Okay folks. Today is the last day of January. Show of hands: how many of you tried the 31 Day Ab Challenge? How many of you tried to get back to exercising this month only to find your heels covered in blisters (from the friction of long-neglected running shoes)? How many of you can feel your motivation to get fit in 2015 starting to wane?
There are solutions.
The February 28 Day Squat Challenge
If you did not get on board for the 31 Day Ab Challenge, then you can always commit yourself to doing the February 28 Day Squat Challenge. It is pretty simple: do 5 squats on February 1st, 10 squats on February 2nd, etc. Once you get into the 30+ squats a day range, I recommend splitting them into segments where you do up to 30 at a time, several times a day. If you try to do them all at once (especially by the third and fourth week), then you risk injuring yourself.
If at any time you feel pain (not just mild muscle soreness, but actual pain), then you should stop. If you have been inactive for a long time and are out of shape, then this challenge might prove to be a little too much to bite off right away. Try sticking to the maximum number of squats that feel good: if 45 squats on day 9 is the most you think your body can handle, then there is no shame with sticking to that number for a few days (or even for the rest of the month). Every little bit will help.
February 1st -5, 2nd – 10, 3rd – 15, 4th – 20, 5th – 25, 6th – 30, 7th – 35
February 8th – 40, 9th – 45, 10th – 50, 11th – 55, 12th – 60, 13th – 65, 14th – 70
February 15th – 75, 16th – 80, 17th – 85 18th – 90, 19th – 95, 20th – 100, 21st – 105
February 22nd – 110, 23rd – 115, 24th – 120, 25th – 125, 26th – 130, 27th – 135, 28th – 140
Blisters are a fact of life if you work out (especially if you haven’t worked out in a while and your skin has gotten soft). Once you develop some good calluses, you won’t have to worry about them as much. For now, read the article from May 5th entitled How To Heal Blisters Fast. The most important things you can do are a) soak your feet b) let the blister get air when you can keep it clean and c) cover it with polysporin and a strong band aid (one that won’t come off or move around) when you wear shoes. Doing cardio every second day after you get a blister can give it time to heal. Concentrate on your toning exercises for your core/legs/arms/shoulders/bum on the alternating days.
This is the hardest one, especially when you live in Toronto (or other Northern countries) where the winters are brutally cold. Finding an outdoor activity that you enjoy doing (like skating, skiing, or snowboarding) or doing something productive like volunteering to clear the driveway of an elderly neighbour every time it snows, can keep you active in the winter, but there are also a ton of exercises that you can do in the warmth of your own living room. I recommend browsing a few workout videos on the web or borrowing full dvds from your friends. Creating a new workout playlist for your iPod every month (or every two weeks) can also help you keep your energy up. Devoting one calendar to your workouts can also allow you to see your progress (circle or put a checkmark for each day that you work out).
What else do you do to stay motivated to exercise during the winter?