As much as I hate to say it denizens, winter is here. Now that’s great for skiers, snowboarders, and a whole host of other winter sports junkies, don’t get me wrong. But for some of you, the onset of white layers covering your environment means that exercising gets harder. Well then, maybe it’s up to the ol’ Gangster of Gnar (just a little nickname they have for me here at Gnarly HQ) to shed some much needed light on some tips and tricks to make the most out of exercising in the shorter, winter days.
Dress for Success
Focus on wearing technical (i.e. non-cotton) fabrics that will help you ventilate excess heat and moisture, insulate your body to hold onto some of the heat you’re generating, and act as a protective shell against the elements. If you’re going to be outside, the key is to layer. Check out my blog on dressing for the cold for a much more detailed look at each of these.
Try Something New
Winter is the off season for most of us. The holidays keep us busy with family get togethers and copious amounts of food. If you’re like me, it actually makes me that much more motivated to stay in shape and not let all that hard work I’ve put in all year (read: my sweet six-pack) be destroyed in just a month or so of endless pies, gravy on everything, and roasts you really can’t say no to. But if it’s the off season, treat it like that. Don’t do the same sports you practice in the summer. Change it up. What you’ll find is that you actually stay motivated because of the novelty of participating in a new activity. Like I said, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or anything snow related are the obvious choices, but what about getting a pass to a local climbing gym and learning how to rock climb. Maybe join a masters swim class at a local pool. Take a boxing class. Like I said, treat it like the off season and focus on the fun of staying fit. You’ll have plenty of time to worry about performance again come Spring.
Exercise in Shorter Spurts or At An Easier Pace
This sort of goes along with my last tip, but, like I said, if it’s the off season, you really don’t need to be putting in 6,000 miles a week on your bike or on the pavement. I know plenty of very successful triathletes that even take a month or so off just to recharge their bodies and enjoy some downtime. The point is, the next couple of months are all about maintaining. So take your watch and heart rate monitor off and go out for a nice fun run. Pop a movie in and hop on your trainer to spin while you watch Last of The Mohicans for the gazillionth time (personal favorite). Just remember to calm it down a bit during the winter. You’ll feel regenerated and excited when spring hits, and you’ll be much less likely to show up to that first spring race nursing a winter injury.
Exercise On Your Lunch Break
This might already be how you get your daily gnarly time in, but it makes even more sense in the winter. You can exercise in the sun, the temps are warmer than in the morning or at night, you’re much more motivated than if you have to get up early or head out after work and you can probably find a few friends to head out with you and skip the office mac and cheese potluck. In fact, why not keep a gym bag at hand so you’re ready to go inside if the weather turns nasty and you don’t want to deal with it. Splitting up your work day with a little exercise is a great way to refresh your mind and spirit from the doldrums of an office. Just as important as packing a clean shirt and shorts is to make sure you’ve got some food on hand to help you recover after a hard workout. We humbly suggest Gnarly Whey and Gnarly Feast –both great sources of clean protein that mix easily with just water, you don’t even need to pack a shaker bottle!