Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter Exercise Routine

Winter in Iowa is cold. Did you know?

As an avid outdoor exercise lady, winter can put a  pretty good damper on my exercise routine. Inevitably, I end up slowing down my routine and gaining weight until about Christmas. Then I see pictures of myself and say 'Something has to change' and get back to exercising.

Unacceptable! This year, I'm going to be proactive about avoiding the 'winter-onset-weight-gain'. And of course, since I'm a scientist, this will be a very scientific decision-making process!
(source) I hope you find the picture as hilarious as I do!

Step 1: Identify the problem.

To be clear, we usually don't get snow until mid-November (but I hear it will be early and abundant this year!). I can run and bike outside until then, although biking becomes uncomfortable due to the wind. Once the snow falls, I can still run, but ice and deep snow usually cause me to cut down on the mileage. Biking is out of the question. I've had far too many accidents to even think about it!

Step 2: Brainstorm potential solutions.

Well, I belong to an awesome gym. I love it. I can't tell you which one because it isn't a nationwide chain and it's specific to my town, but there are three facilities in my 50,000 person town (yes, overkill. But awesome!). There is an indoor pool, many pieces of equipment, and a variety of classes. I also have a static trainer for my bicycle. If you're unfamilliar, they look like this:


Mine isn't that cool, but it works. It's really noisy, but I could set it up on my porch and just wear appropriate clothing. I may also use it to annoy my loud, nocturnal upstairs neighbors at 7am on a Saturday. You never know ;)  I can also run outside when it is nice enough - not windy, and not treacherous. Finally, I could increase my daily activity by taking the stairs more often and incorporating more active breaks into my day.

Step 3: Make a plan
My plan is to take 3 classes per week and run ~15 miles per week from now until March. Sometimes I won't be able to make the classes because they are at set times, but I plan to do an hour of cardio/weights/intervals/circuits to get the same amount of exercise on my own.

Step 4: Anticipate problems and solutions

Potential problem: I am going to get bored or lazy.

Potential solutions: Go to different classes! Right now, I am going to some spin (cycling classes) and weight lifting classes. There are yoga, dance, interval, and kickboxing classes at the same gym. I can also create my own circuits at the gym. Key is just making time for it. I have a habit of allowing my job to take over my life.

Potential problem: I will feel gross or tired and not want to go.

Potential solutions: Normally, I am not an advocate of retail therapy. I believe in buying new shoes to prevent injuries, and I only replace workout gear when it breaks down over time. However, I think having new clothes is a great way to motivate yourself. Behold:

 And the #1 reason I couldn't take a picture of all of the new clothes together: Thanks, Lyra.

I also have subscriptions to some science magazines (Chemical and Engineering News, Science, and Scientific American) and some girly magazines (Self and Glamour) that pass the time on the treadmill and elliptical while teaching me valuable and not-so-valuable life skills.

I'll let you know how it goes, but I'm excited. I'll also take some outdoor running pics along the way. How do you stay fit in the winter?

Also, if you like health & fitness with a fashion twist, you should check out The Daily Balance, where Shannon provides a healthy and realistic view of everyday life. Plus, she's sponsoring an awesome Shopbop giftcard giveaway here: http://www.thedailybalance.com/2010/11/05/fashion-friday-shopbop-gift-card-giveaway/

Check it out! Back with some science and food later this week!


  1. Retail therapy is going to get me to the gym this winter. Woo, payday!

  2. a. I am impressed that you can run and read at the same time.

    b. I think a new magazine is an awesome motivator! maybe I'll try that this winter.

    It doesn't even get that cold here, so it's really sad when I don't get my butt up and out the door. I've found that signing up for a February/March race is really helpful to keep me going through the winter!

  3. It's a lot more 'looking at pictures' than reading...but on the elliptical, I can get a lot of reading done. Plus, I think the elliptical is like 'vacation' - it's so nice and easy on your joints.

  4. Walking has a lot of health benefits, but what if walking every day could help stop the progression to diabetes and reverse metabolic syndrome? In studies, regular walking has been shown to lower blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss.