My friend Brittany Forgione is my "fitspo". We first met while slinging sangria during our restaurant days and immediately bonded over our common interests of health and wellness. Brittany has now moved on to be a Director of Public Relations, is a multiple marathoner, and competes in triathlons and Ironmans. Her positivity, cheery attitude, and continual commitment to testing herself has served as my constant inspiration and motivator in the workout arena.
During the dead of winter and when it is exasperatingly cold, working out seems leagues more challenging. Whether thoughts of running the loop at Central Park is a "no go" due to single digits or getting to a spin class or to the gym seems like crossing the Arctic tundra, finding winter workout motivation is tough. I called on Brittany for some winter workout tips and to help inspire all of us to beat those winter workout woes.
How to be a Winter Workout Warrior by Brittany Forgione aka BForge
Are you a winter workout warrior? Do you have a concrete plan in place to get yourself to that AM or PM sweat sesh? I know your warm bed is so much more comfortable, and every excuse for going outside in the bone-chilling cold replays in your head. You could get sick, you can use a day off, this bed is so much safer. Wah, wah. Step aside, excuses. We’ve got work to do! I’ve got several reasons why you should embrace the brisk beauty and take charge of your winter fitness.
Get Yourself In Gear: It’s easy to get outside if you’ve got the right gear. Stock up on these essentials and have plenty of layers in tow. Some favorites in my winter-weather running collection:
- Fleece-lined leggings
- Short sleeves
- Long sleeves
- Jacket with hood
- Fleece headband
- Neck warmer
- Warm/above ankle socks
- Arm warmers
- Water bottle/fuel belt
- Heated hand warmers (optional)
Swag It Up: If colors and cool patterns make you as happy as they make me, then splurge on some sweet swag. So many great brands like Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and more have an incredible selection of funky designs that make you look and feel great. If you’re going to #treatyourself, then it doesn’t hurt to do it with items that contribute to your health! I always believe that exercise is worth the money it costs to outfit yourself. Think of what you are potentially saving by keeping yourself out of the doctor’s office.
Lay It Out: Ok, so you’ve got the gear, but is it in order? To save yourself some time in the morning, pile up your duds the night before. Having your go-bag packed and outfit stacked up and ready-to-wear, leaves you with less stress in the AM and several extra minutes of shut-eye! You can’t argue that. So after the sunset, be sure to set yourself up for the sunrise. Sleep tight, you've got a big day ahead.
It's Ok to Shiver: Some studies demonstrate that our basal metabolic rate (amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment) increases a bit when we are in cooler temps. Next time you catch yourself shivering at the start of a run, take note of the work your body is doing to keep you warm. If you feel your body warming up too much, that’s the beauty of layers - remove one! Your heart rate will rise and your muscles will work overtime to keep you in a more comfortable state. Eventually you will warm up enough and the shivering will fade- it is a fun little fact knowing that most of our outdoor experience is a calorie-torcher.
Phone a Friend: The buddy system is a tried and true way to get yourself out of bed. You can’t leave your partners waiting in the cold by themselves! Running with a friend or a team gives you the push that you need to get up and out. Plus, it makes fitness fun! Start an email chain with your fit friends and set up meet-ups for the week or even month. By having plans in place and people on your side, you are bound to have a successful season full of workouts. This is also a great way to challenge yourself because many groups and individuals may be able to push your pace and encourage you to take that extra step that you would not necessarily take alone.
Ignite a Hot Playlist: Nothing brings on the heat like a "sick" winter blast mix. Ramp up your playlist with songs that really get you moving and keep your cadence at a steady pace. Feed your heart rate with some of your favorite beats, and the heat will be on!
You can play this a couple of ways. Pick your most upbeat tracks that make you run a little faster and sweat a little harder. You know, the head-banging, soul-screaming chants that get you revved up and ready to rock. Or take the more literal route by creating a set of songs that have a summer theme and signal warm thoughts. I’m thinking “Hot in Herre” by Nelly, “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, “This Fire” by Franz Ferdinand, “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield, “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “Hot Blodded” by Foreigner. Do you get the point? Thought so. Now go build that hotlist!
Sign Up and Switch It Up: Maybe you’re just bored. Maybe you need a new flame in your life. Ignite your passion for new workouts by changing it up. Hot yoga seems like the obvious choice, but have you tried rowing yet? Barre class? Kettle bell kickboxing? Switch up your routine and add some spontaneity to your fitness lineup. It goes in line with phoning a friend. When you sign up, you are being held accountable, and you rise with reason. This is also key for those of you not interested in outdoor workouts. You may have to wake in the cold, but you can still run off to a warm place. Keep it interesting and you’ll be keeping yourself in check.
So clearly winter weather has nothing on us. You’ve got the tools you need to get you up and out despite the cold temps. If you live in warm weather year-round, a lot of these tips are still important to keep in mind. We all need the motivation, but some of us lack the preparation. Do the groundwork, embrace the season, and watch your temperature rise with pride. The heat is on. Get it!
Be sure to check out more of Brittany's tips and fitness inspiration on her site Fit with Forge.