Back in the olden days (as in the prehistoric olden days) Winter was the best season to store as much fat as possible. Food was scarce, and more fat meant a better chance of survival. However with a few modern day inventions such as refrigeration, Uber Eats and 24 hour food delivery we humans no longer need this extra layer of fat or ‘spare fuel’ for survival.
It has been said by many a man that ‘training sucks in the cold and dark weather’, I hear ya. When it’s cold outside your body is screaming for just one more episode snuggled up on the warm, comfy couch. Your body will never say throw that hot chocolate down the drain, grab a cold bottle of water and go running in your crop top and running shorts. BUT! Speaking from years of experience you just have to rip the band aid off. Without turning on the tv or having a shower, get out there and walk, jog, or do anything that gets your blood pumping!
Before you know it you would have burned a few hundred calories, improved your fitness and warmed yourself up from the inside, which is SO much better than the short-lived heat from the hot chocolate, not to mention you took a few more steps towards your goal!
With this ‘Ripping the BandAid Off’ approach, here are 5 tips that will make Winter exercise much more achievable!
Do it in the Sun! To avoid training at the chillier times of dusk or dawn pack your kit for a lunchtime workout – this is good for you on so many levels! The heavenly hit of sunshine helps balance out your sleepy hormones which affect your (Winter-heightened) appetite hormones. So, for a double-score of appetite control and keeping yourself alert go for a soul recharging midday workout.
Stay in the Light! If you’re more of a group exercise person, avoid the temptation of the tractor beam that is your home, heater, couch and worst of all remote control! Try going straight from work to the gym, this one strategic and logistical step is often the difference between gaining or losing weight over Winter. And as you know from past experience, dinner always taste better after a workout.
Become a Heat-seeker! Our amazing bodies are in a constant state of homeostasis, which is a fancy word for balance. So, when your body is cold it craves warmth. Who doesn’t want warmth from hot chips, hot chocolate and a creamy carbonara? However, try getting it from this form of winter exercise – Hot Yoga! This is the ultimate body warmer for getting stronger, more flexible, less stressed and most importantly keeps you warm for hours after.
Layer Up! If you only have skimpy activewear of course you’ll freeze. So layer up, avoid any unnecessary stress on your immune system, then take layers off as your body heat rises. Remember to rug back up after finishing as the sudden drop in body temperature can lead to the sniffles. A little trick I learned was if you buy yourself an awesome winter exercise jacket you’ll be more likely to want to exercise.
Try Something New!
To remind myself that life is more than just paying the bills and raising the kids, I often ask myself “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” Winter is the perfect excuse for trying a new form of activity. This doesn’t necessarily have to burn one thousand calories, but more importantly put a smile on your face. Time to tap into your old self and try something new.
Embrace the Cold! Instead of hiding under the doona covers get out there and really produce some heat by walking, running, dancing or cycling faster than you normally would. Explode out into the cold like a stick of enthusiastic dynamite! Not only does it wake you up better than any mochaccino latte ever can but it also helps you burn more calories (in order to maintain normal body temperature) as well as move faster than normal.
So turn that fear into a thrill, and the cold into some serious heat and get out there. I always like to start by shadow boxing at the top of my steps to the Rocky Soundtrack