It’s easy to let your workout slide once the final leaves have fallen from the trees.
After all, nobody’s going to see you in a bathing suit in the near future, and the combination of your couch, sweatpants, and Netflix is suddenly far more enticing than an outdoor run…or even a walk to the gym.
But you really should keep your workout game strong for the winter. After all, if you don’t, it’s going to be that much more difficult to “get your body back” come t-shirt season.
So we sat down with Canadian Olympic snowboarder Spencer O’Brien and the Nike team to learn 6 ways we can keep our workout game strong throughout winter.
1. Schedule in a Workout to Your Daily Routine
This may sound like a no-brainer. But keep in mind that the summertime is full of opportunities for physical activity – whether this means an after-work tennis match, or an impromptu walk across the city. With the colder, shorter days, you have to make a point to workout. “In the winter, it’s about carving out time,” says Canadian Olympic snowboarder Spencer O’Brien, who has been sponsored by Nike for six years. “It’s difficult when there’s less daylight; it’s hard to make that time. But I think if you schedule it in it really helps.” Although there’s nothing fun about waking up when it’s pitch black outside, tackling that workout in the morning means you can get home to your couch and sweatpants that much quicker once the workday is over.
2. Invest in New Gear
Modern workout gear allows you to express yourself through your outfit choice, even when you’re sweating your face off at the gym – which is pretty much incentive in itself. Today’s high-performance workout gear is more stylish and varied than it ever has been, whether it’s designed for outdoor running – like the Pegasus running shoe that’s complete with Nike’s reflective Flash technology – or for winter sports, like the Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Dri-FIT shirts. As of yesterday, the coveted, completely customizable Nike ID shoes (which you can customize based on style, colour, fabric, fit, and training preference) are available in Canada with the launch of Nike.com.
3. Switch it Up
It’s easy to fall into a mundane routine once the days get dark and the weather becomes swearword inspiring. That’s why it’s important to switch up your workout in the winter, adding variety whenever you can. “I think changing it up is so important. Even for me, I do workout classes that kind of have nothing to do with my functional training, but that keep working out fun for me. It can get stale if you’re doing something over and over,” says O’Brien.
4. Sign Up for a Class
Speaking of switching it up, signing up for a workout class offers a way to explore different forms of physical activity – whether it’s hip-hop dancing or acrobatics – than you’re used to. Signing up for a class also offers incentive to actually make it out of your front door in the first place. Not to mention, a class offers a way to meet other people once ‘hibernation season’ hits and the social functions dwindle. Plus, the energy of your fellow classmates will only motivate you to work harder.
5. Embrace an Outdoor Activity
Instead of counting down the days until you can bust out the water skis and your beloved bicycle again, at least try to embrace a winter activity. That way, your workout won’t feel so much like “work,” and you’ll have something to look forward to next year. “Obviously, I am a super outdoors person, so I carry that over into the winter, that’s why I snowboard. The main way I stay in shape in the winter is through my snowboarding,” says O’Brien. “It means a lot less time in the gym for me.” Your winter activity doesn’t have to be as intense as snowboarding; things like skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are major calorie-burners as well (not to mention, cute date options).
6. Create a Home Workout
On those dead-of-winter days where the thought of setting foot outside is enough to make you want to hibernate until April, you can always get in an effective workout at home, even with minimal equipment. If you’re in need of some assistance, there are apps, like the female-oriented N+TC app, that literally function as personal trainers within your pocket. Meaning, you can do the workouts anytime, anywhere you want (i.e. in front of the big screen in your cozy living room). “Even when I don’t have access to a gym or equipment, I know I can get a good training session in,” says O’Brien of the app.