While growing up in one of the snowiest cities in the U.S. (Hey Syracuse, go Orange!) is typically not much to brag about, it did teach me a few valuable skills when it comes to fitness. Since the ground is buried under snow for 75% of the year, I’ve learned numerous tricks to make sure my workouts don’t suffer despite daily blizzards and below zero temperatures. Here’s how to keep your bod in shape, even if you are hiding underneath a floor-length parka!
If there’s anyone who can get you out of bed, it’s Justin Bieber’s new song on repeat (#Sorry, not sorry). Keep your playlist up-to-date with new songs or podcasts to you give you that extra somethin’ somethin’ to look forward to. I love scrolling through iTunes new artist suggestions to find some hidden gems that haven’t been warn out by the radio just yet. Now is also the perfect time to catch up on those Serial episodes to prepare for season two of this addicting podcast!
While it’s important to include lots of layers to keep warm during wintry workouts outside, you also don’t want to weigh yourself down. Stick to fleece-lined leggings and wind-breaking materials to keep you comfortable. A vest is the perfect options to ensure your core doesn’t freeze and a wool headband can keep your ears cozy without getting soaked with sweat. Since it’s likely you’ll be working out in dim light due to shortened days, light-up wrist bands and reflective gear is a must! And, as always, running outside is free!
If blowing winds and icy sidewalks still don’t appeal to you, search around for local gyms and fitness studios to join before the New Year’s rush sets in. Since monthly memberships can add up quickly, ask studios about their new member offers (typically less than half of usual costs!). If you love the class, consider splitting a package with a friend or asking for particular discounts (teacher/student/military) to get the most bang for your buck. As always, scope out packages on Groupon and make sure to search for free community events at churches, new studios and recreation centers.
It’s easy to skip your run when your only obligation is to your iPod. To encourage some accountability, join a running group (most Lululemons hold them for free!) or workout group (November Project is growing to new cities!) where you’re expected to attend each week. Not only will it decrease the chances of you skipping out to watch Scandal reruns, fitness groups can help you achieve personal goals more quickly since they’re less likely to let you quit early. A little friendly competition might be just what you need to PR for that spring half marathon.
Shorter days, in turn, increase the desire to cozy up as soon as the moon comes out…even if it is 5pm. Try waking up an hour earlier and switching to morning workouts to use the most of the earlier sunrise. By starting your day with a sweat session, you’ll be less likely to bail on your sneakers if something comes up…or you just want to spend some quality time with your space heater and Netflix.
Half the battle is getting your butt to the gym. Eliminate the transition and get your workouts in at home. Invest in a set of hand weights and find quality workouts on YouTube or Pinterest. To make it even easier, complete my favorite quick circuit of squats, dips, and push-ups with 10-15 reps each completed three times. Finish off with a couple 1 minute planks!
To keep motivation high, consider signing up for a spring race or setting a new dead lift goal by April to have something to work towards during the winter months. By giving yourself a specific objective to reach towards, you’re more likely to have consistent workouts and scheduled sessions since you know exactly what you want to achieve, rather than some ambiguous ‘bikini body’ that offers little direction.
How do you motivate yourself to workout in the winter?
The past few years I’ve been signing up for a half marathon in late March. It forces me to begin training in December…right after my body takes a huge hit from the holidays…and keeps me on track.