Coming In From the Cold – Optimizing Winter Workouts
The weather’s taken a turn alright. In many parts of the country warm weather workouts in the park and leafy fall runs are already fast becoming a thing of the past. So, as you mentally shift gears for the realities of winter and adjust your fitness plan to mostly indoors, here are a few quick tips to keep you engaged, motivated and on track for spring.
Make a Fitness Plan for Winter Months
You work out in the club during warm weather months, of course, but winter is a different scene. Popular classes fill up quickly and peak periods in the gym around lunch and after work can mean congestion. It's a good time now to review your fitness goals for the next few months and make a plan or schedule for more indoor workouts, classes and training that gets you where you need to be. Are off-peak hours an option? Can you sign up early for classes in January? Are there alternatives to the activities you enjoy outdoors that give you the same results and rush of satisfaction? It’s a perfect time to try new activities.
Eat Right and Hydrate to Fuel the Fire
The body’s needs change in winter. Even if you’re indoors. Hydration is always important but in winter the body adds moisture to the lungs when exercising so extra hydration is key. Keep room temperature drinks on hand if you’re outdoors and use an insulated bottle to prevent freezing. Green tea and honey offers a lot of antioxidants and broth based soups for lunch replace lost salt and electrolytes without adding calories. Consider preparing made-ahead chili, soups and stews at the weekend, so when you come in from a weeknight workout, it’s fast easy and nutritious. Easy veggie, beans and protein combos like this repair muscle before you hit the gym again.
Variety Keeps Exercise on Track
Lack of variety in winter workouts is the biggest kill of exercise motivation. In warmer months, you have options – running, kayaking, biking, hiking as well as club-based workouts. In winter, even with the best will in the world, too many, monotonous hours on the treadmill or elliptical can get you off track. If you haven’t tried on-demand virtual fitness at you club, winter is the perfect time to make it a successful part of your workouts. Try a guided cycling, HIIT, core or strength fitness class with some of the biggest names and brands in the world, or call up a stretching, meditation or wind down exercise after your regular workout. It’s ideal for off peak exercising too and with our FitnessOnDemand app on your phone, you can also access the same big screen content anywhere inside the gym, if you want to find a quiet corner to try something new.
Get Out When You Can but Dress Right
Cold weather can tempt you to skip exercise all together. But the body can work out in temperatures as low as -18 degrees Fahrenheit. So unless it’s really awful, there’s no reason you can’t get a little exercise outdoors. It's critical, though, to dress properly. A thin base layer of nylon or polypropylene will wick sweat away from the body and keep you dry – essential to preventing cooling and even hypothermia. Pair this with a warm layer like polar fleece and a windbreaker shell. Running shoes are designed for breathability in warm weather but in winter they let the cold in. You’ll need shoe covers if you’re going to be outdoors for long periods, and consider traction add-ons for icy runs.