Top 5 Winter Workouts

Whether you want fat loss, muscle gain, balance, mobility and endurance, you’ll find everything you need in this episode! Just grab the winter workout that’s perfect for your needs, and jump right in.

Ben Greenfield
5-minute read
Episode #167

When it comes to achieving your health goals, sometimes it can be helpful to hone in like a laser on one specific area of fitness, such as losing weight, building muscle, increasing flexibility, or building a better cardiovascular system. If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself wanting to do a workout and knowing that you have a specific weakness (e.g. muscle strength, balance, or a bit too much leftover holiday flab around the midsection) but not really knowing where to start, or skipping your workout because something simply wasn’t written out for you..

Good news - whether you want fat loss, muscle gain, balance, mobility, or endurance, you’ll find everything you need in this episode! Just grab the winter workout that’s perfect for your needs, and jump right in:

Workout #1: Fat Loss

You can find a myriad of fat loss workouts by simply visiting the Weight Loss section of Quick and Dirty Tips. But for this winter fat loss workout, you’ll want to have one of the most potent fat loss tools you’ll find anywhere: the kettlebell. The mighty kettlebell burns as many calories as an all-out running sprint, and leaves your metabolism burning high for hours after the workout. If you know nothing about kettlebells, or need tips to get started safely, then read How to Use Kettlebells, then do 3-5 rounds of this workout circuit:

  1. Warm-up for 5-10 minutes

  2. Do 10 kettlebell swings with your right hand.

  3. Perform 30 seconds of cardio as hard as you can. Jumping rope works well for this, or you can hop on a nearby stationary bike, do jumping jacks, or hop or step on and off a bench.

  4. Do 10 kettlebell swings with your left hand.

  5. Do the 30 seconds of cardio again.

  6. Perform 10 push-ups, then 10 pull-ups or pull-downs, rest for 1 minute, and then return back to step 1.

Workout #2: Muscle Gain

As you learned in the episode How to Build Muscle, if you want to gain muscle you must actually tear muscle fibers by lifting heavy things or exposing your body to high amounts of force. And that’s very hard to do with body weight workouts or typical fat loss workouts. It’s nearly impossible to do by going for a run - as you probably know if you’ve ever seen a professional marathoners' stereotypically skinny legs. 

So how heavy is heavy? Typically a weight that you can lift somewhere in the range of 4-10 repetitions is perfect, with multiple sets for a variety of multi-joint exercises. One of my favorite muscle gain workouts is the “5x5” approach. For example, a classic 5x5 workout is 5 sets of 5 repetitions of:

  • Bench Press

  • Squat

  • Overhead Press

  • Deadlift

  • Pull-Up

For ideal muscle gain, use a challenging weight and do 5 sets of each of these exercises with 60-90 seconds rest between each set before moving on to the next exercise.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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