It’s easy to be active when it’s warm outside. Easier, at least. If you exercise at least semi-regularly, you know what it’s like to get into a hot streak. But you’ve also probably lost momentum as time went on only to see your strength and muscle ebb away while the weight slowly comes back.
Now that it’s cold outside, we’ve got plenty of excuses to avoid a morning run. While you may not find it possible to fully replicate your summer workout routine, however, there are maintenance exercises you can do to make sure you stay fit through the winter. Once spring arrives, you’ll still have all the muscle mass you enjoyed in the previous year, and you’ll be able to build to new levels of achievement from there.
- Daily Floor Exercises – If you’re used to lifting weights in the gym, it’s important not to exclude these activities entirely. At the same time, we understand that icy roads and chilling winds can keep you from making it as often as you’d like. You may not be able to make as much progress at home as you would at the gym, but at least you can maintain some level of fitness. With a few simple floor exercises (pushups, planks, squats, lunges, etc.), plus some time with dumbbells, you should be able to keep all the muscle you earned in 2018, so that you can build on this foundation during the warmer months of 2019, once they finally arrive.
- Proper Diet, With Plenty of Protein – If you’re worried about losing muscle, the best way you can work to keep it (short of weight training harder than ever) is to eat plenty of protein. If you want to maintain muscle mass, try to eat at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. Every single day. Our bodies tend to burn muscle for protein energy, much like we burn fat in the absence of dietary sources. Diet alone won’t keep up muscle mass forever, but if you’re going a few weeks without your normal workout routine, this is one of the best ways to maintain.
- Take Advantage of New Year’s Sales (and Motivation) – Whether you’re looking for at-home equipment, or a membership to the new rock climbing gym on the other side of town, you’ll likely save money by buying in the new year. We’ve acknowledged that it’s hard to exercise in the winter months, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. If you’re given to the making of new year’s resolutions, make one about personal fitness, and use investments like these to help you follow through.
- Do Winter Stuff Outdoors. Our bodies have to work harder when it’s cold outside. Take staying warm, for example. You may notice that you get hungrier when you spend lengthy amounts of time outdoors in the winter. This is because your body has to burn more fuel in order to keep its core temperature up. If you don’t want to gain weight in the winter, this is a great tactic to use for your advantage. Similarly, wintry activities such as chopping firewood, shoveling snow, and even raking leaves can burn calories and build strength if done for long enough.
You don’t have to see all of your exercise progress lost to winter sensation. You may have to change your workout strategies, somewhat, but you can (at the very least) maintain and (if you push a little harder) actually keep making fitness progress, even when the mercury is at its lowest.