While the temperature drops, keep your Back to Fitness Challenge going strong. Darker and colder mornings will tempt you stay in your warm bed, and late afternoon darkness will leave you yearning for a cozy evening on the couch, but don’t fall into the winter trap! Resist its temptation and bad influence using these tips:
Keep your eye on the prize
Before you hit snooze or skip the gym on your way home, remind yourself of how you feel after your workout versus the regret or guilt you feel when you bail. Remember all you have to gain from going: energy, clarity, stress relief, improved strength and fitness levels, improved health –- to name just a few benefits.
When I work out or teach in the morning, I like to get all my things ready the night before. That way I can sleep in a little longer and then just roll out of bed, wash up, throw on my (already laid out) gym clothes and grab my bag and go. There’s no fuss, no thinking or decision making, no forgetting important things like a change of underwear and no excuses.
The same applies if you work out at lunch or after work. Get it ready and pack it up before you leave in the morning to have everything you need on you. Check the weather forecast the day before so you can plan accordingly, and have a plan B in place in case Mother Nature trumps your original plan.
If you like to get fit outdoors, dress appropriately. You’ll want to keep your extremities warm and dry with good foot, hand and head wear. Your body will heat up. Cover up in layers of moisture-wicking and ventilated clothing that’s easy to shed as you heat up and add on as you cool down.
Plan for your winter sports by gearing up with new equipment or tuning up what you’ve got. You’ll want your skis, skates and snowshoes ready to go when the first big snow falls. Season passes sometimes sell for less when you buy in advance.
Update your schedule
Re-adjust your schedule as you need. If you find yourself unable to go back out in the cold and dark after you get home, get your work out in before going home for the day. Take a lunch-time or early afternoon walk rather than an early morning walk to see some daylight, and get some sun and vitamin D. A brisk walk in crisp air will wake you right up in the morning or during a 2pm slump.
Modify your routine
Do you find it harder to breathe in the cold? Break up your routine into shorter segments or move it indoors. Get a feel for the tropics with some Latin-style dance cardio. Try swimming or aqua fit, and you’ll see that splashing around in a pool is always fun.
Follow your workout with a soak in a hot tub or a break in a steam room or sauna. It’s a great treat for you and your body, a good place to stretch a little and one of the best ways to relax after your hard work. It’ll keep you nice and warm too!
Many of the barriers set up between you and your workout are in your head. Finding excuses to stay in is the easy out and will keep you away from success. Stay focused on the end result instead.Llisten to the little, sometimes very faint, voice inside your gut telling you what really is best for your body and mind. Stay one step ahead of influence by always being prepared for your workout.
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with over 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.