Some of the most common excuses I'm sure to hear over the next few months are "It's too cold to work out!" or "The weather is so gloomy, I can't bear to exercise outside." Yes, it's hard to get motivated when the wind is howling or the rain or snow is pelting down—it can thwart even the most committed exercisers—but don't ban all thoughts of heading outdoors for a sweat session. These tips will help you discover the joys of fresh-air winter workouts.
That means layers, layers, layers&8212;they're the key to staying comfortable in colder weather. In the winter, I rely on Terramar Thermasilk long underwear. It's not bulky or binding, and it breathes. I also like Under Armour, which has leggings and pants designed for specific temperature ranges. Keep in mind that the more aerobic the workout—cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, running—the hotter you'll get, so the lighter your layers should be. You might be a little chilly at first, but you'll heat up fast. If you're toasty when you first start out, you'll be much too hot after about 10 minutes.
Extend your warm-up
It may take an extra five minutes or more to raise your body temperature when it's chilly out, so take your time getting started. Going too fast or hard too soon can strain cold muscles and lead to injuries. Always listen to your body.
if it's snowing or raining. Prevent dehydration by following the same drink-up guidelines that you stick to the rest of the year: Sip 8 to 16 ounces for an hour-long workout.
Fill up in the a.m.
I usually want more food in the morning during the winter. Toast or a hard-boiled egg just doesn't do it. Steel-cut oatmeal or almond butter and a banana are excellent power-packed options. Having a full belly makes me feel warmer, and choosing high-fiber carbs or combining carbs with protein gives me plenty of fuel.
Go play in the snow
Sledding with your kids burns 485 calories an hour. Making a snowman, 277. And just trudging through a park (in waterproof boots or snowshoes) blasts 526 calories. Besides the excellent workout you'll get, the sun and the crisp air can't help but elevate your mood and energy levels. See, who needs a gym?