Working Out in the Winter

Come Rain, Sleet or Three Feet Of Snow, Do Your Workout!

I remember a January morning in Toronto: Clear skies, and a bitter, face-burning wind-chill of -35° C. The next morning there was a heavy snowfall, no sun, and a slightly warmer -15° C. Everything seems to slow down. There are fewer cars on the road. People remain indoors with the heat turned way up.

If you want to work out there’s no better time. The gym will be be mostly empty because it’s just too cold to go outside from point A to point B.

How many times have you decided against going for a workout, a run or a yoga class because of the weather?

If you’re a competitive athlete you’ve got external influences, such as a coach or a team that you’re accountable to, so you stick to your training regardless of the weather. Or maybe you have a workout partner or a trainer who will be waiting for you at the gym for a session, forcing you to be there. It hurts to have to cancel last minute when there is a cost associated with cancelling.

But what if you are going to the gym on your own and the weather is getting you down? This is understandable to a point, but is it the weather’s fault or just your decision not to go? The truth is that bad weather is only an excuse. If you live in Toronto or any similar climate where we get months of winter, the more you make excuses the harder it will be to keep up with your fitness goals.

Here are some suggestions to help you stay on track with your fitness plan during the winter months:

Morning Workouts
Go to the gym first thing in the morning. This is especially important in North America when we have less exposure to the sun, since we are not outside as much, and we have less daylight hours. The early morning activity will boost your metabolism, mood, energy and lower the possibility of getting SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

Prepare the Night Before
Pack your workout bag and lay out your clothes to wear the night before. This is a psychological trick: you won’t be able to use an unpacked bag as an excuse. Also make sure you prepare your post-workout shake or meal the night before.

30 minutes Extra
Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and go to bed 30 minutes early. You might be getting up in the dark and this can be a challenge for some people, but that extra ‘slow’ time in the morning might be what you need instead of rushing out the door. This way you can ease into your morning and look forward to your workout

Visualize
When lying in bed after waking, visualize how you want your day to happen: mentally prepare for your workout, see yourself going through the motions of the exercise and feel how good it feels to be at the gym.

Shower
Upon getting up, immediately shower. The water will stimulate your skin and senses and will wake you up more ‘cleanly’ and effectively than any coffee. Don’t check voicemail or turn on your computer. (I’m guilty of this one!). It’s so easy to loose track of time and then it’s too late to go to the gym.

Eat
If you get up 30-minutes earlier this won’t be a problem. Keep it simple if you’re not used to eating upon waking (after your shower). I try to eat within 30-minutes of waking up. Here are some easy meals: Eggs, vegetables and/or fruit, slow cooked oatmeal; whole grain toast with organic, pure peanut butter and banana; a meal replacement shake with flax oil and fruit; a fruit smoothie with low fat organic yogurt, flax oil and protein powder.

Grab Your Buddy
Get a workout buddy or plan to meet someone at the gym. The synergy will help you as much as your partner.

Success in fitness is not the result of one task, one endeavour, one program or method. Success happens first in the mind. Everything after that is victory made manifest in reality. So have a big WHY or reason for going to the gym, share it with a good friend (or your workout buddy or trainer) and get out there this winter and keep fit!

© 2012 Darren Stehle. All Rights Reserved.

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One comment

  1. […] written that were the most personal received the greatest response — other than the article about working out in winter that happened to be published at the right time and with the right […]

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