Winter is here and it provides its own set of unique challenges. Cold weather, holiday meals, and vacation time disrupt our schedules, workouts, and typical calorie intake. We all have to take steps to make the disruption as minimal as possible.
Tip 1: Don’t take a vacation on your diet!
There are plenty of occasions to use as excuses to over-consume. However, you need to maintain healthy eating habits because food is fuel, and if you put bad in you’ll get bad out. Eating properly will allow your body to regulate itself. The inevitable “cheat meals” should involve consuming a moderate portion of your favorite indulgence, not over-eating. Most importantly, the right diet gives you the fuel to optimize any training.
Tip 2: Water isn’t just for the summer!
Just because the weather isn’t triple digits you should still be consuming a large amount of water. Dehydration can creep up on you in the winter when it’s so cold you can’t sweat if you tried.
Tip 3: The principle of accumulation: anything is bigger than zero!
Be encouraged by the fact that not every workout has to be epic. Aim to break a sweat then go from there. If you’re not feeling it, then focus on less intensive sessions on what we call Cuff and Stuff. This consists of core work and joint work like strengthening the secondary yet important stabilizer muscles in the knees and shoulders. Light band and abdominal work does more benefit than you may realize. Worst case scenario, just jump on a piece of cardio equipment, start going light and see what happens.
Tip 4: Acclimate…Adapt…Prepare
Do not avoid the weather, just prepare for it. As temperatures drop, spend time in the cold, breathe the air and let your body acclimate. If you avoid the cold your body will not be prepared to do the work you ask it to do. The more active you are in any climate the more normal it will seem to your body. If you’ve committed to getting exercise, then be smart doing it.
Tip 5: Take more time to warm up and warm down in the winter.
As temperatures drop, so does your core, muscle and oxygen temperature. Cold muscles are at greater risk of injury due to their tension and lack of blood flow. Dynamic stretches before and static stretches after is always a good rule of thumb. You should be breaking a sweat and your heart rate should be up before engaging in your actual activity.
Tip 6: Cold weather training burns more calories.
If you are maintaining relatively the same activity level in the winter as other months, you are burning more calories in the colder months. You burn more fuel just keeping your body warm (calories are a unit of heat). Popular belief says that we lose more weight in the summer. This is only true because we are more active in the summer, we tend to eat less when it is hot and we lose more water in the heat. Watch what you eat and maintain your activity level and the winter months can be just as beneficial to weight management.
Tip 7: Don’t take a vacation on your sleep!
Rest and recovery will forever and always be a crucial. When you get quality sleep, it facilitates your day, your work, your play and most everything in between.
Enjoy the winter and keep working hard!