By: Katie Ouellette
After a long and very cold holiday season jumping back into a solid routine of strength and cardio building activities can seem like a very daunting task. You might feel like there is no way to be saved from the endless piles of delicious pastries you couldn’t help but enjoy over the last month but getting back on the train is all about how you approach it. There are several practices that I use to help make a successful transition back into the rhythm of an active lifestyle.
- Set a weekly and monthly tangible goal for yourself – breaking the winter into smaller pieces allows you to not see it as a roadblock but as separate smaller manageable pieces where you can work to complete smaller goals. An example might be, “This week I will do 100 weighted squats”. This not only sets a goal but also requires you to plan out when you’re going to complete it. “That means Tuesday and Friday will be my squat days!”
- Find a partner to work with or tell someone you trust to keep tabs on you – if you have a workout buddy who is depending on you to meet at the gym at 6 AM every Tuesday, you aren’t gonna leave them out in the cold! Get up and do the work and build your strength together! It will make it a whole lot easier. If you can’t find someone to go with you, tell someone. “Guess what!? I’m going to PR on my number of squats this week!” “WOAH Awesome!” Something as simple as that can pick up your energy and get you moving.
- Make a 3 month plan – now that you’ve planned the smaller pieces it’s good to also keep the big picture in mind. Not only what all your goals add up to but also what days of the week do you have time to do what and when? Make sure that the plan includes rest days! Rest does not mean you’re slacking off but letting your muscles repair themselves and regain energy for the work ahead. In my opinion the rest should always be treated with as much importance as the work. An example of a week plan might be,
- Sunday – Tank/erg
- Monday – Cardio/Crosstrain
- Tuesday – Yoga & Weights (Legs)
- Wednesday – Erg
- Thursday – Rest & Stretch
- Friday – Cardio & Weights Arms
- Saturday – Rest & Stretch
Include days to check in with yourself to see how your goals are coming along. Do a first week baseline, 3rd week check in, 6th week check in, 9 weeks and 12 weeks on whatever your goal may be. The idea is just to make progress towards your winter goal by completing weekly and monthly mini goals. Ex: I want to plank for 5 min before we get on the water. Do a baseline by holding a plank for as long as you can, record the time, then in 3 weeks do it again, keeping in mind that you will need to practice that skill as part of your weekly routine in order to make progress.
- Write it down! – I have been keeping a workout journal since high school. It’s great to have a record of what workouts you’ve done and see the time you’ve put in all in one place. You can include weight routines, erg workouts, cardio practices, really anything at all that you have done to work towards improving your fitness. Don’t confuse this with your Concept2 logbook, the endless pictures of erg monitors in your phone or your fitness tracker. What really was the workout you did? Does that picture make a record of how you forgot your headphones and water bottle but worked out anyway? Does your fitness tracker know that you had a breakthrough in technique you want to practice next time? Does it know that was the best weights circuit you’ve ever done? Just take a few minutes at the end of each workout to reflect on what you’ve done and keep track of it for the future stronger you who wants to remember the journey. Carry a workout journal in your gym bag and with you wherever you go. It’s your waterbottle’s new friend 🙂
Hopefully these tips will help you get back in the groove and on the path to success for yourself whatever that path may be. Be realistic with your goals, make sure they are quantifiable and share your progress with your team and friends because they are excited to help you. Now get your gym clothes on and let’s get going, March will be here before you know it!