In the wild, the winter season is a time of hibernation for mammals.
They store large amounts of food and energy, decrease their metabolism, hunker down, and sleep for much of the season to conserve energy.
It’s part of that animal instinct that probably contributes to a person’s general lack of motivation and reduced activity during the colder seasons.
The cold weather and animal instincts aren’t an excuse to hibernate under the covers or ignore your health and personal training.
Here are a few tips for staying fit during the winter months
1. Dress in layers
Telling someone to stay warm during winter results in a resounding “no, duh,” but one of the biggest mistakes you can make during a workout is to dress inappropriately.
Exercise generates heat and sweat. As the sweat dries, it cools your body, leading to a noticeable chill.
To avoid this problem, dress in layers that you can easily remove when you sweat and put back on when you feel the chill.
For your first layer, try to find a material that wicks the sweat away from your body. Cotton stays wet and sticks to your skin.
Wear an insulating layer over that and top it all off with a breathable outer layer if you need it.
2. Watch the carbs
The shorter days and diminished sunlight lead to less serotonin production.
Serotonin is the chemical that causes feelings of happiness and well-being. Not enough serotonin leaves you feeling depressed, tired, and hungry.
This often leads to a craving for carbohydrates as they cause your serotonin levels to rise.
When studying for your health coach certification, you probably learned that more carbs often means more calories.
You may eat an additional 800+ calories each day to sate your cravings.
Instead of reaching for the sugary, refined carbohydrates, eat low-fat, healthy carbohydrates, which includes leafy greens, fruits, and whole grains.
Avoid eating a lot of proteins as well; protein inhibits serotonin production.
3. Don’t forget the sunscreen
While it’s not the season associated with the sun, winter is just as filled with UV rays as summer, even more, if you live in high altitudes or areas of heavy snow.
Wear sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays and applies a lip balm that contains sunscreen. Wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from the sun glaring office and snow.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is one of the first things you learn when training for your certified personal trainer certification.
Hydration doesn’t change in warm or cold weather. Your body needs plenty of water to function, especially if you plan to exercise.
Drink water before, during, and after your workout. Being dehydrated will be much harder to notice in cold weather, so drink water even if you’re not especially thirsty.