We all know everyone hates shoveling.
But with the winter months upon us, I think it is only fitting to talk about two important components to gear up for this annual ritual: Exercise and Nutrition.
It is not uncommon for local residents to spend hours shoveling, plowing or salting — especially in the dead of winter — so let’s talk about some ways we can strengthen our bodies for these tasks both inside and out.
A couple of the exercises can easily be done at home or the gym.
An easy way to strengthen your core, back and shoulders is the kettlebell swing. In this motion, you move weight beginning in your lower back and abs, then it is thrusted up and you follow through with some shoulder work.
To begin, set whatever weight you might have down in front of you. If you don’t have weights, use a milk jug or an object in a pillowcase.
Next, spread your legs so your stance is a little wider than shoulder length apart. Lean forward and when you can’t lean forward anymore without bending your knees, start to squat and grip the weight.
Bring the weight up so it’s hanging between your legs; your knees and back should be straight.
Now, you will need to bend at the knees and back and push the weight back, letting it swing behind you.
As you feel the weight start to swing back, pull the weight forward and up by thrusting your hips forward and pulling the swing upwards with your shoulders. The swing should be one fluid movement, like swinging at the park.
Then, as the weight swings back, cushion the weight and follow it by bending at the waist and knees a little before resuming the swinging motion again. A good starting point would be 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps. Make sure you start with an easy weight and get a feel for the exercise before attempting heavier weights.
As we shovel, we burn a lot of energy.
It is important that we replenish anything we may have burned after a grueling workout. One of my favorite ways to aid in recovery is whey protein.
Whey is a complete protein with all the essential amino acids our body needs. This makes it the easiest for the body to take and convert into lean mass. These winter chores and work cause stress and “damage” to our muscles, be it shoveling or working out, so it is important to supplement our diet with an adequate amount of protein.
If you are looking to gain muscle, I suggest looking at your everyday meals and see if you could benefit from a whey supplement. It is good to aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight to maximize muscle synthesis.
Whey is just a supplement, meaning if you already have a well-balanced diet, you may not need it. So take a look and see if whey could benefit you.
I am looking forward to continuing strength-focused exercises and supplementation. Next week, we will look at the squat and the other component of milk protein, casein.