hit the beat, beat the winter blues

It is getting cold, it seems as though it is constantly dark out, and getting out of bed becomes harder than ever. It's a sign that winter is coming. With the winter cold comes the Holiday season, and a combination that can be detrimental to your body. You are inside more, you are active less, you wear bigger clothes and layers, you consume more sweets and alcohol than normal, and you just don't typically have the drive you do in the warmer months. It's normal, you are not alone. This winter we are going to beat it together. No matter how cold it gets outside, we will always heat it up here at WheelHouse.

Here are a couple reasons why staying active and focusing on your body are important in the winter, and a few tips to help keep you focused!

That "BLAH" feeling. We have all been there. When the couch, a blanket, a bottle of wine and a pizza sounds better than that 5:45pm spin class. The difference? The lazier alternative may give you that instant gratifaction you are looking for, but in reality its only adding to those winter blues. It will perpetuate that sluggish feeling and bad habits, leading to a potential workout rut while erasing all the progress you have worked so hard for. Don't get us wrong, we looooove some time to veg out on the couch, but earn it! As we say in class, it feels so much better when you work for it. Take a class, take the dog for a longer walk than normal, even cleaning the house helps, anything to get yourself moving, and then crash on the couch knowing you deserve it. Exercise of all forms help create endorphines, boost your mood, help fight depression and improve your energy levels, exactly what you need this time of year!

The dreaded cold season. We're not just talking the temperature. It's the sniffles, the coughs, the achy muscles, the germs the kids bring home and everything else. It is inevitable, at some point this season, you, or someone you know will get sick. Believe it or not, working out can help combat that. We stand by our statements about needing to listen to your body and rest when you feel you need to, but getting a sweat in at the first symptom could help stop whatever is trying to hold you back. Building your strength also builds your immune system. It helps to boost the body's defense against certain bacteria and viruses, while also increasing your mental health. When you workout you are sweating, and when you are sweating you are releasing toxins. It is those toxins that are going to try to make you sick. Getting your sweat on helps regulate the body, flush out all the bad stuff and keep you feeling fresh. (Another plus: this stands true for those sneaky hangovers. A couple asprin, lots of water and 45 minutes in the saddle and you will be a whole new person)

Sweatpants are all that fit me right now. The cookies, the cake, the bread baskets, the alcohol, who can possibly say no to it all? We certainly aren't telling you to. We love the balance. We earn those parties in the saddle. You reserve the right to treat yourself if you take care of your body first. No party is fun if you can't button your pants or if that LBD you love doesn't zip, or if Nordstroms doesn't have the Spanx you need and now you are back to square one. Avoid that hassle! Stay with your routine and you won't fall off the deep end. That is good for your mental and physical health! Keep the layering to scarves, sweaters and legwarmers this year!

Mac and Cheese please! 'Tis the season for comfort food. The warmth, the richness, the carbs. It's what we want. Who craves a smoothie or fruit salad when its 20 degrees out?? Not us. But we have a couple food suggestions that have been proven to boost your mood all winter long. It's all about those Omega-3 foods. Fish, nuts, flaxseed are all going to help you tackle those winter blues. Other great options are lean proteins and red meat, and eggs because of those 'feel-good' chemicals they release after consumption. Making sure you are eating enough foods rich in vitamins B-12 and D are important too. Lower levels of these vitamins are linked to depression, and where we aren't getting our Vit D from the sun in the winter, we need to find ways to consume it. Foods to satisify this category are things like dairy, whole grains, lean red meat, and fatty fish such as tuna or salmon. There are also supplements you can take to help reach necessary levels of both vitatmins, but as we have said before, we are not nutritionists, dieticians, or doctors. Always consult a professional if you have questions or need help!

So the real question is, how do we fix this? How do we stay on track and do everything we can to make this winter different? We have a couple helpful hints!

1) Plan ahead! Book your classes ahead of time and hold yourself accountable. Plan your week out, and unless something catastrophic comes up, don't cancel. It can also help to mix up the time of day you are exercising or the instructor just to keep you on your toes. Whatever you do, don't give up on yourself and throw the towel in and start again in January, just keep progressing!

2) Find a buddy. Waking up at 5am, when it is dark, and maybe snowing and all you want to do is hit snooze, is a lot easier when you know you have someone else relying on you. When you know someone else is sharing your pain. People ask us all the time, 'how do you do it?'. There are 2 things that make it easy. 1) Your energy in class and seeing all your hard work pay off in the progress you make and 2) knowing that no matter how tired we are before class, it always feels great after. There is a saying "you will never regret a sweat" and that is the truth.

3) Don't overthink it. It is 45 minutes. That is less than 4% of your day you spend in the saddle. Don't build it up, don't dread it, don't fight it. Everyday won't be easy, but it will always be worth it. Be prepared for class by having your clothes laid out the night before, or already packed in your work bag and you won't have an excuse to bail!

4)Make a day of it. Especially on the weekends, it is the perfect chance to catch up with a friend. Do a class, grab some coffee, get your nails done (or an amazing blow out at Salon Forza) and just treat yourself a little bit. A good class can also serve as the calm before the storm as the holiday season approaches. Come blow off steam, then wait in those crazy lines at the mall! It is also fun to bring guests who are traveling from out of town (remember, first class is always free!)

5) Don't forbid anything! The parties are inevitable, the over indulgance is going to happen, and you are probably going to oversleep at some point. We are human. Don't get down on yourself, don't give up. React to it. If you know you have an event coming up, plan your classes around that. We will say it over and over, it is all about the balance. Work hard, play hard. It is the best way to stay on track!

When in doubt, ride it out. Remember to take time to properly warm up and cool down before and after any workout you tackle to keep those muscles and joints healthy. Together we will power through this winter!

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