Navigating Winter Training: Staying Energized and Motivated Through Cold Seasons                   

Author Profile: Melissa Boufounos

Melissa Boufounosis a certified holistic nutritionist, nutrition writer, and lifelong athlete based in the greater Ottawa, Ontario, Canada area. Melissa specializes in sports nutrition and works with teen and adolescent hockey players in her virtual private practice MB Performance Nutrition. As a media nutritionist, she regularly writes for Mindbodygreen and has been featured as a nutrition expert in publications like Forbes Health, Outside Online, Shape, Clean Plates, and more. She was recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Health Experts by OptiMYz Magazine four years in a row. You can connect with Melissa on Instagram or Facebook

 

Love it or hate it, winter is here in the northern hemisphere. 

The plummeting temperatures can make it tempting to hibernate if you’re not a winter sports athlete, but staying active during the winter months is crucial for your overall health and fitness.

Here are some great ways to maintain your energy levels and stay motivated to keep up your endurance during the winter months.

1.   Be mindful of your energy intake

Exercising outdoors in colder weather can increase your body's energy expenditure as it works harder to maintain a stable internal temperature. Many endurance athletes make the mistake of lowering their calories too much during the winter months because it’s their off-season and they’ve lowered their mileage, not realizing how much food they should still be eating to make up for these cold weather considerations.

To prevent fatigue and maintain energy levels, make sure to continue fueling your body adequately with a balance of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and color. As a good rule of thumb, ⅓ of your plate should be minimally processed carbohydrates, ⅓ should be lean protein, and ⅓ should be vegetables or fruit. Use a healthy fat like olive oil or avocado to add flavor to your protein and vegetables.

Don’t be tempted to skip your pre- or mid-workout fuel with the reduced mileage, if you are training outdoors in the cold. Whether you're hitting the slopes, braving the cold for a run, or engaging in winter sports, Chargel is a portable solution that satisfies both hunger and thirst.

2.   Pay attention to vitamin D levels

During the winter, when sunlight exposure is reduced, it's crucial to pay attention to your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble micronutrient that is critical for human survival. It plays a role in nearly every pathway in the body, including supporting the immune system, improving cardiovascular health, controlling inflammation and supporting bone health.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, the beginning of fall is your annual reminder to start supplementing with vitamin D until spring. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your individual needs.

3.   Try something new

Staying motivated during the winter months can be tough, but implementing a few key strategies can make a difference. Change up your workout routine to prevent monotony and consider partnering with a workout buddy or joining in-person or virtual classes to provide additional accountability and social interaction.

Set realistic and achievable goals tailored to the winter season. Whether it's aiming for a certain number of workouts per week or conquering a specific winter sports challenge, having a clear objective can help keep the momentum going.

If you’re a runner and you’re not interested in slogging a ton of miles inside on a treadmill during the winter months, consider picking up winter activities like cross country skiing, skating, or snowshoeing as a fun way to flex your cardio muscles outdoors.

Just don’t forget to pack a convenient energy source like Chargel when you’re gearing up for a workout lasting an hour or more. With 180 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates in a resealable pouch, Chargel is a hassle-free option for on-the-go energy, ensuring you’re always prepared to conquer the challenges of winter workouts.