We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
There are lots (and I mean, lots) of reasons why my motivation to work out during the Winter plummets — from the snowy commute to freezing cold winds to the cold, dry air that hits my chest with such force that it becomes hard to breathe. (Ahem, there's a reason I sign up for races that are after September — this born-and-raised Floridian prefers to train outdoors during the Summer.)
But it is possible to sculpt, strengthen, and sweat (majorly sweat) without having to be freezing cold during the winter. So when the weather outside is frightful, head indoors for these top full-body workouts that will help ward off Winter weight:
Indoor cycling: Ruth Zukerman, cofounder of NYC's FlyWheel cycling studio, is heating things up indoors with her 45-minute, heart-racing classes. (Self favorite Jillian Michaels is even a recent investor in the company). "I wanted to be part of the most innovative and effective indoor cycling program, and that is FlyWheel. I am thrilled to join the FlyWheel team," Michaels said in a press release. What makes cycling such an effective alternative is that it's taking the fun full-body workout people love indoors, and instead of scenery, you'll stay motivated to challenge yourself thanks to encouraging instructors and a killer playlist. Flywheel has an awesome on-bike technology board that lets you compete against other riders in the class. Plus if you're looking to shape up before hitting the slopes, "indoor cycling is great preparation for all Winter sports, especially skiing and snowboarding. I know from personal experience that when I hit the slopes I don't tire out easily or suffer from the kind of après-ski muscle pain that most people do, and it's because of indoor cycling," Zukerman says.
Try this move: If you're riding an exercise bike at home or the gym, try some interval training. One thing we often do at Flywheel is a "Sprint Chorus," meaning we increase our RPMs to a sprint during the song's chorus and then revert to a cadence on the beat of the music as the chorus ends.
More best indoor workouts after the break.
Pilates: Jeannine Bergmann, owner of Pilates One in Miami, has helped everyone from NBA players to Michelle Pfeiffer and Catherine Zeta-Jones stay long and lean year-round. Pilates gets the indoor-workout stamp of approval because "the full-body workout and elevated heart rate [Pilates delivers] helps tone and shape your body, while lengthening and strengthening your muscles," Bergmann says. Instead of hibernating during the chilly weather, take this time to realign and strengthen your body. "Pilates works to balance the body and develop muscular symmetry; it helps you release overworked tight muscles and strengthen the weaker ones, helping to prevent injuries. Pilates exercises also require a greater range of joint motion, and a greater range of joint motion assists in increasing your flexibility," Bergmann says.
Try this move: Tone your abs and strengthen your back with plank position.
- Begin with your body in a push-up position. Your hands should be right underneath your shoulders and you are on the balls of the feet, holding your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your toes and pulling your core in toward your spine and squeezing your gluts down toward the floor.
- Hold for 10 to 20 seconds in the position, do three reps.
Barre: If only we could emerge from Winter's chilly weather and look like a ballerina by bikini season. Cindy Sites, a former dancer and Lotte Berk-trained instructor, opened the first Go Figure Studio in Greenwich, CT. I was able to try the Figure Method when Sites stopped by New York late last year. The class is a hybrid of all the moves that you love to hate (but totally work) including ballet, yoga, Pilates, and traditional isometrics exercises, all incorporating philosophies from physical therapy and Lotte Berk to deliver long, strong muscles. "During the workout, muscle groups are contracted to the point of fatigue through mindful and sustained movement and then deeply stretched to create healthy, strong, and beautiful bodies," Sites says. "While some outdoor activities can be intense, a barre class can be equally, if not more, challenging than many traditional outdoor activities. With the Figure Method, you are building strength, stamina, a strong core, and lean muscle. This will serve you well when the Spring thaw arrives!"
Try this move: Sculpt lean legs with the ballet second position/plié variation.
- Squat, knees facing out, facing your barre (or kitchen table!) or point of balance. Lift your heels (ballet term: relevé) and adjust your position until you feel that your leg muscles are fully engaged.
- Hold the position for 60 seconds or lift yourself up one inch, down one inch, never moving your seat below your knees. Repeat 20 times.
- Break for a moment and repeat.