How to Stay Motivated to Workout in the Winter

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Dark, cold weather isn’t exactly inspiring us to get off the couch. It certainly isn’t pushing us to go on our morning runs or weekly trip to the gym. Staying motivated to work out in the winter is tough, but it’s essential to keeping a healthy routine when others are packing on the pounds or hibernating for the season. These tips will help you move more, rest less, and get your sweat on like you would in warmer months.

 

Find a Workout Buddy

Working out can be lonely, and you’ll feel it even more with winter blues at an all-time high. Luckily, with so many people adding exercising more to their resolutions, you won’t have to look hard to find a partner to share gym time.

If you can’t find a close friend to do it, take this as an opportunity to expand your circle. Start a running group at your college or lead a unique workout class that others would want to take. Making like-minded friends is just one another way to help you guarantee you’ll meet your fitness goals.

 

Bring in the Sun

Part of the lack of motivation to move comes from a lack of light and heat in your home. Without it, you’ll feel tired more and will naturally want to spend more time lounging around under a blanket than going out in the elements.

To combat this, try to remember to open your windows during the day and position yourself nearest to the natural light as possible. UV lights can do the trick too. To amp up the temperature, you can wear more layers around the house or turn up the thermostat a few hours before heading to the gym.

 

Find the Right Playlist

We all love listening to softer, kinder music in the winter. But folk rock and light pop can be harmful when your body needs to feel the beat to get you into those sneakers.

When creating the right playlist for your workout, you don’t need to skim on your favorite lighter tunes. Make those your designated stretching, warm up, or cool down music. If you need help selecting your actual workout music, try apps and websites like TempoTap or SoundBPM so you can find songs to match your running pace or biking speed.

 

Try Something New

Sometimes our slumps are less weather related and more emotionally based. Doing the same workout over and over again can wear anyone out, especially when you’re already feeling a lack of motivation.

This is the perfect opportunity to buy some Groupon or deal website passes to try a new, interesting class. Take an aerial yoga instead of pilates or a flywheel class instead of a bike ride outside in the snow. There are so many opportunities to mix it up!

 

Upgrade Your Gear

Do you remember the feeling of getting new clothes for school and then wanting to wear them ASAP? The same concept goes for getting new running shoes or running tights. The newer the gear, the more likely you are to want to use them.

This isn’t an excuse to drop hundreds of dollars on workout clothes, but if you’re rocking tattered and torn t-shirts, you’ll need to invest anyways. If you’re into technology, trying purchasing used or looking for discounts on last year’s models of Fitbits, GPS watches, and workout headphones. Renewing your motivation is so worth it.

 

 

How to Hit the Ground Running in January

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Let’s just start off with: you’re right.  You do deserve a break.  Well, you will, depending on whether you’ve finished your finals yet or not.  You might have believed that you were all caught up, but then you found out that your physics final is graded on a curve, so now you’re freaking out… Or maybe you knew these couple weeks would suck all along.  Either way, this is a particularly stressful period.

Unfortunately, you’re probably responding to that stress in a not-so-healthy way.  The cycle of staying up late and struggling to get out of bed for class, let alone the gym, has a way of perpetuating itself all the way until Holiday Break.  And while exercise is a great way to relieve stress and work off those study break snacks, let’s be honest: you’ve probably skipped a couple days at the gym.  Which isn’t so bad, but when coupled with the fact that lack of sleep makes you eat more and the upcoming holidays, December can be tough on your fitness goals.  It’s okay, you’ll pick it up again next semester, right?

That’s certainly possible, but you don’t want to a part of the New Year’s Resolution crowd that works out intermittently for a month and then are never seen at the rec center again.  It can be all too easy to put off starting a fitness regimen or to let it fall by the wayside.  So, while yes, you do deserve a break, you should also be prepared to start a new routine come next semester and stick to it.

What Do You Want to Improve?

The best workouts will involve your entire body, including flexibility, coordination, and strength.  By practicing a variety of skills, you’ll lower your risk of injury and maximize performance.  However, you can still focus on something specific that you’d like to improve.  If you don’t like your arms, can’t touch your toes, or would like to lose some weight after the holidays, you should cater to your fitness goals.  Just don’t neglect every other muscle group.

Write it Down!

It’s no secret anymore that writing down goals makes achieving them more likely.  It might feel stupid or childish, but it really does work.  Even if you’re self-conscious, you can write them down in a private place– just make sure that it’s somewhere you see frequently (a planner, a note taped in your closet, in your phone, etc.) That way, it will remind you of your goal and solidify your commitment.

Additionally, writing down your goals will force you to be specific.  You might think, “I want to gain muscle,” but when you start writing it down you realize that there are a lot of specifics to consider.  By when?  How much?  Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to reach your goal in time?  And, most importantly, is your goal realistic and healthy?

Account for Real Life

Realize that you’re not going to be perfect.  There’s going to be friends’ birthdays, emergency assignments, and other things that you can’t control.  You might miss a couple of workouts.  The important thing is that you don’t let that derail you overall.  You can also minimize the impact of these distractions by planning ahead.

  • Know the exact routine that you’re going to do at the gym so you don’t waste time in between machines.

  • If you have an early morning class, set out your clothes and backpack the night before, so you can minimize excuses to miss your morning workout.

  • Plan out your meals so that you can hold yourself accountable for your nutrition goals.  No more easy hamburgers in the dining hall when you’re rushing between classes or meetings, because you planned ahead!

  • Encourage your friends to join you.  That way,  you don’t have to choose between socializing and working out!

There’s going to be obstacles blocking every goal.  That’s why you haven’t completed it yet!  But with some careful planning and motivation, your New Year’s resolution can become an All-Year resolution.  For now, focus on your finals, enjoy the holidays, and come back next semester ready to achieve.

 

Workout of the Week – Body Pump

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teamblog.fitnessbodyonline.com

teamblog.fitnessbodyonline.com

There are so many ways to stay in shape and so many options that it can be intimidating.  I wanted to share a workout that has quickly become my favorite group fitness class I’ve ever tried.  Its called Les Mills Body Pump.

What is it?

Body Pump is a 60 minute long strength training workout that is paired with specific songs or “tracks” that work with the exercises.  You can now find classes in over 70 countries and in 10,000 health-clubs and gyms.  It concentrates on eight separate muscle-group: chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, abs, and squats and lunges for legs.  In the class they do a series of easy to follow movements using barbells and weights.

They pick music that is specific to the movement that is being performed and the speed that you’re going.  The great thing is the workout and music are switched every three months so it’s enough time for you to master the full routine but not enough time for you to get bored of it.

The first time I took the class it was a little intimidating.  Each song you’re stopping, changing weights, getting into new positions;  it seemed like everyone else in the class were masters at it.  But after the first couple of songs I really started to pick it up and the instructors were so helpful at explaining the movement.

Why I Like It

The class is paired with songs that are popular NOW; not songs that were hits last year.  If you were to go to a class now you’d be hearing the latest Ellie Goulding & Avicii.  The way in which they pair the exercises to the music really motivates you to finish the song (and takes your mind off the terrible burning in your quads!)  It’s a great full body workout, and a good class to attend a few times a week because you always have the option to add more weights and continue to challenge yourself.  All in all, this class is probably my favorite group fitness class I’ve ever taken and I highly suggest finding one to try out at a gym near you!

Check out a sample of it here!

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