Staying in shape and keeping up a regular fitness regimen in winter can be a challenge. But rather than staying in bed or camping out in the library, grab winter by the horns – or rather, the icicles – and embrace it. Many people opt to stay in, make a nice cup of hot chocolate and a snack, and let the nostalgic TV reruns roll. However, on average, people gain about five pounds during the holidays alone. Those who don’t fulfill gym-going New Year’s resolutions will continue to gain even more weight throughout the winter season. This year, consider doing something different.
“Winter is that time of year where most of us are going to wear many layers and sometimes forget what we’re hiding underneath it all,” says Adam Bronk, a personal trainer at Monster Gym. “By spending more time inside, we are given that much more time to eat in larger amounts, and usually fattening sugary foods.” Bronk explains that this – along with a lack of interest in exercise in dreary weather conditions – could lead to “winter fitness blues.”
Here are a couple of tips you should keep in mind to ensure continuous motivation:
Get active with a friend or a group. It’s okay to make exercise a social activity if it’s going to get you moving.
Set small goals – once you’ve reached them, make sure to reward yourself appropriately. “This will help you attain your goals and allow yourself to have fun with it too,” says Bronk.
Stay organized and allot a specific amount of time for exercise. Also, don’t make excuses. Bronk suggests creating a proper schedule that regularly incorporates 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine, four times a week.
Exercise doesn’t need to happen in a gym. Explore the opportunities for activity in the outdoors through activities or sports you enjoy. If staying home is more your scene, use this to your advantage: your stairs and a couple of dumbbells could be your new best friends.
If you find yourself loving your kitchen more than the outdoors, switching up foods and snacks in your cupboard can help. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive in the winter, so try looking for what’s in season. “There are also many good snacking alternatives, like whole grains and a variety of nuts [like Brazil nuts and walnuts]. Mix up your meals by eating sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and include leaner meats like chicken breast or tilapia.” Bronk also says that keeping busy will prevent snacking on foods that you may regret later on.
Think you’re ready to take on a winter wonderland? Luckily, Montreal has plenty of activities and events to keep you going with your fitness endeavours. If you’re not an avid skier, skater, or snow-shoer, there are tons of beginner lessons available for you to try. There’s also new upbeat classes available at gyms throughout the city like intense spinning, Zumba, and boxing classes.
Although we’re in a city with cold temperatures on most days, take a breath of fresh air and realize that it’s much easier to grin and bear it this winter and try something new. You may actually find yourself loving the challenge.