By Raphael Calzadilla, BA, CPT, ACE, eDiets Chief Fitness Pro
Healthnotes Newswire (January 31, 2008)—In many parts of the country, wintertime is too cold for jogging. It gets dark early, which brings on the blues. You’re annoyed by all the layers of clothing you have to wear. Gym workouts lessen: You start eating more junk food and going out less. You start to get fat. Ugh, winter!
I have some strategies to help you avoid a winter exercise funk. It’s not always easy, but if you have a plan and focus on these tips, they’ll help counter the winter blahs.
The following are proven methods that have worked for my personal training clients and me. You don’t have to use every one; just pick a few and run with them. The mind responds best when it’s not inundated, so select the few that feel right.
• Hire a personal trainer: Just for the winter, hire a personal trainer and make sure he/she trains you once or twice per week. You’ll get the benefit of a structured workout program, as well as someone to monitor your progress and motivate you to achieve a more fit body, while everyone else around you is getting fat. I like this tip, not just because I’m a trainer, but because when human beings fork over some cash, they want to get their money’s worth. If you can’t afford it, get a buddy and pay for joint sessions with the trainer to lower the price tag.
• Get a workout partner: If you can’t find a friend, post a message on your gym’s bulletin board. Find someone who has similar goals and try to work out with this person at least twice per week. Keep a workout journal and try to improve on anything you achieved in the summer. If you know you have to meet someone at the gym or for a tennis game at a specific time, you’re bound to be accountable. This tip is really valuable on those cold, dark evenings after work when you’re tempted to go home and munch on chips before dinner. Amazing things start to happen if you work out when you don’t feel like working out. You increase your internal strength and dedication, and it slowly starts to catch fire.
• Join a club: There are many runners clubs, walkers clubs, etc. Find one that appeals to you. You’ll look forward to the camaraderie and scheduled activities. You may just find yourself leaner and more athletic by the end of winter¡Xwith a few more friends as well.
• Scale back on workouts: If you do find yourself slipping into a winter funk, simply cut back on your workout time. For example, if you’ve been consistently working out for an hour, three to four days per week, cut back to 30 minutes. Don’t worry, you won’t get out of shape—you’ll stay in shape. This simple technique will make going to the gym much less intimidating during the dead of winter.
• Consider getting some equipment for your home: You don’t need a fully operational gym—just some dumbbells, a jump rope and a workout tape for those nights when you have trouble getting to the gym. Remember, we’re looking for every opportunity to keep you on the right track. Your mind will play games with you during the winter, so you need to have strategies that will work for YOU.
• Workout in the morning before work: I know it’s cold and you may have to get up earlier, but if you can manage three morning workouts per week, you’ll accomplish several things: You’ll stimulate your metabolism for the rest of the day; decrease your appetite; and most importantly, get your workout out of the way and start your day with a success. I discovered the power of winter-morning workouts in the days when I trained for half marathons. I found that if I ignored my “I don’t feel like doing it” attitude and did it anyway, I had an incredible feeling of self empowerment for the entire day.
A drug-free competitive bodybuilder and 2005 winner of the prestigious WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Pro Card, Raphael Calzadilla is a veteran of the health-and-fitness industry. He specializes in a holistic approach to body transformation, nutrition programs and personal training. He earned his BA in communications from Southern Connecticut State University and is certified as a personal trainer with ACE and APEX. In addition, he successfully completed the RTS1 program based on biomechanics.
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