: time, money and, yes, even healthwise. When it comes to your well-being, it pays to not put your fitness goals on the metaphorical credit card. “Sometimes people overcommit and overcommit extremely,” says Quince. “Meaning, ‘It’s winter now, so I’m going to eat whatever I want in December … but come January, I’m going to hit the gym hard!’” This borrow now, pay later approach is a ticket to trouble. Even if you’re not working out as much as you’d like or eating as healthfully as you want, don’t throw caution to the wind. Paying the bill in the New Year is often more difficult than anticipated.
Choose a workout you enjoy. Photo credit: Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock
Switch Things Up.
In Quince’s view, the old adage that variety is the spice of life could easily have been written about working out. “Fitness needs to be something enjoyed on a daily basis, and to do so you have to take the word ‘work’ out of ‘working out’ – you can’t look at it as being work,” he says. “It goes back to loving something versus doing it only because you feel an obligation.” While consistency can be beneficial, boredom rarely is.
“I’m of the mindset that you should switch up your routine often and not get acclimated,” says Quince. “Our bodies plateau. If you’re someone who lifts weights, make sure to do cardio, and commit to it. You’re doing things I call ‘unseen’; you’re addressing your heart, blood flow and joints. It’s so important to switch that up. Vice versa, too; [lift weights] for bone density and muscle mass.”
If you exercise every day and are advanced in your workouts, Quince advocates mixing it up even more. “If Monday and Tuesday are lift days addressing different body areas such as lower versus upper, then do yoga on Wednesday, on Thursday go for a run and Friday return to lifting.” Personally, Quince switches things around constantly. “I’m lifting weights, doing stairs, boxing. There’s no limit to my variation, because my body responds really well to it. The goal is being lean and feeling good and having mobility.” Sticking rigidly to one kind of workout can leave you lacking in some areas. “My workouts have as much variation as possible to get the maximum benefit.”
Eating clean can serve as an “internal workout.” Photo credit: Creativ Studio Heinemann / Getty Images
For Quince, eating clean year-round can’t be overemphasized. That means menus filled with vegetables, lean proteins and minimal carbs. “I’m going to eat fish versus a fatty steak, and I’m going to eat smart carbs (those packed with nutrients and fiber) like sweet potatoes versus mashed potatoes and lasagna,” he says. Even during winter, he recommends eating like it’s spring or summer. “Make salads, involve fruit in everything. Just because it’s snowing outside, still eat like you’re on an island! Lots of fish and nuts. I call that the ‘internal workout.’ If you’re taking care of the inside workout, you’ll be just fine.” One trick he’s currently using to watch portions? “I’m eating everything out of a bowl! It’s one size, so you’re always in control. I’m trying to get people to do that.”
Cheating Is Good.
You have to take the word ‘work’ out of ‘working out’!
While Quince is disciplined, he’s also a realist. “It goes back to my book,” he says, referencing his 2013 go-to, The 3-1-2-1 Diet: Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss. The 1s in the book’s title represent cheat days, where he advocates that you enjoy a cheat meal or two. It’s important, he notes, to program yourself to earn your cheat days – but there’s another reason for them. “I think if you teach your body to lean toward eating clean and then earn a cheat, the resulting body confusion internally works to your benefit,” he says. “You don’t want to be too extreme, where you’re depleted, and the minute you eat something you blow back up. You want to have more of a rhythm – but you have to earn that cheat.”
Take a Holistic Approach.
For a variety of reasons, the winter can be a stressful time of year. Many people, Quince says, could benefit from a bit of mental serenity. “I think the direction fitness is going is toward meditation,” he says. “Uniting emotional, spiritual and physical health rather than focusing on just one sector.”
Health, fitness and happiness, after all, should be one goal. “That’s what my next book is all about,” he says. “When I train someone, I try to address that first. You can’t just attack the body. You have to address it from a mental perspective first and foremost.”
Try a few of Dolvett Quince’s favorite recipes from his upcoming book.
Dolvett Quince. Photo credit: Chris Haston/ NBCUniversal / Getty Images