Ah, winter is here and with it comes the wind, the snow, the cold – oh, the cold! It’s no wonder wintertime is the season of hibernation. It’s hard enough to muster up the motivation to walk to the bus stop once the mercury drops, never mind braving Calgary’s frigid temperatures for a much-needed workout. The lures of a comfy couch, cozy pajamas, mulled cider and a good book become all the more appealing.
Good news! We connected with YYC Cycle, a local fitness studio that’s spinning its way into University District in 2021, for some tips, tricks and stretches to help reclaim your motivation and keep the heat turned up on your workouts this season.
Founded in 2013, YYC Cycle got its start after three born-and-raised Albertans passionate about fitness decided to swap their footwear for cycle shoes. The owners saw an opportunity to create an innovative, dynamic form of group exercise that shakes up what indoor cycling can be, and born was YYC Cycle – a fitness and lifestyle studio run by locals for the locals.
Let’s dive in for some expert suggestions, a smoothie bowl recipe that will power you through your workouts, and to learn how to pump up your winter workouts with a burst of fresh energy.
Keeping your workout motivation during the winter is hard, but with these simple tips you can help beat your winter workout blues and get back to feeling great again.
Whenever you need some extra motivation, make your workout a social activity. Make dates with friends to go to exercise classes, join a sports team, connect with a personal trainer, or bring co-workers to a holiday team building sweat session. Finding a partner will help you stay accountable, will give you a reason to continue when you feel like giving up during those cold, dark winter days.
Suggestion: Looking for a workout buddy? Download the Playcity App and find a partner near you!
Do you have the workout “blahs”? Doing the same exercise routine, day by day, week by week can be mundane. Challenge yourself by having a workout “adventure” once a week! It will force you to be fully engaged with the activity, helping you bust out of that winter rut and get back into gear.
Mix things up by trying a new group exercise class or checking out a new running route. Instead of a leisurely bike ride on a reclined cycle, give spin a try. Never tried an interval workout? Now’s your chance! This holiday season try something new.
Suggestion: Getting family or friends together? Book a private spin or fitness class rather than a table at a restaurant.
An exciting workout should stimulate all your senses and your hearing is no exception. Having some fresh music to get you pumped and keep you going is key. Consider revamping your playlist and adding a new batch of up-tempo favourites to see how a fresh playlist can make a difference!
Suggestion: Spotify has a number of lively playlists to get you moving to the beat. Check out its Hype, Power Workout and EDM Workout playlists.
Whether you’re trying a spin class for the first time, taking your pooch for a wintry walk, shovelling your sidewalk (or a neighbours!) or even building a snowman with the kids or grandkids, now that its winter it’s even more important to remember to stretch. When it’s cold out, muscles tend to tighten, making them more prone to injury. Set aside a few minutes every morning or while watching your favourite TV show or holiday movie and use the following routine to get started!
Majority of us spend our day in a forward flexed position. Release that tension with a chest opener – it will feel like a sweet gift for your body!
The move: Sit up tall, elongating the spine. With a deep inhale, feel your torso expand. Bring your hands behind back to the base of your spine and interlace your fingers. Inhale and lift your shoulders towards your ears and release them back down as you exhale. Repeat 3-5 times or as needed.
After some sweaty fun on the spin bike or a day of cleaning and chasing after young kids, bringing some length into the side of your body will leave you feeling energized.
The move: Anchor your bum on your mat, chair or saddle if you have a bike at home. Inhale deeply to create length. On the exhale reach up with your right arm over towards the opposite side, creating a crescent moon shape with your side-body. Keep your shoulders relaxed and allow this stretch to be felt through the hip and the obliques. Repeat on the other side.
Photo Credit: Yoga Insider
If you run, cycle, or sit all day at work, you might have tight hips. Relieve tension and strengthen your hip muscles with this simple yet effective stretch. Remember, do not force yourself into a position that is painful or affects your breathing.
The move: Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides. The closer your hips are to your heels, the deeper the stretch will feel. Place your hands on your feet and gently press down on your thighs with your forearms to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.
Brightly coloured fruits and fiber-rich seeds combine to make a Superpower Seed Berry smoothie bowl recipe that’s basically edible art – and it’s as tasty as it is beautiful! Jam-packed with nutrient dense foods, this smoothie bowl will keep you satisfied for hours, giving you the energy you need to power through your day and your toughest workouts.
Create your own “work of art” by adding toppings you love! From granola and mixed nuts to dried fruit, coconut shavings, nut butter, chocolate chips, fresh fruit and more. However you choose to dress your smoothie bowl, dream big because the options are endless. Let’s get blending!
Step 1: Blend your smoothie
Using a high-powered blender, blend the frozen banana, berries, chia seeds, and enough water to cover the ingredients.
Tip: For a creamier taste use non-dairy milk instead of water.
Step 2: Add your toppings
Pour your smoothie mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle your remaining ingredients – blueberries, granola, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds – on top and enjoy!
Making simple changes to your fitness routine can make all of the difference this winter season. We hope these simple tips and stretches help you work towards a stronger and happier you!
Do you have a tip that works to get fit or stay motivated? Or a nutritious and oh-so-satisfying smoothie bowl recipe that you swear by? Or a question for the wellness experts at YYC Cycle? Let us know! Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and a closer look at the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.