Using Winter Wisely Can Make It Your Season Of Gains | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Using Winter Wisely Can Make It Your Season Of Gains

Resist the urge to ‘bulk up’ in the colder months and stellar physique improvements will be yours for the taking, promises leading fitness model and dietitian Mark Robinson.


For exercises that change the way you look, it’s hard to go past the dumbbell lateral raise. It makes your shoulders look broader and your waist narrower. Performance tip: go light and slow, prolonging time under tension by stopping short of bringing the weights together at the bottom of the move.


I’m not a fan of the bulk-and-cut approach. I’m lean all year round. Do you really need to be bigger for the sake of it? Do you really need more muscle – and the extra fat that generally comes with it? Or would you look better leaner, with visible abs and separation between your muscles that makes you look bigger anyway?


Use the winter to relax a little on how you get your carbs. As long as you keep them to 35 per cent of total kilojoules, you can afford to get them from a variety of foods and not just brown rice. Include various wholegrain cereals like Weet-Bix and the better crackers like Ryvita. If it’s not sugary then it’s okay.


As a dietitian I understand how important nutrition is to your aesthetic goals but I also know it can be kept simple.
Diet comes down to the three Ts:

1. TOTAL (kilojoules): with my dimensions I shoot for 8,800 kJ per day.

2. TYPE: For abs that pop aim for a macronutrient breakdown of 40 per cent protein, 35 per cent carbs and 25 per cent fats.

3. TIMING: Five or six small-to-medium meals spread through the day.


Guys say they don’t need to be cut in winter when they’re covered up. Fair enough, I guess, but still stay away from outdated terminology like “bulking”. Relax your diet a little while focusing your training on a goal like increasing strength. Lift heavier. Try to hit some PBs.


If you really do need more muscle, the best time to build it is when your body-fat percentage is relatively low – 12 per cent or lower, say. Your body copes much better with extra food when it’s trim because your metabolism’s working better and is more likely to shunt the kilojoule surplus to your muscles rather than store it as fat.

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