Category Archives: Fitness

Beating Your Winter Workout Woes

Fall is here and the days are shortening! For me, the switch to Daylight Savings time is always a firm indicator that we are heading into the cooler months. It’s dark when I drive to work and dusk when I get home. My cat starts burrowing under our blankets and I start digging out my riding boots and scarves. Additionally, I always start feeling my “Winter Workout Slump.” Going home and curling up with the remote control and a blanket seems a lot more appealing than a crisp run out in the brisk evening air.

After the hype of our wedding weekend, an indulgent few weeks in Hawaii, we entertained my in-laws and then headed to New Orleans (the capital of fatty fried foods), and boy have I got off track when it comes to my regular workout routine. With Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays hot on it’s heels, I am majorly motivated to get back on the workout track.

Here are my top tips!

Bribe Yourself with Treats

Whenever I find myself in a slump, I always “bribe” myself with a new workout gadget, equipment or apparel. I know it sounds terrible, but I find that having something exciting and new to use is a great motivator to get my bum off the couch. Some of my past treats have included: new running shoes, a Nike+ tracker and my favorite long-sleeved Nike dry-fit shell.

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Don’t have a workout or fitness item on your wish list? Consider setting a fitness goal for yourself, such as running three times a week, challenging yourself to learn a new Zumba or dance move, or trying out a new sport. Instead of bribing yourself with new gear, consider “banking” some dollars toward a non-fitness treat, such as a new Kate Spade bag or that Chanel makeup that you have been drooling over. Some people find that it’s easier to stay motivated to do less-desirable things (such as working out), when they have their eyes on their prize.

Incorporate Fitness into Everyday Activities

I’ve written a bit about this before, but I’m a huge advocate of incorporating fitness into your everyday schedule. Life is just busy and albeit staying fit should be a huge priority for us, our lives are filled with a number of other demands on our time.

If you’re like me, the majority of your day includes…sitting down. I sit…in my car, at my desk, whilst eating lunch and then eating dinner and relaxing after the work day. I have no idea what the percentage is, but I would say it’s somewhere north of 90% of my day!

Consider taking a minute and mapping out a “day in the life of you” and where you can incorporate in some activity to your day. A few ideas that I have added to my daily work routine, include: Walking to the coffee station in another building on our campus (instead of grabbing a cup of tea at the one just down the hall); using the upstairs restroom instead of the one a few doors down; and, standing up while I’m on a long conference call

Winter Workouts

Other ideas to consider, while not in the office include: Walking around the block when you’re on a catch-up phone date with a friend or ditching brunch or evening drinks and meet up with a friend for a hike in a local park or at a studio for a spin class.

“Double Bottom Line” Workouts

Another motivation strategy that I have used in my winter workout slumps is to find (what I call) a “double bottom line” motivation strategy. My interpretation is finding a fitness goal that also provides some sort of community benefit. I think this tends to go well with the “holiday season” and is a good reminder of how fortunate we are to have what we have in life.

IMG_1689What are some ideas? Consider doing a charity walk or run for a community-based organization or national advocacy campaign. Another ideas is to volunteer at a local food bank or shelter and spend a day moving food donation boxes. These are great ways to stay active but also tap into the all-important side of charitable giving.

The bottom line is most of us experience a sort of lethargic reaction to the winter. It’s just plain more enticing to sit in the warm house, then to get out in the cold. However, since the winter-time is also full of goodies like pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing—it’s important to maintain your discipline and keep yourself active.

Have a good tip to share that keeps you going during the winter? We’d love to hear from you!

Multitasking Workouts

Hi Triple Knots readers! I’m sure you’re all wondering where all of us have been! The truth is that I am getting married in a few weeks and my fellow TK bloggers have a very integral role in the wedding. We are in the final dash to the alter and boy are we all busy!

The ironic thing about getting married is your “To Do” list becomes never-ending, and yet this is one big time in your life when really want to be in shape. While I have always been an avid fitness person, I am finding that my wedding tasks are draining all my extracurricular-post-work hours.

Finding a balance between all the things going on has been a huge challenge for my workout schedule. In order to stay on track (literally), I have focused on coming up with what I call “Multitasking Workouts.” My fiancé always marvels at my uncanny ability to multitask, so it seems fitting that somehow I would find a way to get stuff done while working out.

Here are my tips!

Ditch Your Car and Use Your Feet
Wedding planning has increased the amount of weekly errands two-fold (and likely beyond!). I’m always running to the craft store for ribbon, to Target for décor and to the mall for a cute cocktail dress and accessories. Fortunately, we moved to an area where a number of these places are within five miles or so of our house, so I’ve learned to ditch my car and take my bike to the store.

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Not only do I get a nice bike ride in, but it’s amazing how much you actually work out when you’re carrying your groceries in your backpack (and against a headwind). For those of you that do not have a bike, consider walking or even trying to coordinate a run with your errands. Albeit takes a bit longer, I have found it’s a great way for me to get a little exercise in while accomplishing my routine errands.

Too Far Away from the Stores? Consider parking your car at the first spot you see at a shopping center (instead of hunting for the closest one to the door). Not only will you have to walk a bit farther, but you may save time a little time by not having to wait for a spot to open up.

Yoga, Stretching, Weights and the Real Housewives
Despite my crazy schedule, I always make time for the ladies of the Real Housewives (and a number of other reality TV shows). In a weird way, their drama relaxes me! When I have a shortage in free time, I always feel guilty when I sit down and watch the shows, so I focused on trying to find exercises I could do while watching.

The first I would recommend is bringing in your yoga mat and plop it in front of your TV. Not only is it great for stretching and planks, but I feel more motivated to actually work out when I’m on my mat (versus just sitting on the normal floor). I also use my yoga mat as a place to do my free weights.

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I try to do something on my yoga mat every time I turn on the TV. It doesn’t always happen but it’s got me into the mentality of equating fitness with TV, and makes me feel a little less guilty on my reality-show indulgences!

Standing Instead of Sitting
I work an office job, and the great majority of my day is sitting at my desk or driving in my car. I try my best to “unplug” from the Internet while not at the office, but have found that wedding planning has increased the amount of time I have to be in front of a computer (outside of the office). While it’s a lot easier to sit at a desk or table and type, I have made a conscious effort to try to stand while I work on my Macbook or iPad. Not only does it get me out of a sitting position, but I also find that I have better posture when I stand (shoulders stay back and I stand straighter).

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To my chagrin our house came with this funny little bar sink and counter in the corner of our family room. I told my fiancé that it “needed to go” but after a little bit of time the space has grown on me. It still needs a major makeover and some styling, but I think it may be with us to stay. It’s a perfect counter-level height for me to plop my computer and type away or keep up with the many emails that are floating around after work.

Don’t Have a Funky Bar Sink? Consider a kitchen counter (a clean one, of course) or even a bedroom dresser.

Whether you are planning a wedding or not, American life is just plain busy! While I am a firm believer that the best workout time is uninterrupted time—the reality is that is not always feasible. In your busiest times, keep yourself healthy by working in fitness time!

Hungry Hiker: What Food to Pack for a Big Hike

We are officially a week out from our Whitney hike, and boy are we excited! In addition to getting together our gear and packing for the rest of our trip, I have been focusing on pulling together what food we will need for our day out on the trail. While we have had to pack food for our various training hikes, there are different criteria that we are focusing on for the “big day.”

  • Weight: We are looking to minimize as much pack weight, so packing exactly what we need (and nothing else) is important.
  • Durability: Along with minimizing weight is minimizing our pack size, so we need foods that can deal with getting crushed.
  • Protein: We want food that is high in protein to keep us going throughout the long day.
  • Salt & Sugar: Salty foods will help keep our electrolytes balanced, and sugars (natural is preferred) will give us carbohydrates.

So what was on my shopping list? A list of items that rival a Michelin-star restaurant. NOT!

Hungry Hiker Photo (Jun 2014)

While this may change, right now I plan on feasting on protein bars, peanut and raisin mix and beef jerky. Enticing, huh? Let me explain why I’ve made these choices:

PROTEIN BARS: The name says it all. They’re packed with protein (21g) and their small and light-weight. I chose the peanut butter flavor to get my “sweet n’ salty” despite wanting something with chocolate (which I knew was going to end up as a gooey mess).

PEANUTS & RAISINS: This little homemade concoction is both simple and to-the-point. The nuts are a great source of protein and salt, and the raisins provide a little sugar! They are crush-proof and will be a great snack on the trail.

BEEF JERKY: Since there won’t be a Subway for me to grab a sandwich, the next alternative is to get “meat” through jerky. This really is not a favorite—more of an essential. It was this or canned sardines (YUCK—something suggested to me by another hiker).

So what does a hungry hiker eat after an epic hike like Mt. Whitney? Something DELICIOUS…and we are already scoping out where our “victory meal” will be when we return to town! I vote for a huge bowl of pasta, but I think Andy is eyeing the biggest ribeye steak he can find! What would you choose?

Do you have a big hike or outdoor excursion on the horizon? I hope some of my food packing ideas can help inspire your packing list when you’re getting ready for your next outdoor activity.