How to Stay Fit Throughout Winter
By Lisa Payne, CPT
Burrowed under a cozy blanket with a warm cup of tea is how most of us would like to spend our winters. Unfortunately, no successful fitness program regularly swaps out workouts for couch-time.
Exercise motivation can be higher in the sunny days of summer when it's time to come out of hiding from under layered clothing. But the inclement weather and darker days of winter can make it awfully hard to stay consistent.
Build a stronger defense with these workout and dietary tips so that this year's change of seasons won't rock your fitness success.
Post Your Goals
Write down your most prominent fitness and nutrition goals on a good old-fashioned piece of paper. Be specific. Do you want to lose 11 pounds? Hit your running Personal Record? Or to stay healthy this winter by remembering to take your probiotic and vitamins?
Once you've written these goals down, stick the note in a high-traffic zone in your home like the inside of your front door. This is your morning reminder to stick to your goals all day long.
Create short-term goals that build towards your long-term goals. Short-term goals can be set, measured and achieved by tracking the duration, resistance and intensity of each workout.
As for nutrition, follow your daily caloric intake and macros. Tracking allows you to notice when it's time to make modifications to your programming as you go. Make progressions or switch up your diet if you start to plateau.
Sweat Now, Think Later
Timing is everything when it comes to staying motivated in the winter. Try to exercise at the time of day you have the most energy, or at a time that won't be interrupted. This often means working out first thing in the morning. A tip for getting out of bed when it still looks like the middle of the night is to set your alarm clock further than arm's reach. That way you have to get up to turn the clock off.
Set out your workout clothes the night before. Working out at home? Set out your resistance bands, jump rope, weights and other fitness equipment. Be ready when that alarm clock goes off so you don't fall back to sleep!
Change the Way You Think About Food
Maintain that your priority is to get into shape by starting to think of food as supporting your workouts and your goals. Start referring to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks as pre- and post-workout meals and snacks.
Cooler temperatures often illicit comfort food cravings. Meal prep a healthy soup or crock pot meal to thwart any opportunity to graze or overindulge.
No matter what the season, you iron your clothes, set the coffee timer and run errands to get ready for the next day. So why is packing a gym bag, tracking progress and meal prepping so difficult? Your fitness and nutrition are just as important—if not more—than anything else. Once you integrate these workout and dietary tips this winter, you'll see just how doable staying fit in the winter can actually be!