Tag Archives: weather

Daytime Diva vs. Nighttime Ninja

9 Mar
Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

It’s no secret that I’ve been lamenting the snow-pac-ageddon of 2015. The winter blues have made it all but impossible for me to wake up in the morning. And when I do keep my eyes open longer than 10 minutes, the comfort of my bed won’t set me free. My bed holds me hostage in the morning because it knows that eventually I’ll have to deal with the ridiculous cold that awaits me.

So instead of torturing myself with an early wake-up call, I’ve been working out after work. Sometimes I’ll actually go to the gym if I feel like being a bag lady. For the most part, though, I’ve been coming home to make use of my exercise DVDs and some videos on Hulu (an excellent source of material, btw).

Right as I was getting comfortable in my routine, this happened.

snow_melt

Courtesy of Tumblr

 

The sun is finally shining! The temperature is finally rising above 12 degrees. I don’t have to wear my grungy puffer coat. With the time change and the impending warmth comes a return to my daytime active lifestyle. We’re in the finicky weather season, so I won’t be getting up too early. But I can feel myself readying for the sunshiny days ahead. Running on the path. Morning yoga classes. Early boot camp.

Being a nighttime ninja served its purpose to prevent me from being too slovenly. For me, though, daytime diva is where it’s at. Still, I learned a few things about myself during the long, dark, cold days of winter.

1. Winter mornings suck. I forgot how depressing it can be to wake up in the morning and it still be dark outside. I don’t have to be at work until 11 a.m. Imagine waking up at 7:30 in the morning and it still being pitch black outside? Nothing makes your bed more comfortable that the dark of night…or day.

2. Population control. There are even fewer people in the gym at night than there are in the early afternoon. Because my work hours are so wonky, I’m coming into the gym right after the post-work crowd finishes its sweat-a-thon. It’s an in-between time where gym staff can really wipe down the machines (not the half-ass wipes they get from preoccupied gym rats). It fills my need for quiet.

3. Hunger games. Working out at home has made me hyper aware of my kitchen. It’s not like I woke up one morning and was surprised by my fridge. It’s moreso that post-workout meals seemed even more important. And those meals seemed to be larger. I’m not on any workout plan right now, so I haven’t been portioning out my meals. So the spinach, chick-pea, pasta salad was run through pretty quickly. As were my Mott’s Mango Peach applesauces. And, of course, my goldfish crackers. Working out in the daytime will definitely give me better dietary focus.

4. I can’t wait for winter to be over. I miss running in the park. I miss not having to strap on 10-15 extra layers of clothes, undergarments and coats. I miss the ease of a morning workout. It seemed like less of a chore when I was doing it in warmer weather. Winter workouts feel like a punishment, especially in the mornings. At night, it feels like a continuation of the workday, not a way to start the day.

There are 11 days until spring. But with the weather warming up, I’ll return to daytime diva status in no time.

Plotting Around the Polar Vortex

10 Nov
This is some bull—but it's not an excuse

This is some bull—but it’s not an excuse

A couple of weeks ago I was out to dinner with friends. We hadn’t met up for a while, so it was time to catch up. Who’s dating whom? How’s work going? Holiday plans? Blah, blah, blah.

When we got around to me, I offered my usual: work, gym, home. If I’m feeling adventurous: work, gym, grocery store, home. The reason for the routine is because I’d gained some weight that I wasn’t proud of. The size 8s were feeling a little too snug and the 10s were looking tempting. Rather than give in to temptation, I went back into beast mode. I’m happy to say I’m down 17 pounds.

What I diidn’t mention was that this dinner was during a particularly cold night here in New York. “Why are you trying to lose weight when it’s about to get cold?” my friend joked. “You’re going to need that extra layer when the cold hits.” (By the way, it’s coming.)

My other friend spoke up before I could, saying now’s the time to do it. If you’re going to try to get in shape, you want to do it before it gets warm. Think of it this way: When you go to the beach for spring break or summer vacation, it’ll be much harder to work off all that holiday food if you haven’t been keeping up with a routine.

A sports columnist at The Wall Street Journal (editor’s note: my employer) wrote about this very thing last week. He called it the off season. Many athletes will go vacation for a month once the season’s over, but they will get back to training when they return.

One of my favorite stories about this was told by Michael Jordan in the “30 for 30: Bad Boys” documentary. The Pistons put in work on Michael Jordan, using their “Jordan Rules” to defensively render him useless to the Bulls. Jordan took the L, but went into the off season with a mission to get his body ready for the hurting the Pistons had planned for him. He took his time off as a challenge to himself to improve his body to be in peak form.

I understand, however, that we’re not all athletes. It’s easy to turn the fall and winter into the off season for working out. Hell, I did it last year. It’s easier not to leave the house when you have 4 feet of snow blocking your doorway. And if you can’t get outside, you definitely can’t run or even go to the gym. Your subconscious plays games with your head and tells you, “Stay home where it’s warm. There’s Netflix and HBOGo and entire seasons of shows you haven’t watched on Amazon Prime. Plus, look at that bookshelf full of masterpieces you’ve been trying to read. They need your attention, too.”

Doesn’t that sound inviting? You could be in your warm home lazing the day away. Or you could pop in an exercise DVD and go to work. You could make use of those resistance bands you bought forever ago. You could find a few workout tips on YouTube and make it happen. Your home doesn’t and should’t be your cage. It should be where you make the most of off-season.

Believe me when I tell you I fully understand the desire to skip out on workouts when it’s cold outside. Ask anyone: I hate  the cold. I hate everything about it. I don’t like wearing extra layers because it just means more laundry. I don’t like walking around in black slush piles of snow because that mess gets tracked back into my house. And I hate working out and then going out into the cold because then I’m then the disgusting combination of cold and wet.

But that doesn’t mean I can let myself go because of few dropped temps. Sticking with a plan means just that. If losing weight, staying on track or maintaining a certain level of health is important to you, then you can and should find a way to do just that. Letting the winter doldrums get you down will only make it harder on yourself when the weather breaks. Don’t make this process any harder than it has to be. Find the inner strength that I know you have and force yourself to break the off-season habit.

How do you get through your off season?

photo credit: jonathanpercy via photopin cc

Allergy Sneezin’

27 Aug
You see the beautiful colors; I can't see anything because my eyes are watering.

You see the beautiful colors; I can’t see anything because my eyes are watering.

There are two type of people: spring people and fall people.

Spring people look forward to new life, fresh days and hopeful beginnings.

Fall people look forward to cold nights, extra clothes and dead, damp leaves.

If you can’t tell, I’m a spring person. I hate the fall. Usually, I’d say f— fall, but this is a family site.

One reason this is the worst time of the year is that it’s a harbinger of bad things to come, like the cold. It means winter is coming. There will be snow—black snow, poopy snow, yellow snow, rock salt, etc.

But the worst thing about fall is all of the allergens in the air. Some people who hate the spring hate it because of their allergy problems. I guess they have their issues, but ragweed in the fall makes me feel like my face is swelling.

I was a pretty bad asthmatic as a kid. I had inhalers everywhere: bookbag, bathroom, both parents’ cars, my grandparents’ house, etc. As i got older, my asthma became less and less of an issue.

One day in college, long after I’d given up my purple pump, I went to a fall festival across the street from my dorm. My friends said there were booths and a step show. Never one to miss out on a party, I crossed the street—straight into the land of allergic reactions. The second I stepped foot on the grass, my eyes watered up, my nose started running  and my throat tightened. I had to go to student health and have them issue me another inhaler and some allergy medicine.

It’s been that way for more than 15 years. But now that I’m more active, allergy season becomes a problem when breathing is a necessity during a workout. How can I still be able to burn calories without killing myself?

The one and only good thing about fall is that temperatures are ideal for running. But you can’t run if you can’t breathe. Mold from dead, damp leaves and kicked up dust mites from the dirt make it near impossible for me to pass air through my lungs. As much as I’d like to go out for a run in the 65-degree weather, I have to keep it indoors. The gym becomes my friend for a couple months during the fall.

It’s not all terrible. The fall was when I discovered spin class, Zumba and boot camp. It was when I started going to the gym with some regularity and became familiar with my friends Treadmill, Stationary Bike and Elliptical (hey, boos!). This season, I’m planning to make the free weights and kettle bells my bae. I can develop muscle tone while the soggy leaves are stirring up bad things in the air.

Even still, it’s during this time of year that I live for a good, hard rain. I will do my best to avoid running in it, but a downpour washes away a lot of the allergens. And as long as the parks department clears away the leaves pretty frequently, I can still get outside. The rain may cool things off too much, however, but that’s what running jackets are for.

No matter what your hangups, like the weather, don’t let it stop you from doing what needs to be done. If your nasal passages can’t handle the season’s change, try popping in an exercise video. Hit the gym and find a new workout. There are plenty of ways to burn calories, and sticking with one routine will only set you up for stagnation.

How do you deal with outdoor exercising when the weather gives you no chill?

photo credit: Douglas Brown via photopin cc