Winter hit us last night.
There’s my neighbor’s pumpkin. He looks like he’s been hit with a snowball!
Just last week we were playing in unseasonably warm weather.
Today it’s 27 degrees and more snow is forecast. By the weekend? Who knows.
What I do know, is that if you live in an area that gets cold, snowy, foggy, and/or rainy, keeping consistent with your workouts can be challenging. The ease of outdoor summer workouts disappears, and the short, dark days make staying on your couch, eating stew in front of a fire much more appealing than exercise. Add holiday stress, parties, and food to the wintery mix (see, there’s that term again–love it!) and it’s darn near impossible to keep up a consistent workout schedule.
I won’t lie; I didn’t walk Garrett to school this morning, and right now I’m baking pumpkin bread. I will go to the gym tonight though. Especially now that I’ve announced it.
Anyway, like I said, working out during the winter is hard, but it can be done. You don’t have to turn into a sloppy lump on the couch until New Year’s resolutions motivate you again. Nope, just keep a few things in mind and you can at least maintain your current level of fitness through the winter slump.
- Notice I said MAINTAIN: unless you are an elite athlete on a serious training schedule, be honest and admit that now probably isn’t the best time to set a 30 lb. weight loss goal. Strive to maintain your fitness level and keep from gaining any weight. Most people gain about 1 lb. each holiday season, which they never lose. Doesn’t seem like much, but after 20 years . . . you get my point.
- Embrace interval training: I won’t go into a lot of detail about this type of training today (read about it here, and here), except to say that when you are short on time, high intensity intervals are your friend. Not only can you get an effective workout in less time, this kind of workout is a great stress buster.
- Forget the “all or nothing” mentality: it’s easy to throw up your hands in defeat when a few days (weeks?) go by with nary a workout minute logged, but don’t. Just get right back on that treadmill (or bike or kickboxing class), and burn some calories. True, you will probably miss more workouts during the winter season, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your fitness world.
- Plan, plan, plan: some of you might not normally be the scheduling type, but if ever there was a time for a little planning, winter is it. A packed holiday schedule and those short, cold days I mentioned can put you in a real time crunch. Vague ideas of getting to the gym are often the first thing to get slashed from the mental to-do list. But if you look at your schedule ahead of time, you can pencil in slots of time dedicated to fitness, making you much more likely to stick to it.
- Get outside: yeah, I know, it’s cold out there. Get over it. Cold, yucky weather can actually be a key ingredient for a fun workout. Getting wet, muddy, snowy or slushy just makes it that much nicer to take a hot shower when you’re done. Plus, it makes you feel tough.
Hopefully these tips give you the kick in the snow pants you need to keep moving through the winter months. And if you live in, say, sunny Southern California, you have no excuses!
Happy winter workouts.