Ah, winter. I’m not much of a fan, honestly. That’s one of the reasons I no longer live in Michigan and am now an almost 9 year resident of North Carolina. It’s cold, wet, dreary…okay…winter is depressing and disgusting. (And I realize that not everyone hates winter. I just happen to.)
Before winter came along, my running routine was on point. I ran Tues/Thurs/Sat like it was my job, and aside from an occasional torrential downpour, not much came between me and my runs. But here we are half way through January, and I’ve got to be honest: my fitness game is not strong right now.
Up until about last week, we’d had some good weather spells, and Brandon and I started taking the kids on “family runs” which means we loaded the kids into the double jogger, armed ourselves with Pirate’s Booty, blankies, Contigo cups, and a pacifier for Mav, and ran 3-4 miles pushing that monstrosity along. Side note here: you may THINK you are super fit…but try pushing a stroller with 2 kids. The thing seriously weighs almost what I do. I basically die on these runs. I ran 13.1 miles on Nov. 3, and here I am in January struggling to run 3 miles. But I digress. So basically, we had a good “run” (pun intended) for a few weeks, but with the crap weather back in full force, it’s been a week or so since I’ve worked out.
And then I realized: just because the weather sucks (read: dark at 5 pm, cold, rainy), doesn’t mean I have to stop working out. So today I’m preaching to myself, and hoping you’ll read along as I do so.
1.Try to find a treadmill for cheap
About a month ago, Brandon and I started scoping out Facebook Marketplace and the Nextdoor site to see if anyone was giving away or selling a treadmill for basically nothing. We were late to the game I suppose, because the few we found we’re already gone by the time we reached out. Boo hoo. As previously mentioned, the weather turned nicer, so the need for a treadmill faded to the background. (Hey B, we should totally start looking for a treadmill again!)
2. YouTube Workouts
I’ve done these before, and I know my sister works out from YouTube on the regular. I can’t think of an easier or cheaper way to burn some calories. You can find ANYTHING on YouTube, so whether you want yoga or a high-intensity workout, it’s all right there on your phone.
3. Go outside at the first hint of sunshine
We lace up our running shoes the moment it gets a little warmer and it isn’t raining. Since it’s likely there won’t be a huge stretch of nice days, every one we get, we make count. We’ve even had to stop doing something around the house, gather the troops for a run, and then come back home to continue the chores. When daylight is limited, you gotta just get out there when it’s possible!
4. Play with the kids
For whatever reason, 5:30-6:30 is run around the house like wild banshees hour at our house. I don’t know WHY this is a thing (honestly it drives me crazy), but Brandon, Harlyn and Maverick run around playing tag, yelling, and screaming. But you know what? B is totally getting a quick workout in when he plays with them like this. With all the running and roughhousing going on, I’m betting it’s not the worst way to spend an hour. Every once in a while, I join in for a bit, but this is way more of Brandon’s thing than mine. I play food truck and dolls!
5. Get up from your desk every hour
If you have a Fitbit, then you are automatically reminded when you haven’t gotten in your step for the hour. Even if you don’t have one, you can still make sure you get up for a quick walk every hour. I’m the queen of hunkering down in my office, so my dear husband has to remind me to GET UP, but ANY movement we can sneak in during the day is a good thing. It may not be a real workout, but the more time we’re spending moving instead of sitting, the better.
6. Buy winter workout gear
If you will be heading outside for winter runs or workouts, make sure you buy some winter gear! Warmer socks, a winter hat or headband, layers, and a nice fleece lined workout jacket makes running outside a little more tolerable. While I still won’t run outside at 30 degrees, I’m getting better about 45+!
7. Get a cheap gym membership
Not every gym membership is expensive. We have a ton of places around here that are $9-$20/month and a lot of them recently did a reduced or NO enrollment fee for the new year. I’m betting some of those incentives will still be around til the end of January. So whether you like a gym with classes or just need a 24 hour fitness place to use an elliptical, it might be more possible than you think.
Maybe being active is just going to be a little difficult for you these next couple months. We all go through times when workouts just don’t happen for whatever reason. Rather than using that as an excuse to do NOTHING good for your body, how about…
8. Drink more water
I feel my best when I remember to drink water. I keep my water tumbler with me pretty much 24/7. I work with it, I fill it up after work for dinner, again for the evening hours, and I even take it to bed with me. When I fail to drink water, my body hates me. I get more headaches when I don’t drink enough water. I have stomach aches and bloating. Since Brandon knows how much I need my water and how sometimes I forget to actually drink it, it’s not uncommon for him to pop by my office and fill my tumbler for me while he’s filling his.
9. Make better food choices
This is my biggest fail, if you want the honest truth. I am terrible about healthy eating. I KNOW I feel better when I eat better, I KNOW how awful it is to eat fast food. I KNOW that if I run 5 miles and then eat 3 pieces of pizza, I just undid all the work. And yet, somehow, I have not made the decision to eat healthy. And I say “made the decision” here because it is, in fact, a decision. It’s not that I “can’t” eat healthy foods…it’s that I WON’T change my lifestyle with regard to food at this point. Which as I’m confessing this to you, sounds absolutely insane. I want to be fit, I want to have a strong, healthy body that can play with my kids, and yet I won’t commit to fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. I can feel a 2020 goal coming on here…
10. Go to bed earlier
There are so many health problems that are linked to sleep problems. I recently preached to you about sleep, so I won’t drag on here. But seriously, our bodies work best when we have quality sleep and enough of it. So even if you can’t do a workout tonight, at least head to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s a step in the right direction.
How do you work out in the winter? What do you find is the best way to stay motivated when a cozy robe and a good book sounds way better than running shoes and headphones? Do you struggle with eating healthy or do you have some advice for me??