How to Motivate Yourself to Stay Active in the Winter Months
What advice would you give someone (who is not Olympic calibre pedigree) to try and stay active during those long, grey, winter months?
Find something you really enjoy doing. If it’s freezing outside, look at trying out indoor climbing, circuit classes, swimming, volleyball, Zumba, the choices are endless! The key here is to keep it consistent. When you’re consistent with something, it easily becomes a part of your life and schedule. Find some friends who are keen to join in so you can motivate each other. If you’re a stay-at-home Mom, or just enjoy working out from home instead, crank up the tunes and search HIIT work outs on YouTube for some free ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ timed work-outs that you can be done in 45 minutes. If you don’t mind the cold, head outside for a jog. I always feel rejuvenated after breathing hard in the fresh air.
Is there something we should do more of in the winter to maintain our motivation?
Eat well! Eating a clean, plant-based diet will give you the energy you need to stay motivated and keep moving. Your energy will be limitless.
Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. These are the foods that will allow your body to thrive. Food can still be very comforting without animal products. A couple of my favourite blogs out there for inspiration are Oh She Glows and This Rawsome Vegan Life.
How important is diet in the winter months when it comes to staying fit?
Diet is important all year round. I like taking the word ‘diet’ out, and replacing it with ‘lifestyle’. To stay healthy sustainably, it’s important to be consistent and love the food that makes you feel your best. The longest living people on earth are the ones who live a plant-based lifestyle with the bulk of their foods being complex carbohydrates. Just remember, there’s no such thing as ‘protein deficient’. In fact, most of North America is eating TOO MUCH protein, which leads to disease and is very hard on the kidneys. When you live a plant-based lifestyle, calorie counting can be thrown out the door (yay!). A couple of my comforting winter recipes are ‘Yam, cauliflower, red lentil curry stew on brown rice’ or a ‘Glory Bowl’ with steamed veggies, quinoa, greens and roasted root vegetables with a drizzle of tahini, garlic, lemon dressing. Raw fruits and vegetables should be a year-round staple in the form of smoothies and salads. These are the foods that will give you the most vitamins, nutrients and minerals to keep your cells happy and your energy up. Citrus fruits are abundant in the winter months, so get in that Vitamin C!
How do you keep things “fun” training year after year?
My training has changed since being on the National Team. I used to go to the gym 6 days per week to lift heavy weights and work on quick reflexes, along with cardio 5 times per week on the bike. Now my training really doesn’t feel like training because I’m in love with mountain biking, running, skate skiing and ski touring. All of these options get my heart rate up and my adrenaline pumping. But the bottom line is that I have SO much fun doing them. I feel best when I do some type of exercise every single day. Rather than hitting the gym for heavy Olympic lifting, I am now in love with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training circuit work outs) that mostly contain body weight exercises or light weights. 45 minutes of this always hits the spot. There are a ton of free routines on youtube. A couple of my favourite channels are Fitness Blender and Christine Salus.
You work with clients of all ages, skiing down beautiful Whistler Mountain in BC, what importance do you put on stretching before, or after, you hit the slopes?
This is something I have to work on. I try to work in at least 5 minutes of stretching before breakfast to get my body moving and ready for the day. Tara Styles on youtube has some great yoga flows. I believe stretching is just as important as the work out. My goal is to stretch every day- even if it’s just 10 minutes! This is a good time to focus on your breathing as well, which is going to help you de-stress after a day's work.
It happens to everyone, we make a resolution to be more fit/healthy, and a few weeks or months later we’ve fallen off the wagon. Considering all of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome, and all of the times you must have said “I’ve had enough”, what advice would you give someone to “get back on the horse” and not give up?
I feel the most important point here is to find something that you truly enjoy doing, and as a side benefit, you get a work out. For me it’s biking, running, and skiing. I never regret going to circuit classes with friends, and always walk out feeling uplifted and stronger. Not to mention the healthy hang out I just got to have. Also, remember that you are only human and nobody is perfect. So, if you happen to have a slip up in your healthy lifestyle, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember that habits and change take time and require you to take baby steps forward. Think about the big picture and don’t beat yourself up about one baby step backwards every now and then. Eventually you will find yourself looking forward to your next work out and craving that smoothie or veggie dinner packed with greens.
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who was struggling to start a winter exercise regime, what would it be?
Besides the number one piece of advice, which is eating a plant-based diet for energy and vitality, you should find a friend to work out with consistently! This will do 3 great things for you: hold you accountable, make work outs more fun, and give you quality time with your buds!
Having a community surrounding you to motivate, inspire and go through the same challenges you must face is incredibly helpful as well. I am a part of an incredible community called Girltribe that is all about forming a tribe of women to motivate and inspire each other. If you’re keen to be a part of some lifestyle programs that will inspire you with daily workouts, and healthy living tips, head on over to - http://www.thegirltribe.com/new-year-new-you/
There is a New Year’s one coming up soon, and I’ll be heading up the March Ski Bum Program! It’s incredibly powerful to have a surrounding group of motivating ladies and healthy living tips daily.