I don’t believe in a winter bod. I understand the idea of human hibernation. It is the perfect time to just bundle up and not do anything in the comfort and warmth of your own home—but for me, the perfect time to get a workout in is when no one else wants to do anything.
If you have ever lived in New York City, you know it really comes alive once the snow melts away and the flock of Canada Goose down coats fly far, far away to the backs of people’s closets. Rooftop bar hopping and oyster happy hours fill people’s social calendar, and I find myself skipping workouts to make the obligatory brunch or drink-after-work hangout. Should I just work out in the morning so it doesn’t get in the way of my social life? Let me tell you it is really painful to work out after a night of drinking or heavy eating.
“It ranges from slightly uncomfortable to the walls of hell crumbing on top of you while the god of pain is punching you in the temple with remorse,” says Rob Sulaver, founding trainer of Rumble Boxing and founder of Bandana Training.
When I asked Sulaver if he notices clients working out more in the winter over the summer, he says that gym and fitness studio workouts become the most consistent option during the colder months since we can’t do outdoor activities.
“Winter can be tough, and seasonal depression is real. Since our bodies crave movement and we have a tendency to move less in the winter, being diligent about our workouts is a really good idea,” he says.
Let’s not forget that working out is also everyone’s favorite New Year’s resolution. He sees the first two weeks after New Year’s are the time of year when people work out the most.
In an interview with Shape, Jessica Matthews, an assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego and senior adviser for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise, explains that the body needs more energy to cool down when you work out in higher temperatures. “Overall, given that exercise itself raises the body’s temperature, the reality is that in hotter temperatures the body needs to expend additional energy beyond the demands of working muscles in order to thermoregulate, or keep the body’s temperatures from rising too greatly,” she tells the site.
Also contrary to popular belief, eating healthier during the winter is so much easier for me than over the summer. While I agree with the studies that show we tend to eat less when it’s hot, all I do is eat out. Getting healthy options off a menu can be tricky; even the healthiest options aren’t that great for you.
When it’s cold, I notice the number of texts I get to go grab dinner decline. So I shop for groceries more, which means I can make healthier meals for myself than succumbing to the fried goodness at these happy hours.
Maybe my social obligations mean too much to me and I need to learn to manage my time between going out and making it to my fitness classes. But it’s a lot easier to fit in a workout when I have plenty of time to.
Tell us: Do you like to work out in the winter? Or do you keep that strictly for the summer?