Here in Boise, we don’t have extremely cold weather (for very long, at least), but it’s cold enough to make it harder to get in shape and stay in shape. I’m not someone who is consumed with fitness—I usually have a little extra weight I’d like to lose—but I’ve always wanted to be in great shape. I’m actually pretty close to that goal now. Running is my exercise of choice, though, and that makes winter particularly challenging.
If you’re like me, you’ve bought and sold a few treadmills in your lifetime. I actually find a treadmill pretty motivating, but from a real estate perspective (after all, that’s what the Meridian Real Estate Blog is about), they take up a lot of room and aren’t the best looking pieces of equipment. At one point last year, I bought one that turned out to be a little loud. So I bought another one (off of Craigslist, because I’m a cheapskate) that I liked better.
Then, we decided to turn the former exercise room/office into a guest room. Both treadmills ended up in the garage taking up way too much space and collecting clutter. So I sold them, along with a recumbent bike and an elliptical, knowing I might regret it in the winter. I did miss out on a good treadmill this winter, but I’ve made up for it in a way that maybe you haven’t though of. An electric bike.
I know you may think that’s an unlikely fitness tool, because it’s electric, after all. And do you want to be on a bike in cold weather? Many people wouldn’t, I would suspect. But I have to tell you, I love it.
What makes it a good fitness tool is that, like a treadmill, you can adjust how much of a workout you want by clicking some settings on the pedal assist. That means you can pedal 100% on your own exertion—and that’s quite a workout, because the bike is a bit heavy—or 100% on electric power if you get tired or just want the thrill of the wind in your face.
As a result, I can get an adjustable workout on a really fun piece of equipment, and get something done at the same time. Running to Albertsons or Winco for a fresh cut of steak for dinner is a piece of cake. Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to tempt you with a sugar reference!
Which brings me to the other tool in my arsenal, which is a low carb diet. I hate the word “diet,” and don’t really ever follow anything strictly. I eat the wrong things all the time. But the key is that you successfully eat fewer carbs than you did before, and more protein. Even some fat is fine. It’s really sugar and carbs that do me in.
I start the morning several times a week with my version of bulletproof coffee, but instead of using butter, I use a tablespoon of coconut oil. I also add a scoop of protein powder and a drizzle of sugar free (and alcohol free) coffee liqueur. This gives my morning metabolism a huge boost so I’m burning calories just going about my daily work.
When I drink non-“bulletproof” coffee (and I drink a lot of it every day), I usually drink it black. This also helps to cut out the sugar. If you can cut the sugar out of your coffee habit, it will be so much easier to get in shape and stay in shape. A little squeeze of liquid Stevia should give you enough sweetness if that’s what you’re looking for.
I also used to be a soda fan, and I still prefer my drinks with carbonation. I find it hard to just drink plain water without ice or a flavor enhancer of some sort. My go-to replacement for sugary sodas is carbonated flavored waters like you find at grocery stores. We buy these by the case, and I have completely eliminated the craving for sodas.
Don’t let all this make you think I’m some sort of health food nut. I’ll do more posts on some of my favorite foods to cook for my family, and they are not all low-carb, let me tell you! There’s nothing like a big bowl of Tillamook mud slide ice cream when I’m feeling like splurging. Whoops, I probably shouldn’t have put that in the second to last paragraph of an article on fitness. Yet here we are. Here’s a link to some low-carb desserts to make up for it!
So go forth into the New Year with high goals for yourself, and don’t beat yourself up too badly if you stumble along the way Get back up and try again, and find a way to turn the habits that work for you into lifestyle choices. I’ll be coming into Spring at my best weight in decades, and I know you can do it too!