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4 Winter-Workout Motivators
By Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, WH Exercise Science Expert
Swimsuit season is long gone, but that’s no reason to let your workout  routine go into hibernation. After all, staying active and fit is a  science-approved way to fight off winter doldrums. But what if you just  don’t feel like it because it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s wet, and you don’t  have the energy? Here are some strategies to make it your workout  happen—even in the winter.
Set Goals There are two types of goals: Goals that are based on an outcome and  goals that are based on changing specific behaviors. Both types are  important, but in the winter, people are more likely to succeed if they  set the second type of goal, which gives them real control and very  clear guidance. Will you log a certain number of miles each week? Will  you work out 25 times before the first day of spring? Whatever your  action-focused goal is, it will keep you in the zone throughout the  winter.
Take Advantage of Indoor Workout Dark and cold, winter is the perfect time to stay inside and focus on  resistance training. You’ll build muscle to boost your metabolism and  give you that lean, toned look you won’t get from running outdoors. So  dust off your kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands or revisit that gym you joined last January.
Hold Yourself Accountable Having someone keep you accountable for the workouts you do (and don’t)  complete makes a big difference in your overall fitness level. Seal the  commitment by arranging to work out with a friend or a fitness coach. A  trainer will also be able to design an individualized program for you,  help you strengthen your weaknesses, and give you skills to apply to  your exercise routine year-round.
 Set a Schedule Protect your workout by setting a definite time and place for your  workout, then scheduling all of your other activities around it. Keeping  your workout time consistent from day to day (are you a morning or an  evening exerciser?) will also help you get in the habit. If you don’t  schedule your workout, something will always “come up” and derail it—and  your fitness.
More from WH:The Daily Dose NewsletterGet Your Best Abs EverThe Best Exercises for Women

4 Winter-Workout Motivators

By Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, WH Exercise Science Expert

Swimsuit season is long gone, but that’s no reason to let your workout routine go into hibernation. After all, staying active and fit is a science-approved way to fight off winter doldrums. But what if you just don’t feel like it because it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s wet, and you don’t have the energy? Here are some strategies to make it your workout happen—even in the winter.

Set Goals
There are two types of goals: Goals that are based on an outcome and goals that are based on changing specific behaviors. Both types are important, but in the winter, people are more likely to succeed if they set the second type of goal, which gives them real control and very clear guidance. Will you log a certain number of miles each week? Will you work out 25 times before the first day of spring? Whatever your action-focused goal is, it will keep you in the zone throughout the winter.

Take Advantage of Indoor Workout
Dark and cold, winter is the perfect time to stay inside and focus on resistance training. You’ll build muscle to boost your metabolism and give you that lean, toned look you won’t get from running outdoors. So dust off your kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands or revisit that gym you joined last January.

Hold Yourself Accountable
Having someone keep you accountable for the workouts you do (and don’t) complete makes a big difference in your overall fitness level. Seal the commitment by arranging to work out with a friend or a fitness coach. A trainer will also be able to design an individualized program for you, help you strengthen your weaknesses, and give you skills to apply to your exercise routine year-round.

Set a Schedule
Protect your workout by setting a definite time and place for your workout, then scheduling all of your other activities around it. Keeping your workout time consistent from day to day (are you a morning or an evening exerciser?) will also help you get in the habit. If you don’t schedule your workout, something will always “come up” and derail it—and your fitness.

More from WH:
The Daily Dose Newsletter
Get Your Best Abs Ever
The Best Exercises for Women

The Three Biggest Workout Mistakes Women Make 
By Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, WH Exercise Science Expert
“I’ll come in tomorrow for an extra workout.” “I jog three miles  every day.” “I’ve been doing five sets of 20 crunches every night before  bed.”
These are all real quotes I have heard from women who, despite having  the best of intentions, are sabotaging their fitness with bad (and  common!) workout strategies.
Don’t make the same mistakes! Here, the three most common workout mistakes women make—and how to avoid them:
1. Thinking more is better
Many women actually work out too much. By completing workout after  workout without allowing for recovery, your body never gets a chance to  reboot and your workouts start to suffer in intensity as the week goes  on, which leads to overtraining and lacking results. After as little as  three consistent weeks without a break, burn out, staleness, and  symptoms of overtraining will appear, leading to decreased results from  your efforts, according to a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.
Instead, work out three to five days a week (performing two to three strength workouts and one to two cardio workouts). Give yourself at least one complete  rest day, and switch up your workout between “hard” and “easy” days.  That will help your body recover so you get the most from every workout.  Work out less, recover, and get results. Done.
2. Staying in your comfort zone
Performing lots of repetitions with light weights and cardio at a  steady, comfortable pace tends to be the exercise preference of most  women. The problem is that your body will only change if you put a  demand on it, taking it out of its comfort zone. Your body is a master  adapter. When it gets used to a routine, it becomes more efficient, so  it uses less energy. Translation: You burn fewer calories and build less  muscle.
Learn to push harder, lift heavier, sprint at a max effort, and dig deep to really push your potential. Don’t be afraid to sweat.
3. Doing the same thing for too long
Your body is smart and is constantly figuring out what you are doing,  adapting to whatever demands you put on it in about four to six weeks.  So change things up! Studies have shown that doing the same workout over  and over can lead to adaptation and, eventually, a plateau in results.  Strength training scientists refer to this as the principle of  diminishing returns, whereby the nervous system is no longer challenged  to adapt.
If you have been running a lot, completely stop running and start lifting weights. If you have been taking spinning,  stop spinning and run sprints at the track. Whatever you are doing,  stop and do something your body isn’t used to. It is good to take a  break from an activity so you can come back to it later as a new,  challenging demand.
photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock

The Three Biggest Workout Mistakes Women Make

By Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, WH Exercise Science Expert

“I’ll come in tomorrow for an extra workout.” “I jog three miles every day.” “I’ve been doing five sets of 20 crunches every night before bed.”

These are all real quotes I have heard from women who, despite having the best of intentions, are sabotaging their fitness with bad (and common!) workout strategies.

Don’t make the same mistakes! Here, the three most common workout mistakes women make—and how to avoid them:

1. Thinking more is better

Many women actually work out too much. By completing workout after workout without allowing for recovery, your body never gets a chance to reboot and your workouts start to suffer in intensity as the week goes on, which leads to overtraining and lacking results. After as little as three consistent weeks without a break, burn out, staleness, and symptoms of overtraining will appear, leading to decreased results from your efforts, according to a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.

Instead, work out three to five days a week (performing two to three strength workouts and one to two cardio workouts). Give yourself at least one complete rest day, and switch up your workout between “hard” and “easy” days. That will help your body recover so you get the most from every workout. Work out less, recover, and get results. Done.

2. Staying in your comfort zone

Performing lots of repetitions with light weights and cardio at a steady, comfortable pace tends to be the exercise preference of most women. The problem is that your body will only change if you put a demand on it, taking it out of its comfort zone. Your body is a master adapter. When it gets used to a routine, it becomes more efficient, so it uses less energy. Translation: You burn fewer calories and build less muscle.

Learn to push harder, lift heavier, sprint at a max effort, and dig deep to really push your potential. Don’t be afraid to sweat.

3. Doing the same thing for too long

Your body is smart and is constantly figuring out what you are doing, adapting to whatever demands you put on it in about four to six weeks. So change things up! Studies have shown that doing the same workout over and over can lead to adaptation and, eventually, a plateau in results. Strength training scientists refer to this as the principle of diminishing returns, whereby the nervous system is no longer challenged to adapt.

If you have been running a lot, completely stop running and start lifting weights. If you have been taking spinning, stop spinning and run sprints at the track. Whatever you are doing, stop and do something your body isn’t used to. It is good to take a break from an activity so you can come back to it later as a new, challenging demand.

photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock