Nearly everyone with a gym membership knows what happens in the winter. As the cold, miserable weather starts to set in, it gets harder and harder to make it to the gym. Some people even make the conscious decision to avoid the gym in these already-trying months, raising the white flag to the almighty winter and a few extra kilos.
But you don’t have to—and you shouldn’t. Here’s why:
- “Hibernation Weight”— But More Than You Think: This is the first thing we think of when we decide to quit the gym for a few months. “Oh, I’ll put on a few kilos, but I’ll just work them off later”. We all know how that goes. A few kilos can turn into a few more—especially when you’re snowed in with a bag of chips.
Even elite athletes see a 12% body fat increase after just five weeks off of their normal training regimen. And the kicker—those athletes were still doing moderate exercise the whole time.
To top it off, any extra weight you gain can be a nagging source of frustration when it’s time to return to the gym. You may not want to return, knowing that you’re now further from your goal than before.
- The Power of Habit: How long was it until you started working out? Did you try to get into routine multiple times? It can take serious effort (and a little luck) to find and develop a workout routine that sticks. But once you do, it’s amazing how effortless a trip to the gym can seem.
Are you prepared to risk that all-important routine for a few months off? When your break is finally over, you could have some serious mental obstacles in your way. Your life may also become more complicated with a new job, relationship or even a new TV show. There’s countless reasons not to go to the gym, if you’re looking for them.
The only way to make sure that “future you” will go to the gym is to keep the routine alive today. Give future you the power of habit.
- Partial or Complete Loss of Progress: Long-time gym goers won’t lose all their progress during a few months rest, but anyone who’s new to the game actually could. Either way, your ability to take in oxygen during cardio-intensive exercise could plummet, leaving you frustrated and out of breath—wishing you had stuck it out in the first place. Exercise physiologist Stacy Sims goes further to say that just two weeks out of the gym could result in a 20% decrease in your muscle’s ability to take in oxygen.
- The Beach Bod Dilema: Let’s put the science-talk on the backburner for a moment and talk about the beach bod. Some gym-goers train for the summer months, where they can look good and show off their physique. Others might not make the beach bod their express goal, but hey—it couldn’t hurt to be in shape when the sun starts to shine, right?
That’s why taking a winter siesta is the worst plan imaginable. It’d be like leaving your master’s thesis to the last day before it’s due; you can try with all your might, but you just won’t have the time. Fitness is a long-term project, and the time to start is now. There’s just no way around it.
Not to mention — just 2 weeks of rest can significantly cut into your muscle gains and endurance. That means it’ll be harder to look your best on the beach and do your best in the gym.
- You Can Burn Fat While At Rest: We know that resting for too long can have a negative impact on your health, but did you know that you could be burning calories even while you’re at home, sitting on the couch and hiding from the cold?
If this sounds too much like a gimmicky infomercial, don’t worry—this is for real, but there’s a catch. To burn calories while at rest, you’ll have to stick to a strength-building workout plan. According to WebMD, 10 pounds of muscle burns 50 calories per day. That 50 calorie deficit can go a long way when supplemented with a workout plan and nutritious diet.
- The Community You Leave Behind: In recent years, a community has become more and more important to the average gym goer. We may not realize it, but the community is a big part of what keeps us coming back.
A great CrossFit gym will always be welcoming, but what will happen when you realize the community has changed pace? Your favourite class might have a new instructor, and the people may be new. Will you have the motivation to get back into it, knowing you may not see all the same friendly faces?
In an ideal world, you’d be able to get back on the horse no matter what. But we all know it’s never that easy. Get the best results and make life easy for “future you” by keeping your habits and your connection to the gym alive.