There’s a chill in the air, Halloween shops are popping up all over town, and all you want to do is snuggle in to watch autumn shows and count a haunted corn maze as your cardio. As tempting as it is to put your workouts on hold and worry about shaping up next summer, autumn is actually one of the best seasons to kickstart or re-start an exercise regimen.
Workouts are naturally built around the seasons, although gyms give you the opportunity to stick with certain workouts regardless of the weather. However, if you want to tune in to your body’s and environment’s seasonal whims, here are a few ways to revitalize your workouts:
- Keep spinning but slow down your RPMs. If you have a good spin instructor, they will be telling you to do this already. However, if you spin solo, it’s the season to keep your RPMs between 90 and 100. This mimics how you’d cycle outside. You can increase resistance a bit to ensure you’re still getting the same quality workout, but your body will respond to this change very well.
- Adopt cutting season. Everyone should strength train, and free weights as well as fixed machines, are one of the most common ways to do so. However, many professional bodybuilders are going into “gains mode.” If that’s not for you (and it likely isn’t unless you’re very serious about the sport), try out traditional methods for “cutting.” This means shredding fat while doing your best to maintain muscle. This is done with moderate weights, high reps (around 15 with two or three sets), and a high protein diet. It will counteract your natural tendency to put on a little extra winter padding, and if cutting is new to you there’s plenty of research and guidance available.
- Take advantage of urban hiking and outdoor walks. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to enjoy the great outdoors for much longer. A brisk walk outdoors is a great form of exercise and will let you get a peek at the fall colors and Halloween or autumnal decorations in your neighborhood. The cooler weather will also encourage you to walk faster in order to increase heart rate and temperature. If you need a little extra motivation, joining a walking group or creating your own with friends can help keep you accountable.
- Try out a winter sport. From skiing to snowboarding or snowshoeing, there’s a winter sport for everyone—even if you don’t think you’re the ski lodge type. It takes some commitment to make this happen, from figuring out how to get to the mountain to gear rental. However, options like snowshoeing or even snow tubing put a lot of demands on the body. Try out a few options and see what clicks. Deal sites often feature winter sports activities for a steal.
- Adopt a warm water routine. Starting your day with a mug of warm water and freshly squeezed lemon resonates with the season and also kickstarts your appetite. As a bonus, it’s also fantastic for oral hygiene. Don’t eat or drink anything after your lemon water for at least 30 minutes. It’s ayurvedic in nature, but also very helpful for those who undergo detoxification and are looking for healthy routines to adopt.
- Commit to working out at home. If you don’t already know, you’ll find out quickly if you’re a work out at home type. Just remember that you don’t have to do it all at home. For instance, you can pick up some free weights or resistance bands and do your strength training at home while sticking to cardio at the gym. Strength training at home is great because it lets you have more variety for that all-important protein you need to consume immediately after strength training (at least 20 grams). You can also stream free yoga classes on your television so you’re not a slave to the studio schedule. See what works for you (trying it out is often low-cost or free) and you don’t even have to leave the house to get your workout on.
As tempting as it is, avoid the call to just chill out for the next few months. There are going to be plenty of parties and vacations around the corner that will counteract your workout efforts, but it’s all about balance. Bring healthy additions to those winter potlucks and when you travel make sure you have options for working out, like making sure you’re near a gym where you have a membership or that the hotel has an on-site facility.
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