For even the most ardent of fitness enthusiasts, the winter months tend to be a dedication-draining time of year. Dark sky for the morning commute and any existence of the sun is long gone on the ride home from work. Not only is Jack Frost nipping at your nose, he might also be packing pounds onto your stomach or backside.
The holidays don’t help either. Gift shopping can easily replace an evening workout while Christmas parties present a mine field of belly-busting dangers. A few extra helpings here. Sampling one (or five) desserts there. And who can resist throwing back a few glasses of eggnog?
So if you fear waking up to a lack of motivation and an expanding waist line in your stocking on Christmas morning, here are a handful of ideas to keep the pounds off and the gym flame burning this winter.
Hire a Personal Trainer
Personal trainers do far more than just count repetitions. The right one will teach you proper lifting technique (form is everything) while designing workout regimens that will increase your fitness and add strength along with counseling you about proper nutrition. Your body is like a furnace and the right foods keep the fire burning.
The best trainers are also master motivators. They know when to push and when to back off. Trainers also provide accountability. If you’re sticking to your workouts and eating healthy foods, your trainer will know. If you’re not, there will certainly be more cardio in your future.
Mix Up Your Routine
Variety is the spice of life. That doesn’t apply to just pizza toppings and beer. If you’re a creature of habit (a lot of fitness disciples are), repeating the same routines over and over will sink your motivation. So, step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Check the schedule at your health club for calorie-torching classes such as cardio kickboxing or studio cycling. After 60 minutes on the stationary bike, watch the sweat pour off you.
Other training styles such as interval and Tabata offer different combinations of weights and cardio that will leave you physically drained but mentally recharged. Or, completely overhaul your gym schedule by working out first thing in the morning. There’s nothing like crawling out of bed early enough to find yourself cracking a sweat by 5:00 AM. A good, hard workout will stir up that endorphins pot so by the time you get to work, you’re mentally on fire!
Counteract the bone-chilling effects of winter with sweat-inducing heat. Did I mention each class is 90 minutes long in a 104 degree room? This style of yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury. It’s 26 postures that give your body an entire workout while benefitting your internal organs, veins and ligaments. And for the guys, don’t turn your nose up because this is yoga. You’ll work as hard as you ever have with any of your usual routines.
Hard Work Pays Off
Toiling in the gym for hours a day, weeks on end, all year long is demanding and challenging from a physical and mental standpoint. The reward for such dedication pays off in the form of reaching your desired fitness goals: weight loss, increasing your bench press, or having that bikini body when beach season rolls around. So why not pay yourself monetarily too for all of your sweat?
Get yourself a Health and Wellness Jar (yes, I have one). Use a ceramic jar with a cork top, a child’s piggy bank, or stuff a sock under your mattress. The concept is simple. After each workout, place a dollar (or more if you choose) in your jar. Let it sit there. Before you realize, you’ll have a pile of cash that you’ve earned through hard work and dedication. Staying loyal to your gym routine will pay off quite nicely!
Being committed to your fitness plan isn’t easy. The daily complications of life see to that. So reward yourself for staying the course. Get a massage once a month. Find a local spa that has hot tubs and give those sore muscles a well-earned soak. Splurge on your favorite not-so-healthy meal every so often. Or save up your Health and Wellness Jar funds to spend on something you’ve wanted but couldn’t quite work into the budget.
The bitter cold and snow is upon us. That’s a battle Old Man Winter wins every year. But that doesn’t mean your fitness level has to drop like the temperature. With the right planning, determination and good old stick-to-itive-ness, you’ll be in your best shape ever!