Fitness Fun

Warning Signs You’re Headed For The Winter Blues

Winter BluesWe had our first snow in Salt Lake City this past weekend, and it got me thinking: ‘will my workout regimen withstand the winter?’

After staying in to ponder the question over a gingerbread latte and playtime with kitten, I arrived at an unequivocal answer: No.

My workout goals are in danger because of the winter blues. Are yours? Here are six telltale signs:

1. You’re a hiker, biker, runner or soccer player.

If all your go-to workouts are outdoor activities, you’re headed straight for excuse-ville when the weather turns bad. Get your indoor backup activities planned now. Sign up for an indoor sport or find a gym you’ll actually like.

2. Your mantra is “out of swimsuit, out of mind.”

If you’re excited to unpack your nubby oversized tunics and UGG® boots, uh-oh. While your figure may not have to answer to the world during winter, people will know if you’ve kept up your regimen. Your posture, strength and self-confidence are strong indicators of whether you’re taut or tubby under all those rolls of cashmere. (Also, if looking hot is your only motivator to exercise, I recommend that you stock up on 13 more.)

3. You could dance the meringue in your sleep.

As soon as performing a once-challenging workout becomes easier than buttering toast, it’s time for something new. An unchallenged brain can derail your fitness regimen faster than all the cheats and injuries in the world. At first yawn, act immediately: try a new activity, go to a different gym, make a new playlist, buy a new shade of spandex shorts.

4. You’re spending less time at the gym.

A sneakier form of boredom: restlessness. If you’re making more evening plans that prevent you from going to the gym, or you’re counting the minutes until your workout is over, you’re in the early stages of trailing off.

5. You’re mad at yourself for spending less time at the gym.

You noticed that you’re less committed to your workouts and now you’re lecturing yourself about it. Danger! Guilt, negativity and lowered self-esteem are pushing you even further down the rabbit hole. The stress could cause you to start overeating too.

6. The smog in this town sucks. So do your smelly sneakers.

And traffic. And those weirdoes who run too close to you on the track. Irritability is a strong indicator that you’re dissatisfied with your fitness regimen, and possibly depressed in general (read about seasonal affective disorder). Before you get so down in the dumps that you can’t bounce back, up your exercise ante to get mood-boosting endorphins flowing. Don’t rule out that it might also be time for a fitness upgrade.

If any of the above sound familiar, consider yourself diagnosed. How to stop your funk dead in its tracks? In addition to the above ideas, it pays to start your exercise rescue mission with the basics: Start exercising immediately. Set a concrete (written-in-pen) goal. Add friends. And write down their goals too, following their progress zealously so they’ll return the favor (optional).

As my fitness regimen is clearly in danger, I’m signing up for indoor tennis lessons at the park and signing up a friend too. Don’t worry, I’ll tell him next week.

What’s your first cue that your exercise regimen is slipping this time of year?

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert