This year has challenged us in ways we probably never imagined.
Shutdowns, illness, and uncertainty have dominated new cycles and impacted every part of our daily lives. We’ve had to adapt to working and learning from home. We’ve kept our distance from family and friends. And we even had to give up the one thing that might help us stay sane in the middle of this — going to the gym.
But things were finally improving. The world began to open back up. We went back to work and school. We’ve gotten back in the gym and back on track in the nutrition department. And just when it looked like the world might be returning to normal as we head into winter…
We’re trending in the wrong direction again.
Covid-19 numbers are on the rise nationwide. Flu season is beginning, threatening to tax the healthcare system and bring on a new set of symptoms. There’s a lot of uncertainty hanging in the air again.
And viruses aren’t the only thing looming on the horizon this winter. This season brings its own set of annual challenges to complicate things — hazardous weather and the holiday season are also notoriously tough on a health and fitness routine.
But there’s one bright spot in the middle of all the potential winter chaos: this time you know what to expect.
You know what it means if gyms need to shut down again. You know what challenges you will face if you are stuck at home. And hopefully you realize that you need a plan to help you stick to your fitness routine.
So whether it's illness, weather, or the lure of pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies, you don’t have to let that stand in the way of your progress.
Here are steps you can take to make sure your fitness game is ready for anything that comes your way this season.
Score Some New Equipment.
Remember when the pandemic forced your beloved gym to close its doors, and left you out in the cold?
Maybe you decided to embrace the change and dive into your workouts from home. All you’d need to do was jump online, purchase a few things for your at-home training sessions, and you’d be right back in the game. No problem, right?
Uh, wrong. Thanks to demand and supply chain issues, there wasn’t a resistance band or set of dumbbells to be found (at least not without a 6-8 week backorder).
Don’t get caught by surprise this time. Consider purchasing some new equipment now, while stores are better stocked, so you’ll be ready to go if at-home workouts become necessary.
Build better nutrition habits now.
Ah, the quarantine fifteen. As it turns out, being stuck in the house for weeks on end can wreak havoc on your pants’ size.
But the potential for more time at home doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your diet. Getting into a good routine of meal planning and prepping can help you avoid the pitfalls you faced before.
Take this chance to evaluate your diet and formulate a plan. Then start perfecting the recipes that taste great, can be made ahead of time, and are easy to grab when you need them. Not only will this help you establish healthy eating patterns, but it can also help you dial in your nutrition as you head into the holiday season.
Now, if you find yourself unexpectedly stuck at home, you won’t have to worry about the endless snacking or takeout ordering. You’ll already be in the habit of planning, shopping, and prepping meals to help you meet your goals, making it that much easier to stay on track.
Stockpile your supplements.
Much like fitness equipment, your favorite nutritional supplements might have been hard to come by during the early stages of the pandemic.
And now postal issues — combined with the added volume of holiday shipping — might mean you’re in for more delays when it comes to getting your favorite BCAAs or protein powder.
Fend off the feeling of panic that happens when your scoop hits the bottom of the container and consider ordering a few of your supplement staples to keep on hand in case your options get scarce.
That way you’ll never run the risk of facing leg day without your pre-workout again.
Do your research.
It can be frustrating when your routine is thrown out of whack — and we all know how easy it can be to let a few off-days spiral into weeks on the couch without logging a workout.
That’s why it's important to have a contingency plan.
There are tons of online programs and apps to help you get a great workout, even if you’re home with no equipment. By doing some research now, you can find options that work best for you and have them ready to go in case the need arises.
Whether you’re snowed-in at home, stuck in quarantine, or just trying to squeeze some movement into your crazy holiday schedule, you’ll have that HIIT workout or body-weight lifting program at your fingertips.
Prep your immune system.
You might want to guzzle Vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on, but here’s the reality — by the time your symptoms arrive, it’s probably too late to make much difference.
And with the heightened spread of infection this season, it’s more important than ever to start prepping your immune system before you need it to report for duty.
The right foods, vitamins, and supplements can get your immune system ready to battle anything that comes its way. Try loading up on these immune boosting secret weapons to shore up your defenses.
Don’t wait until it's too late to start giving your body the good stuff.
Embrace the Great Outdoors.
You’ve probably heard me say it before, but it bears repeating — you can still get a killer workout without the gym.
Outdoor activities, like walking or running, are great for both fat burning and your cardiovascular system. They need little equipment, they’re easy on the wallet, and can be done almost anywhere. Plus, escaping for some fresh air might just save your sanity when you’ve been cooped up inside too long.
So what’s the downside?
Well, for those of us who don’t wake up on the sunny beaches of California or the Arizona desert, it can be pretty tough to get motivated on a brisk December morning when the temperature reads 20 degrees.
But just because colder temps are headed your way, you shouldn’t let it keep you from getting outside for your workouts.
Having the right gear on hand for cold weather workouts makes all the difference.
And these days, there are tons of options to outfit yourself when the mercury falls.
Find thermal running tights, vests, and jackets that can help wick sweat from your body while keeping you warm. Consider hats and gloves made of soft fleece, so you don’t have to sweat with a giant ball of wool wrapped around your head. And on the coldest days, try lining your gloves or pockets with body warmers to bring the heat with you.
Be ready with your wardrobe lineup so you can keep moving, even when cold weather strikes.
Bottom line? Have a plan.
When the pandemic first hit, it seemed to come out of nowhere. You had little warning that life would be turned upside down, and no time to prepare for what that would look like.
But you can’t say that anymore. You know what might be coming your way this winter. And that means you have the opportunity to take control, do a little planning, and be ready.
Have a plan for your workouts, should you lose access to the gym or be forced to stay home this winter.
Gather the equipment, supplements, or programs that can help you stick with the fitness routine you’ve worked hard to establish.
Get in the habit of meal planning and prepping, so you don’t go down the rabbit hole of takeout and snacking that can derail your nutrition goals.
And give some thought to what you can be eating now to keep yourself healthy this winter.
Winter is coming — don’t get stuck out in the cold.
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