Winter Workout Essentials: New Year Workout Routine

When it comes to working out, the seasons have always been constant. After Halloween, the days get noticeably darker. After Thanksgiving, the days get noticeably colder. After New Years, there is no escaping the coldness and the darkness, unless I head inside to the gym.

The outdoors, with its green trees, blue skies and sunshine, is so much sexier than the gym. In the winter, enjoying these outdoor sights becomes elusive with its 14 hours of daily darkness. The winter is also temperamental with snowstorms, wind chills of -5 and ice.

On the other hand, the gym is the good guy your parents want you to marry. Always there and dependable with its heat, lights, classes and TVs. (Replace “gym” with “basement” if you are like my mom and husband who prefer to head downstairs when winter is upon us.) It also forces gives me an opportunity to cross-train.

Once I get into the routine I start to love the gym as much as the outdoors: the cheery Good Morning from the woman at the front desk. The knowing smiles from classmates. We may not know each other’s names, but we do know that we each share a commitment to ourselves. The instructors that encourage me to push myself past what I think are my limits. And of course the towels and the showers – very few things beat the feeling of walking out of the gym showered and done for the day.

Every year, after Halloween, I start the transition from my outdoor routine to my indoor routine. Whether the indoor routine is in the gym or the basement, with the exception of #6, these ease the transition (these also work well with New Year’s workout goals):

  1. Schedule it – Set a schedule. Decide which days are on (for me: Su, M, W, F, Sa) and which days are off (Tu & Th). This helps me establish a routine (routines make me happy). As importantly, it helps me enjoy my off days. Rather than wondering all day if I am going to try and squeeze in a workout or not.
  2. Commit to Classes / Workouts – Pick classes and commit to doing the same ones each week. Classes give me a target and accountability. In spin class, I start to notice the people on the bikes around me. I think they notice me too. I do not want to be noticed for not being there!
  3. New Workout Clothes – New gear gives me a reason to head to the gym (fact: it also makes me run faster).  Also, I feel like a poser if I spend a small fortune on Lululemon and do not use the clothes for exercise. So this one is somewhere between motivation and guilt.
  4. Gym Buddy – I love the support and accountability a gym buddy provides. I have been running and hitting classes with my best friend for 20 years. 20 years we have been solving our lives’ problems (or sometimes just bi#$@ing about them…). Even if our schedules prevent us from going together, if I know she hit a morning class, it helps hold me accountable that day.
  5. Rewards – If I am driving through snow at 5:30AM to get to the gym (common when we lived in Cincinnati), I earn some coffee for the drive home.
  6. Gym Bag – Designating a bag whose sole purpose is going to the gym makes it easy to grab and go. It eliminates the feeling that I am packing for an overnight trip every time I head to the gym. I stock it with its own flip flops, shampoo & conditioner, razor, sweats and deodorant.  This year, I invested in a new bag (I grabbed it when it was on We Made Too Much. Their clever way of saying sale without saying sale. New items posted every Thursday.)

With our mild Holidays behind me, which gave me the opportunity to run outside during daylight hours, and our first snow of the season on the books, it is time for me to get back to my indoor routine. Because no matter how consistent I have been over the years, some days it is just hard to get to it! Hope these help get you there too or let me know what helps you get there!

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