Winter Workout Guide

Much to the dismay of many people in the northern half of the country, winter is approaching. The summer heat is fading and it may be time to start thinking about how you will work out when the temperature drops. Many fitness enthusiasts turn to treadmills and stationary bikes during the winter months but there are a number of studies that prove heading into the frozen tundra could be good for your fitness. Lets dive into what proper clothing, and activity can help keep you in shape, and in good spirits during the dark days of winter.winter_workout_motivation

What to Wear

With it being cold outside, many will bundle up when gearing up for a workout. The best practice to ensure you do not overheat is to layer your clothing. This way you can peel off the clothing as your body heats up through exercise. For a base-layer, it is best to wear sweat wicking material in order to pull moisture away from your body. The next layer up should serve as insulation, wool or fleece material is often used for this. Outer layers are typically shell-type materials that break the wind and water that may be trying to get give you a chill.

Be sure to wear protection for your extremities as well. Gloves, ear, neck and face warmers may be appropriate if temperatures drop low. Your body will automatically heat your core to the correct temperature in the cold for survival but you need to be the judge for how to keep your exposed extremities warm.

Health Risks

Be aware of overexertion in the cold weather. It is easy for active people to overlook the extra stress that cold weather conditions can put on the body like snow, sleet, slush, etc. Be aware of your energy output to avoid exhaustion.

Every year, some individuals will fall victim to a heart condition from shoveling snow in their driveway. Strenuous activity in cold weather can place a lot of stress on your heart which increases a person’s risk of a heart attack.

Beware of the cold touch of frost bite. Harping on a point covered above, keep your extremities warm to avoid this happening to you. Any exposed skin can freeze in a half hour if if the temperature falls below 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

To read the full winter workout exercise and safety list, be sure to tune into


Efficient Living

Holistic health is something that takes a balance of many aspects. We know that mental health is just as important as physical health and both of these disciplines take time to cultivate effectively. By learning to live efficiently we can save time in tedium and apply it to the more important things in life. In order to save time, let’s spend time recognizing our biggest usage of this precious resource.

Take about 9 minutes to write down in a journal what you may do in an average day skipping lines while you list them. After you have done this, estimate the time it takes to perform each task, eg. brushing your teeth, eating, commuting. Test your estimations the next day by loosely timing yourself through each activity using a tool call RescueTime.

After this exercise, look back at your list and correct any mis-estimations. Now try to find a part of your day that can be cut from the normal grind. Is there a significant amount of time that is going to something that is not making you a better person in any way? If so, cut it from your routine.

Only through axing the wastes in our day can we live a truly efficient life.

In the flow

It is safe to say that nearly everyone has experienced days where time seems to fly. You sit down at your desk and become so immersed in work that when you look up it is already time to go. These are the best kinds of days when it comes to a “work flow”. That means that you are so in depth to the present, that everything else fades away. Below are some tips that can help increase the efficiency of your life through proper “work flow”.

When you are on the go, listen to audio books to enrich your brain and keep your eyes on the road or sidewalk. Use Audible, or download podcasts to keep your brain stimulated.

Failing to Plan means Planning to Fail

Have a plan to structure your day so there is no time wasted wondering what to do next.

A tool to use for structuring your day is a to-do list by way of Wunderlist, Asana, OneNote, Evernote and Remember the Milk.

Reading essentials for life efficiency include The 4- Hour Workweek, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

If your freetime is not filled with podcasts, reading or audiobooks, use it to check in with old friends or family members. It is always nice to hear from a familiar person and shows your thoughtfulness.

All in all, try to fill the gaps in your day with meaningful tasks or activities. It will help you live a much more efficient life!

Swim Fitness

Swimming can help a person’s personal fitness level in a number of ways, while being available to those of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. This total body, cardiovascular workout helps improve heart rate and blood flow while keeping body fat off, but this is not the only benefit one’s body will enjoy from the activity. Peripheral motions, along with the low impact nature of the workout offers many benefits, see the list below for a deeper insight.images-1

Adding Muscle Tone

Swimming through water provides 12 times more resistance than the earth’s atmosphere, offering a more challenging cardiovascular activity. The fluid and constant resistance of the water can be mimicked in such exercises as using resistance bands of or machines, without the equalizing motion of raising and lowering repetitions.

Controlled Respiratory Action

It is impossible to breath while underwater, which forces swimmers to regulate their air intake on a less frequent basis than they usually would outside of water. With that high volume of moisture surrounding swimmers, the air they are breathing is much easier to inhale compared to the dry alternative at the gym. Swimming has been known to help improve asthma symptoms in patients up to a year after they stop swimming.

Low Impact

The human body is naturally buoyant in water, which makes for a very low impact exercise. The constant resistance is the main point of contact, which is spread across a swimmers entire body. Should the pool be heated, this will further loosen joints and benefit swimmers in the water.


The motions of different swimming strokes offer a wider range of motion for body parts that cannot be mimicked in a gym. Refining these strokes offer better flexibility across one’s entire body. As Swimmer’s skills improve, their reach for each stroke will elongate, furthering their flexibility which improves posture and overall health.

Endorphin Boosts

Tranquility in exercise is something athletes look for during long range cardio. Running on a track in circles can sometimes stress athletes out and become boring. Studies have shown that swimming can produce endorphins similar to the relaxation poses in yoga.

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Fitizen’s Spring Strip 2015

Fitizen’s Spring Strip 2015 was a huge success and a great workout for an even greater cause. Spring Strip was a 5k fitness run that took place in Bluemont Park in Arlington, VA. Prepped with fitness stations along its 5k route, runners enjoyed intense workouts while doing their part to help their community. During the 5k run, participants also dropped off articles of clothing at clothing drop stations around the course. The collected clothes were then to be donated to the Salvation Army.

While a 5k run may seem like a short distance from the perspective of experienced runners, they too must admit that there is certainly a “trick” to mastering the 5k. To perform well in a 5k, which can last around 30 minutes, there are two components worth paying attention to. The first is your speed endurance, which is your ability to run at a certain pace, and hold it, throughout the course of the race or most of it. The second is your aerobic capabilities. As many runners know, oxygen is critical when it comes to running fast.

On top of those two components for a successful 5k, consider that the runners for Fitizen’s Spring Strip also had workout stations set up between the starting and finish lines. This was certainly an intense 5k.


How could a runner be better prepared for a 5k run like the Spring Strip? Here are four important tips for your next or first 5k:

1. Incorporate speed training into your current routine

If you want to run a 5k faster, you have to train running faster. Start off with short sprints, as sprinting can be very hard on the body.

2. Tackle some short uphill runs

Hills require both speed and endurance. Adding this to your routine will help you with the endurance component of a successful 5k run as well.

3. Strength Training

Getting fast is important and strengthening your muscles helps. Squats, lunges, bent over rows, and calf raises are great at strengthening the muscles that you will need to run faster. It’s not all about speed training.

4. Learn the route

Being familiar with the route will boost your confidence, and if possible allow you to practice running it before the big run.

Mental Strength in Physical Fitness

Patrick Moran Mental Fitness

Whether you are training for the next triathlon,  a new 1 rep max on bench press, or just trying to cut a few pounds, the key to achieving long lasting success is mental toughness. Some find a momentary boost in energy, fueled by excitement, is enough to begin a new regimen, but how long does this really last?

Soon after the initial high fades, when you’re forced to wake up early the first time or sacrifice a night out with friends, you find yourself back where you started.

Here, mental toughness shines, and we are given the opportunity to embrace the grind. Rarely is there a concrete checkpoint or destination. Rather, it’s the process, a mindset, and a belief in self that continuously re-develops and reinforces the power to keep going.

Imagine yourself struggling to accept defeat in a race for which you’ve put in tiresome hours of workouts and training.

Does losing make you feel worse? Or does it change your perspective and refocus your efforts for the future.  Herein lies the difference between mental fitness and the untrained, weak mindset.

Mental fitness is so crucial to fostering physical fitness. Just as a healthy pulse returns to its resting rate after some time, a positive mindset stays positive when dealing with negativity or defeat. It’s what allows one to bounce back, stand up, and keep fighting.

The resilience derived from being mentally fit says more about the one’s perspective than anything else. It’s what enables us to visualize the end goal when no one else can. Sure, it’s unavoidable that distractions will arise that pull us away from our goals, but mental fitness, built upon resilience, commitment and focus, keeps us on track.  It keeps us focused on the task at hand, and filters out the negative and irrelevant thoughts that push us farther away from our goals.

Carrie Cheadle, Mental Skills Coach and author of On Top of Your Game – Mental Skills To Maximize Your Athletic Performance says “When you are mentally tough it means you can delay immediate gratification and make decisions in the moment that are in service to your ultimate goal.” Similarly, focus keeps us aware of the things we can control, and lets us be absolved of all that we cannot control. Through this freedom we can continue to hone our mental fitness.