Set a new winter fitness goal
Brendan Rolfe, CPHR, BA, DipA
If inclement winter weather is making outdoor exercise treacherous, bring your workout indoors. Set a new fitness goal to work toward for next spring.
Cold, cloudy, rainy, snowy—winter weather is uninspiring. Dismal weather may zap your motivation, but don’t spend the next six months hiding under a mountain of blankets. Use indoor workouts as an opportunity to revisit and master the foundational movements that comprise all exercises.
We’ll help you breathe a little sunshine into an otherwise stale fitness routine by putting a new twist on some familiar exercises. Natural light levels are lower than normal, so let’s perform exercises that get our endorphins flowing to energize us.
Set a goal
Every good plan starts with a goal. Your summer goal may have been to look good in a bathing suit, fit into a certain dress, or feel comfortable enough in your own skin to actually enjoy going to the beach. Winter goals may include fitting into an old pair of jeans, becoming strong enough to lift heavier weights, or being able to last for 20 minutes on the treadmill.
The point is, it feels great to achieve a goal, but to achieve a goal, first you must set one. Your goal should be specific and measurable (for example, I want to be able to do 20 push-ups in a row), and it should be attainable (not 1,000 push-ups in a row). It’s also important that your goal be time-based, so that it’s not open-ended. This will keep you focused so you can create a plan and a schedule.
We would like to extend a challenge to you: pick an event that meets our goal-setting criteria (specific, measurable, attainable, and time-based) and train for that event. While there are intense events to train for such as an Ironman triathlon, Tough Mudder, or the GranFondo bike race, to name a few, you may choose something a little more sane, such as dragon boat racing or the Walk to Cure Cancer. Pick something that will challenge you and put butterflies in your stomach. Fear is a great motivator to keep you training with purpose!
Adapt to the season
As the temperature gets colder, you may begin craving comfort foods. Recognize this and be sure to include plenty of greens and veggies in your diet while limiting sodium and trans fats. Don’t hesitate to visit your local natural health store for advice on the supplements your body needs during winter, such as vitamin D.
The following exercises revisit classic movements such as the push-up, the row, squats, and lunges, while keeping the movements functional and fresh.
Single-Arm Resistance Band Squat and Row
Muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes, rhomboids, and abs
Perform: 2 sets of 15 repetitions per side
Reverse Lunge and Resistance Band 45 Fly
Muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings, medial deltoids, and posterior deltoids
Perform: sets of 10 repetitions per leg
Plate Slide Push-Up Knee Tucks
Muscles worked: pecs, deltoids, triceps, quads, and abs
Perform: 2 sets of 12 repetitions
As this is an intermediate exercise, you may want to begin with your knees down on a mat. If you are doing the exercise on a wood floor, you can put a towel under your knees and slide them forward and back.
Resistance Band Plank Tricep Kickbacks
Muscles worked: core, lower back, triceps, and shoulders
Perform: 2 sets of 15 per arm
This is an intermediate exercise. To start with, try this exercise with your knees on the ground.
Resistance Band Pullover Crunch
Muscles worked: abs, lats, and triceps
Perform: 2 sets of 20
For an easier version, allow your feet to rest on the ground and crunch with hands over your chest, but no further.