– House Stark.
Like the White Walkers of the old stories our Gran used to tell us, winter is descending upon us and we must prepare! This endless onslaught of vicious attacks on our brains and our bellies will leave us ripe for slaughter if we’re not careful:
-Cold weather that encourages us to sleep in, avoid the elements, and say “maybe tomorrow.”
-A sun that rises too late and sets too soon means we often go days without seeing the damn thing. (Personally I consider this the absolute WORST)
-Cookies and candies bombarded us from every direction.
-Oh, and a fucking global pandemic that has left us isolated and alone…
These challenges and so many more are just begging us to go off the rails. And a built-in excuse we call January 1st where we promise to “start over” helps us rationalize our “pausing” until then. Black Friday has come and gone. Cyber Monday is now in the rearview. Thanksgiving is now a distant memory and yet…the challenges are just getting started.
Luckily, KOLPIN TRAINING has 7 little “hacks” to survive these trying times.
If you want, you can try them too!
Here’s what we’ll cover with our guide on surviving the winter:
- Winter Hack #1: Don’t Run in the Wrong Direction
- Winter Hack #2: Never Two in a Row
- Winter Hack #3: Consider Skipping a Meal
- Winter Hack #4: Strength Train Before Big Meals
- Winter Hack #5: Don’t Rely on Motivation
- Winter Hack #6: Have a Plan B
- Winter Hack #7: It All Counts
Alright, let’s get right into them.
Winter Hack #1: Don’t run in the wrong direction
We need you back in the fight, right now!
We all see January 1st as the “reset,” and there’s nothing wrong with a reset to start out the year. The problem is that we tend to compound our issues by digging ourselves deeper into a hole that we eventually need to climb out of!
Think of it like you’re on the starting line of a race for a healthy life that starts Jan 1st. You have two options:
- A) Hang around the starting line:Hang out and wait for the gun to fire. Then start running.
- B) Run in the opposite direction.Run farther away from the starting line, so when the gun goes off you have even FARTHER to run in the race.
So, Step 1 is not running in the opposite direction. This means you can’t skip all your workouts and eat like crap and give up till January. This is you going the wrong way, and will make the task of “starting over” on January 1st that much more brutal. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Instead, do what you can to “tread water” and hang out around the starting line and If you CAN, stay on target. One bad meal doesn’t ruin things. One missed workout isn’t the end of the world. If you have an awful day, reset yourself and get back in the fight. Immediately.
So forget B, Let’s aim for A.
Winter Hack #2: Never Two in a Row
You’re human, life happens.
What SHOULD NOT HAPPEN is missing two consecutive days, or eating TWO bad meals back to back, or having TWO bad days in a row. (You get where I’m going here, right?)
Why? Well, one bad day can feel like a speed bump if you’re trying to get healthy. Get back on track right away and there’s no problem.
However, missing two days in a row is like turning that tiny speed bump into the kind of hole in the road that flattens your tire, blows off your axle and leaves you hitchhiking to the nearest gas station holding in a pee.
If you miss one day in a row, no problem! Just act like it didn’t happen and get back on track. Once you miss two days in a row, you’re now exponentially more likely to let it turn into 3 then 4 and so on, thus creating a sequence of negative events that are likely to put you right back where you started…or worse, and that’s running in the wrong direction.
So the aim should be to never let that happen. If you miss a workout on Monday, go on Tuesday and get right back on track. If you eat pie for lunch-because it ain’t gonna eat itself, make yourself a healthy dinner and balance it out. Do that, and you’ll be fine.
So whenever you have a bad day or do something against your plan, I need you to hit restart right away and make your actions after it as positive as possible to weigh out the shit.
Winter Hack #3: Consider Skipping a Meal
Spoiler alert: you’re going to eat lots of decadent food this upcoming month.
Duh that’s what happens during the holidays and I’m betting this pandemic doesn’t put the brakes on that (not fully at least)
I know it. You know it. So we can do one of two things.
- We can pretend like it’s not going to happen, and then be surprised and beat ourselves up when we put ourselves in a carb coma and go on a calorie-induced bender.
- Or we can be smart about it and negate the impact these days have on our waistlines. Better yet, we can make these additional calories work FOR us.
For starters, our metabolisms aren’t that smart. Your weight will fluctuate based on total calories consumed over many many days, not after ONE power-bomb of a meal. Seriously, weight gained and lost is accumulated. I’ll go over that in more detail in a future KOLPIN blog.
So, if you know you are going to eat a monster lunch and dinner (I see you, Christmas), eat a stupidly light breakfast, and a light breakfast tomorrow – the calories will average out in the long run. Sounds like bad math but trust me, this stuff actually works, life’s always circling back to balance. (Like the force. Honestly, wtf is with naming baby Yoda anything other than baby Yoda….sigh…getting off track..lol)
Winter Hack #4: Strength Train Before Big Meals
This should come as a no-brainer. Food is fuel, fuel is required for good lifts.
They need to be sorted into one of three houses (“Burn as Energy,” Store as Fat,” or “Rebuild Muscle.”) The extra calories you eat over the holidays always go towards “store as fat” unless you give them a really good reason to head to the “build muscle” common room. Politely asking them won’t help, much like when you ask a drunk dough bag to leave the club but he’s still scamming on some poor girl who’s told him no in enough languages to qualify for a U.N. delegate seat…you’ve got to give him a reason lol. (“Hey man you remember that hot girl in the red top? She’s outside asking about you)
That wonderful reason in this case is STRENGTH TRAINING.
When you strength train before a big meal, the muscles you trained are broken down and need to be rebuilt. So, over the next 48+ hours many of those extra calories will be diverted to rebuilding (stronger) muscles instead of becoming fat.
Try a heavy strength training workouts just a few hours before a holiday meal, then proceed to eat with everybody else. While they all lament “I’m so full, I ate too much” you’ll know your calories are being used to rebuild muscle. So internally, you can start doing an evil villain laugh… just understand that overdoing it is a very real concept and eating like a complete pig will still mean some of those calories get diverted to fat. Sorry to burst your bubble, but be smart here, free passes won’t get us anywhere positive.
Winter Hack #5: Don’t rely on motivation
Here’s another spoiler for you: you are NOT going to want to work out this month. It’s going to be dark and cold, and your nose is going to run, kids will be complaining or sick themselves, Zoom meetings are going to go on unending, you’re going to be hungover, and so on.
The amount of motivation you’ll need to get over these obstacles is gargantuan. So don’t force yourself to try and “dig deep” and just “work harder” and feel guilty when you’re “not motivated.”
Instead, do whatever you can to never, ever rely on self-motivation alone. Your body won’t say, “That’s okay, I’ll stay in shape because I feel bad for you.” There are 31 days in December just like there are 31 days in August.
Which means you need to stay on track even though it’s much easier to do in the summer. So instead of motivation, build fail-safes to make sure you are staying healthy. Schedule your workouts in your calendar and set up alerts so you are reminded. Recruit a buddy so you can check-in on each other.
Or go with one of these more diabolical examples:
Take a really embarrassing photo of yourself, or type up a tweet with an embarrassing secret. Schedule it to post at 6:15 (or whatever time is early for you) every morning before you go to bed. Put your phone in the other room. If you don’t wake up on time, and run in the other room and cancel that tweet, it goes out! Better just get out of bed and train before work.
Give your co-worker $250. Tell him/her that you will work out 3 days per week, and text him a photo of your workout. If he/she does not receive that photo, they’ll donate $50 of your money to a political cause you can’t stand.
Set your credit card alerts to email you and your wife/husband every time it’s used. Agree ahead of time you’ll never use that card to buy fast food or else you’ll have to be on diaper duty for the next 3 months straight (or something that fits your situation).
In each of the instances above, you’re going to do exactly two things:
- Get really mad at yourself. Probably curse a lot. Swear vengeance on your past self.
- Do the damn thing you know you need to do while also being mad at yourself.
Now, motivation doesn’t hurt. It’s just not reliable. So if you are in need of some temporary motivation to get started, try watching some of my YOUTUBE videos. I’ll be posting every week and some will be straight up gym motivation or watching my stories on Instagram (@Kylekolpin) as I usually have some pretty sweet vids dropping there too.
Winter Hack #6: Have a Plan B
“Too cold today! Can’t go to the gym and do my workout, DAMN! Looks like I’ll just have to sit here and eat ice cream.”
“Ran out of groceries, and it’s snowing. I guess I’ll just have to order pizza.”
Those are some rather terrible excuses right there.
The problem with winter is that it makes the unhealthy option always the easiest. We’re lazy, and I have to imagine we’re a bit like bears in that we want to hibernate and store fat when it gets cold out.
We have this tiny voice in our head subtly nudging us to pick the path of least resistance: aka pizza and skipped workouts. We can’t let that voice win. Then, the White Walkers win. And we’re all screwed. So, instead, we’re going to MacGuyver the sh** outta our winter by having a Plan B prepared.
A Workout PLAN B: Have a place in your house or apartment that you can go to and do some static stretching, a workout from Kolpin Training or some yoga. It might not be as great as a gym, but it’s still a workout. It might mean investing in a door frame pull-up bar or a yoga mat, but a small investment for maintaining momentum through the winter is worth any amount of money.
A Nutritional PLAN B: Have a healthy meal in your freezer that has already been prepared and ready to be heated up. We make horrible decisions when the fridge is empty and we’re hungry. The Sirens of Dominos and Pizza Hut beckon us to call them for a 30-minute delivery.
So use your own laziness to help!
Here are some things to consider:
- Have a meal in your freezer that’s all ready to go.
- Store steam fresh veggies for emergencies.
- If you use delivery apps for crap food, delete them from your phone.
Do what you need to do to make it more difficult to make the wrong choice.
Winter Hack #7: It All Counts
So you can only train for 15 minutes today instead of 20.
So you have time to do a few yoga poses instead of working out for an hour.
So your ONLY option at the holiday party (if it’s even going on) is pizza and you didn’t have a great breakfast.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOUR WINTER IS RUINED. 80% IS STILL 80% BETTER THAN ZERO
Every little bit counts. Every small change matters. Swap ONE beer for ONE glass of water, and it’s a victory that will translate to your waistline. Do 5 push-ups and stretch as soon as you get out of bed, and it’s a victory. (The morning stretch also provides many other positives but again that’s for another blog post)
Winter is a problem not because people make one bad mistake, but because one bad mistake quickly sets off a chain reaction of disasters justified by the fact that folks can’t do something 100%. So they opt for 0%.
If you don’t have time for a full workout, do half a workout! If you have to eat from a drive-through, no problem. Drinking water or a Diet Coke and grab some fruit as your side.
Together we can Brave the Winter
There you have it.
While you don’t have to follow all 7 hacks this winter, even just adopting one or two might help you build some momentum between now and the New Year.
And as always, if you need any additional help, I’m here for you.
What kind of help?
Well, you could consider:
#1) Kolpin Training’s Lifestyle Coaching: a coaching program for busy people to help them make better food choices, stay accountable, and get healthier, permanently.
#2) Kolpin Training’s Individualized Exercise Programs
#3) Kolpin Training Nutrition Plans
Now, let’s hear from you:
-What do you do when the going gets tough, when the temperature drops, and life gets busy as hell?
-How do you fight back?
-What are your favorite specific tricks or systems you use to stay on track?
Leave your comment below.
Train Hard & Be Your Best