Thighs, derriere, the dreaded muffin top, we’ve all got our problem areas. Whether or not we choose to do anything about them, I’m pretty sure we all think life would be a little bit better if they were gone. However, not everyone works out with these problems in mind. Some exercise for the social aspect, some only exercise in preparation for summer or vacation, and others just do it for their overall health, but there’s always one problem that gets in everyone’s way: cold weather. What do you do when nature puts a wrench in your plans of just plain kills your motivation?
To find the answer, I took a peek into the exercise regimens of Lisa Malinowski and Hayley Kluska, two self-proclaimed “gym mice,” (they don’t like the term “gym rats”) and asked them how they manage to keep in such great shape despite the harsh weather.
HCMSU: About how often do you exercise and for how long?
Hayley Kluska: I usually exercise Monday-Friday for about an hour. If I'm feeling really motivated I'll work out on the weekends, but I usually use those as my days off.
Lisa Malinowski: Just about every day. The length varies, but I usually try to work out for at least 45 minutes to an hour.
HCMSU: Which gym or class do you go to?
LM: Before college, I belonged to Genesys Health Club in Grand Blanc, MI. I will most likely start going there again in the summer. While I am here at Michigan State, I work out at IM East because it’s closest to my dorm. I also take an aerobics class on Mondays and Wednesdays as an elective.
HCMSU: Which specific exercises do you do?
HK: I like to do cardio first to warm myself up then cool down with biking. So, my daily workout regimen usually consists of running a mile, doing a few sprints, biking 2 miles, an ab routine, and then biking 2 more miles. Cardio is definitely what makes me feel the most accomplished.
LM: I always incorporate cardio into my exercise routines. It’s an important way to burn fat and get your muscles loose and warmed up before you work them out. If I’m not feeling up to doing extensive cardio at the gym, like running on the treadmill or doing a hard program on the elliptical, I’ll do a light cardio i.e. walking on the track or taking it easy on the elliptical. After cardio, I do muscle toning exercises. This could be with the weight machines or simple exercises that just involve a mat and my own body. It is important to do toning exercises along with cardio so that your muscles get stronger and more toned as you burn off the fat. I will usually do either an abdominal workout along with arms or abs as well as with legs. It’s crucial that you don’t do toning for the same group of muscles two days in a row. You’re supposed to alter the exercises to give your muscles a break.
HCMSU: Does the weather affect your typical workout habits?
LM: Sometimes it will affect my mood and motivation to workout, but in the end I don't let it stop me. I have basically trained myself to stay motivated.
HK: The weather doesn't really affect my work out routine because I use the indoor rec centers on campus. When I'm home it definitely affects me because I usually go running outside.
HCMSU: Are your campus workout habits different than your habits at home?
HK: My work out habits at home are significantly different. I don't belong to a gym at home, but I do have a little workout room in my basement. I find it a lot harder to motivate myself when I'm home because I get distracted with so many other things that I could be doing. When I'm at school, all my friends work out so they are basically my motivation. And I won't lie, the fact that I'm going to a gym full of guys motivates me a tad bit more.
HCMSU: Say, you can't get to the gym. Is there something you do instead?
LM: At school, if I can’t get to the gym, I usually try to walk to my classes instead. Sometimes I'll even stretch in my dorm. If I’m at home, I usually watch workout videos online or go on my treadmill for a little while holding small weights.
HCMSU: Do you have specific eating habits/diet plans you follow?
HK: I am absolutely awful at dieting. I can't do the whole salad and counting carbs thing. My philosophy is if I work out really hard then I won't have to worry about dieting. Every physical trainer and dietitian would probably cringe at that statement but that's just how I see it. Food is amazing and I'll eat what I want!
LM: Water is the most important for me. I have water with every meal as well as water throughout my day. I also try to avoid eating any desserts while I am here at school. I have given up things that I noticed I was eating too often such as french fries and Poptarts. I really do try to watch what kinds of things I am eating. I have to admit though, I will only be young once with this high metabolism, so I do eat junk food here and there.
HCMSU: Any tips or encouragement for our readers?
LM: Stay motivated! Find friends to go workout with because it makes it so much easier to be motivated. Set goals for yourself. Writing goals and tasks down always helps me stay on track and it reminds me of what I want to accomplish. Try to cut down on unhealthy eating habits. Slowly try to break a habit, and it will be easier to stop all together.
HK: Definitely get a workout partner or a group of friends who can keep you going. Part of the reason I got back into shape this year is because I had friends who would constantly ask me to go to the gym. Don't get discouraged when you're first starting off because it will be tough and your first reaction will be to quit. No one starts off in amazing shape, they worked hard to get there.
In the end, get active, stay motivated and be positive! Most importantly, decide to take care of your body for you and you only. At the end of the day, no one is responsible for your physical health, but you. No matter your reasons for staying active or your excuses for not, keep the words of Nike in mind and “Just Do It.”