by Melissa Muhr
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the gym is so delightful!
Winter is back and it is colder than ever! Coupled with snow, dry air, sickness and everything else that comes with winter, it’s shaping up to be pretty rough. Here are a few ways that keep me sane and on track with my fitness routine during this bleak season.
It is tough working out in the cold. Period. Whether it’s the thought of frostbitten toes or the chance of unforeseen snow, it’s tempting to tell yourself, skip the workout, and stay in bed. In order for me to stick to my regimen during these cold dark days, I try and follow these steps.
1. Get the gear- wearing winter appropriate clothing is one of the most important aspects of working out in the cold. Not only do you need to feel warm in your clothes, but you also need to feel comfortable.
2. Pump up the music- there is nothing better than a funky jam to get you in the zone for a workout. Prepare a playlist the night before your workout so that you have something to look forward to in the morning.
3. Warm up indoors- before you brave the cold, make sure your muscles are prepped by warming up indoors. Warming up raises your heart rate, core temperature, and increases blood flow to your muscles.
If you’re not a fan of the cold and the gym is your forte, I find these tips keep me motivated for winter workouts.
First I recommend scheduling your workouts. I keep a pocket planner with me and always make sure I grab the gym schedule for their classes (usually a month at a time). Or grab your gadgets and set your workouts up in your favorite app. The hardest part of doing anything is often showing up. But a simple way to stay committed during the winter is to pencil in your workouts as you would a meeting or a friend’s birthday.
Second, be accountable. Sign up for a dance class, book a training session or meet up with a friend for a run. I find it’s harder to ditch plans it someone is waiting.
Third, as always, do something you enjoy. With the gym or other indoor entities, you have a lot of options. This is also a time to try something new that you can do indoors.
-Spinning -Fitness classes
Finally, I save the best for last. GOALS. I set a goal for myself for the winter season. Whether it is to lose 10 lbs or enter a 5k (my goal last year), goals always keep me motivated. In life, we are told to dream big. While I think everyone would agree that having big aspirations is admirable not to mention inspiring, I personally try and keep my goals realistic. It may seem counterintuitive to start small, but remember that you want to set yourself up for success – not burn out easily.
Think about it. How many times have you seen someone set a huge goal only to fall off the wagon weeks later? I am definitely guilty of this. So this winter season I set my goal of entering my first mountain bike race in over 10 years.
I always ask myself these three questions when setting a goal:
- How big is the goal?
- What will it take to achieve this goal?
- Can I see myself reaching this goal?
You want a goal that you can stick with for the long haul – not just this week. Be completely honest with yourself and ask if you can realistically see yourself doing what it takes to achieve the goal at hand. If you can and it meets the above criteria, then you probably have a goal.
Exercising in the winter requires more thinking and planning. And just because it is cold outside does not mean you should stop exercising. With a little extra preparation, your workout can be fun, safe, and satisfying. Good luck!