12 Winter-friendly workouts that personal trainers swear by
You gonna let something like a little blizzard keep you from your workout? Nah, girl.
Wintry weather can make the most dedicated exerciser want to skip the gym and curl up with hot cocoa and Netflix. But there's no need to miss your sweat-fest just because the weather isn't cooperating. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and a plan and you'll be feeling those endorphins in no time.
The first thing you need to do is make a bad-weather workout plan so you can't use the "I can't think of anything to do" excuse. For instance, my go-to last-minute exercise is to make a playlist of Zumba or other dance-inspired exercise videos on YouTube (you'd be amazed at how many there are!) and then go to town in my living room. I get to learn some new moves and I still get my workout in.
To help you craft your own exercise plan, I asked the pros themselves. Here, 12 personal trainers share their favorite bad weather-busting workout.
1. 7-Minute Burpee Challenge
There's a reason that burpees are a trainer favorite, says Elizabeth Johnson, a CrossFit trainer in Minnesota. It's because they work every muscle in your body from your shoulders to your core to your legs and they get your heart rate up. All you need to do is find a patch of carpet and set a timer for seven minutes. Do as many burpees as you can during that time. You can even make it a competition with friends or against your previous best record.
2. The Functional Four
Functional exercises do more than just build your muscles, they also train your body to work more efficiently during the types of movements we all do every day. The basic four movement include squats, lunges, push-ups and pull-ups. That's why this quickie workout is the go-to for Tamara Grand, PhD, a personal trainer and author of Fit Knit Chick. You can pick any exercise you like in each category or rotate sets of each in your living room. Make sure you have proper equipment for the latter or try these creative at-home pull-up methods.
3. HIIT workouts
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and all it means is you're skyrocketing your heart rate for short periods of time, followed by a rest. You can make a HIIT workout from almost any cardio exercise and you can do it inside or outside on a safely shoveled path where you can't slip (if you dare brave the cold). It's this versatility that Suzi Fevens, a personal trainer and and blogger at Confessions of a Fitness Instructor, loves so much. Want to try it? Sprint as hard as you can for 30 seconds on a treadmill or outdoors and then walk for one minute. Repeat.
4. Mini Circuits
All it takes to create a mini circuit is a little imagination. Pick between three and 10 of your favorite exercises and do them one after another, not resting until you've finished the whole circuit. Elana Baldwin, a personal trainer and kinesiologist in Ohio, swears by this circuit: pull ups, pistol squats, burpees and mountain climbers.
If you have the snow, might as well enjoy the winter wonderland! Trainer Janet Malowany loves snowshoeing. But she's not just ambling around the countryside. Instead she turns it into an interval workout by running up a nearby hill then walking back down. It's a lot harder than it sounds! (Don't have snowshoes? Yak Trax will help ordinary sneakers keep from slipping on snow and ice.)
6. Shoveling Snow
Face it: You're going to have to dig out your driveway and sidewalk at some point, so you might as well turn up the tunes and make it into a solid workout, says Jana Joshenbaum, a trainer in Brooklyn, New York. Just make sure you're switching the shovel between hands and using good form (lift with your legs, not your back!). And don't attempt this if you don't already exercise regularly.
7. Online Workouts
Why reinvent the wheel? With so many experts putting simple, equipment-free workouts online it couldn't be easier to find one that will work in the space you have. Personal trainer Kristi David swears by Insta It girl Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Workout. Another good resource is Fitness Blender as you can customize your workout by type, length and intensity — and it's free!
Megan Michael, a Pennsylvania-based trainer and preschool teacher (a workout in its own right!), loves to lift. And she doesn't just mean dumbbells and barbells — although those are good if you have them at home. For those of us who don't have a fully stocked home gym, you can always find something to lift around the house. Large cans or gallons of milk are great for arm work (just don't drop them!) while bags of cat litter or boxes of laundry detergent work well for legs.
The bendy sport is always a favorite of Katy Widrick, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Florida, but it's perfect for when it's cold outside. Not only does she swear that it will warm you up fast but all you need is a mat to get started and a yoga flow video from YouTube that caters to your fitness level. You can even try cranking the thermostat and doing a little DIY hot yoga.
10. Workout Videos
Live streaming or DVD videos were made for working out at home but with so many to choose from, how do you know what's worth your time and sweat? Kristen Leigh, a trainer in Memphis, loves the Beachbody workouts. They offer a wide variety of classes — everything from PiYo to kickboxing — and are always coming out with new stuff so you'll never get bored.
11. Tabata Training
Cold weather won't keep Lizzie Ballinger, a personal trainer who also happened to play Ariel at Disneyland, inside. Her secret to making it bearable is to keep it short and intense so you heat up quickly and are finished before the frostbite can set in. Tabata training — intervals of 20 seconds of hard work, followed by 10 seconds rest — is her personal favorite.
12. Muscle Endurance
Light dumbbells, an exercise band and a Swiss ball are all Colette Grier needs to make an effective workout at home. The owner of Grier Fit, a gym in Kansas, says she focuses on muscular endurance by doing lots of reps with light resistance using just those three pieces of equipment. Bonus: They're easily stored underneath a bed or stashed in a closet (if you deflate the ball).