6 Winter Workout Tips to Keep You Motivated

From the Show: Talk Fitness Today
Summary: Working out in the winter months can be daunting. Even if you don't typically head outside for your fitness, the shortened daylight and cold temperatures may turn you into a hermit.
Air Date: 3/7/18
Duration: 16:35
Host: Lisa Davis
Guest Bio: Sarah Walls
Sarah-WallsSarah Walls has over 15 years experience in coaching and personal training.

Owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., founded in 2007, she offers coaching to develop athletes, adult programs, team training, and has an online coaching program.

She is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and has over eight years of experience working as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer.
6 Winter Workout Tips to Keep You Motivated
Working out in the winter months can be daunting. Even if you don't typically head outside for your fitness, the shortened daylight and cold temperatures may turn you into a hermit.

Sarah Walls, Founder of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., joins host Lisa Davis to offer these winter workout tips:

1) Enlist a workout partner. Who no-shows on their workout partner? Not many people, and if they do, a good partner won't let them hear the end of it. If you're worried about missing an appointment with yourself, get a workout partner and set up a schedule. It's likely you will show up for many more sessions with a friend to hold you accountable.

2) Stay focused on healthy eating. It's easy for one holiday to flow right into the next. There are parties with alcohol and calorie-dense foods, and it may seem never-ending. When you are having fun, it can have a dramatic effect on how you are feeling. The alcohol and unhealthy party foods will wreak havoc with your energy levels immediately, so one of the best ways to stay motivated to get your workouts in is to start with what you are (or rather are not) eating. If you feel good, you'll probably want to keep that going with a workout. If you don't feel good because of all the unhealthy foods, it's likely you'll spiral out of control a bit when it comes to keeping up your exercise routine.

3) Try something new. The winter is a great time to try out a new class. Gyms are always coming up with something new and different, and this might be just the right time to add in something you've never tried. Trying new activities will help you find ones that you love, and help keep things interesting.

4)Define (and track) small goals. Whether it is learning to do a certain exercise, getting stronger, or improving your endurance, it's a great idea to write down and track goals. Start with the biggest one and then break it down into weekly and daily tasks that will get you there. Hold yourself accountable, track where you are at with reaching the goal, and give yourself some non-food rewards when you reach milestones.

5) Have a fallback plan. What is your plan B for when you walk out of your office at the end of the day and it is unforgivably cold and dark? Do you need to call a friend to remind you how much you love working out? Do you have a secondary workout to do in front of the TV at home? Having a plan B is a good idea, because you will automatically revert to it, rather than coming up with an excuse.

6) Try a virtual coach. A virtual coach will help you reaching your fitness goals all winter long, all from the comfort of your home or office. You won’t have to go out in the cold air, rather you can get the motivation and guidance you need in a setting that is comfortable for you, and during a time frame that works best for you.

6 Winter Workout Tips with Sarah Walls

This episode of Talk Fitness is in partnership with The Vitamin Shoppe, where knowledgeable health enthusiasts are standing by to help you thrive every day.

Lisa Davis (Host): So glad you’re listening to Talk Fitness Today. We always need some motivation, but when it is cold outside and let me tell you, lately it is so incredibly cold outside that we need some winter workout tips to help keep us motivated and here to share some great tips with us, is Sarah Walls. She has over 15 years of experience in coaching and personal training and she is the owner of SAPT Strength and Performance Training Inc. Founded in 2007. Heh Sarah, welcome to the show.

Sarah Walls (Guest): Hi, thank you. Good to be here.

Lisa: You know it is so nice to have you on. I moved from the west coast to the east coast. It is 18 years in a few months and when I first moved here, I thought I’m never going to workout outside. I’m going to be homebound all winter and my husband said look, you’re going to go nuts. Just get some long johns, get some good clothes and get your butt out the door. And let me tell you, it changed everything. And this winter, is extremely brutal. I mean we are having record lows, but for like the normal it’s 20 degrees, let’s go work out. When it’s below zero, let’s maybe not. But so right, it has been curbed a bit, but I think it’s so important that we don’t let the winter keep us indoors. So, Sarah, before I bring you in, tell us – to talk about this topic, tell us a little bit about yourself and when you first got interested in strength training and healthy living and all that good stuff.

Sarah: Yeah, I mean I got interested gosh probably when I was like 14 or 15 years old. My step father had just kind of your regular commercial gym that he owned and I kind of worked there during summers and stuff and once I got into college, I went through a period of time where all of the sudden, like a lot of college students do where I sort of like woke up one morning and I was like okay, I don’t like how I feel, I don’t like how I look. I need to do something about this and, so I did and just kind of felt my way through it when I was in college and ended up just loving it so much, being so passionate about it and just having so much fun with exercise myself that I turned it into a career and kind of went back and got the education and the experience and moved forward with it. So, that’s sort of my story.

Lisa: Well, that’s great. Well let’s jump into these six winter workout tips to keep you motivated. The first one is to enlist a workout partner.

Sarah: Yeah. The workout partner is my number one. I put that there for a reason. Because I think it’s just, it’s such a difference maker when you have someone that is expecting to see you. And not only from the idea that you’re less likely to sort of just not show up when your friend or your spouse or whoever it is, is waiting for you at the gym or outside, wherever it might be. That’s a huge thing in and of itself, but you are also likely to kind of push a little bit harder. You can start to share ideas back and forth about what do we want to try, what have you seen, that type of a thing. And so, I think it’s just absolutely huge to have that kind of support and have somebody that’s just there for you. I mean even for myself, and the coaches that I work with; we all like to have training partners, because it’s just it’s again, just somebody that is pushing you forward. We are always trying to see improvements in ourselves, I think now matter what level we are at and the workout partner can pretty easily help get that done.

Lisa: Yeah, I think so too. It makes a big difference. And like you said, when you know somebody is waiting for you, it’s a huge incentive to get your butt there.

Sarah: Oh yeah, I mean and like you said, it’s so cold, at least on the east coast and where I’m sitting right now, that I think even a workout partner is going to help you get out and get to the gym on a day like today.

Lisa: Yeah, I think so too. Alright, number two is stay focused on healthy eating. Because I mean we just had the holidays and I think with this extra, extra cold, I don’t eat a lot of junk and I didn’t, but I did eat more I noticed, because I was – I didn’t leave the house for like seven days. I mean my daughter had a cold, so I had to be home and then I didn’t really want to go out and workout outside like I usually do this time of year and, so I would just find myself snacking more and eating more and I just wanted to like curl up in a little cocoon and eat and go to sleep.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s so easy to do – for all the reasons you just listed. We just got through the holidays, it’s freezing, we are likely to just be inside more, and boredom is a big trigger for going and snacking. The holidays and whatever it is that has been given to you or that you have made or whatever it is, you are surrounded by that is probably really delicious. You are going to want to eat that as well. And it’s great to indulge and to try little things here and there but I think sometimes with this idea of focus on healthy eating, it doesn’t have to be all or none. So, like maybe the last week for a lot of people hasn’t been ideal, but let’s course correct right now or next week or whenever we have the opportunity. So, I think again, it doesn’t have to be that all or none and when you are focusing on the healthy eating, dive into vegetables, colorful fruits, colorful vegetables, things that you are making at home. That old idea of shop around the parameter of the grocery store is super helpful if you are trying to make that more of a focus for yourself. And that is where you can kind of pick up those healthy foods.

Lisa: Yeah, I agree. Alright number three is try something new and I love this. You talk about trying out a new class. You know I just started doing yoga again after not doing it for about 14 years and it’s been great. I mean I don’t – my body isn’t always enjoying it. I’m not the biggest fan of yoga, but I do it because I know I – I mean I feel better after but during I am like oh my gosh. But it is so nice when you can try something new. What other tips do you have around this?

Sarah: Yeah, really anything that sort of you know, peaks your interest. I think give it a shot. A big thing for me right now is exploring different types of body weight exercises and really, really expanding because that’s an area for me that I think I could learn a lot more in because I’m very accustomed to using resistance training, bands, just some kind of a tool but a lot of people have the need, be it my athletes if we are on the court or something and we don’t have access to equipment, then I want to be able to provide them a good workout so those are things that I have been exploring that’s useful for me. But the idea of trying out a new class, there are all kinds of really cool options and people are constantly coming up with new ideas. I think now there is some- a provider that focuses on heart rate based training as you go through their circuits and treadmill type of cardiovascular training which I think is a fantastic option as well. And it doesn’t have to be sort of now you are sort of committing all of your exercise efforts just to this one thing but it’s just something to add in a little spice to what you may already be doing or just to freshen things up if you haven’t been exercising as much as you would like to.

Lisa: Yeah, I think it always good to try new things. And I like the body weight exercises too. I notice that in yoga a lot I mean you are really when you are going down to that chaturanga when you are in a high plank and then you have to like lower yourself down. I’ve almost got it. And my arms are so sore after that.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s unbelievable what you can do with your own body weight, just by exhibiting control; control over your core, control over sort of your tempo which would be the speed at which you are doing things. It’s really powerful and really unbelievable.

Lisa: It is. Alright now number four. Define and track small goals. And I like that you said small goals. Because that is always the way to go when you are starting out. Talk to us about this.

Sarah: Yeah, this is another really, really big one that I think is extremely powerful. And you can look to the success of defining goals really in any area of your life. Business of course is huge, just it’s like write that goal down and you are all of the sudden way more likely to accomplish it or get closer to accomplishing it. And when you start to then really break it down into these little bits and pieces, that are manageable to accomplish either on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, now you have really got some tangible momentum moving forward. So, I think it’s really, really powerful and it can be as small as well when I mentioned at the beginning starting to kind of get more fit when I was in college, it literally started with me just saying okay, I just need to get to the gym three days this week. And that was it. That was the small goal and I would accomplish that week after week and once I had sort of proven to myself heh I can handle these little ones, then I started giving myself more significant goals and kind of building on that. So, I think people can’t really – you can’t overestimate the value of defining these goals and there are all kinds of apps that help sort of automate that, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be that official either. You can write it down on a piece of paper, put it on your fridge, put it on your bathroom mirror. Just anything to keep that reminder in front of you about what that little goal is.

Lisa: You know it can make it really fun. I tease my husband because he’s obsessed. I mean he has got the tracker that tracks every activity, everything, every step, every whatever and he just – it makes him happy and he is super athletic and moving around. I’m thinking you don’t need that. You are already know that you are like a super star but he still – I need it. That would really help me out. But it does. It’s nice when you see wow, I burned this many calories, this many steps, I did this, I think it helps that motivation.

Sarah: Yeah absolutely. And I’m a huge fan of the tech products and the watches and all of that stuff because I think it – people have found a way to just hit those little triggers for us that kind of prompt us. Something as simple as when my watch tells me I have been sitting down for 15 minutes and I need to stand up. Okay great. It prompts me to stand up. And those little things, they do add up over time.

Lisa: Is there one in particular that you recommend or that you really enjoy?

Sarah: I’m a big fan of the My Fitness Pal line of apps. I think those are the easiest to use that I have come across.

Lisa: Oh great, I’m going to try that out. Alright, moving along, the time goes by so fast. Number five, have a fallback plan.

Sarah: Yeah, have a fallback plan so, for those days when it is just not going to happen like you said, a kid gets sick, right and you can’t go out. Do you have a backup plan for that if you had a workout scheduled for example? So, it might be something just as simple as pulling a video up on YouTube perhaps if you are scheduled to go to yoga class, well fallback plan is I’m going to be at home and I’m going to pull up a yoga class video online and do that for five minutes, ten minutes. Something like that. So, fallback plans like that can be pretty effective and again, just keep you moving forward and feeling less likely you have had a big setback.

Lisa: Yeah, you know it’s nice and there are so many great ones. I found just by going to YouTube, I just did beginner yoga flow or intermediate hatha or whatever the class you like or whether it is yoga or something else. It’s all there and it’s free. It’s awesome.

Sarah: Yeah. And there are some just really great resources out there like you said, for free. Everybody is producing tons and tons of free content and, so it may not give you kind of that coaching feedback, that you could use or would normally prefer to have; but you are at least getting access to some ideas to keep you moving.

Lisa: Well, you know, it’s funny you mentioned the coaching feedback, because the last one of the six is try a virtual coach.

Sarah: Yeah, virtual coaching is coming out real big now. Again, just because of how accessible all of the tech products have become for everybody. Apps have moved forward – just they are moving forward leaps and bounds almost minute by minute to make getting access to really experienced coaches just much easier. And you can probably find a coach or an instructor anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world at this point and get access to them, get some coaching feedback for a pretty affordable price. And so, virtual coaching can be anything from – they now have like live classes that are being offered through different gyms or different like spinning bike type of things. You can just get in and take a live class. You can also have access to a personal trainer or a coach that’s literally live watching your session, coaching you through that session just as if you were in their gym or they were in your home helping you through that session. So, it’s pretty incredible and it’s something that again, if that fits into your lifestyle, maybe you don’t have a lot of time to head to the gym and work with a personal trainer there. It might be a good option if you are working out at home and just sort of use them almost like a consultant even to get some ideas or get some feedback on your form and make sure that everything is moving forward effectively and safely.

Lisa: Now Sarah, before I let you go, tell us a little bit about SAPT Strength and Performance Training. Am I saying that correctly?

Sarah: Yeah, SAPT, Strength and Performance Training. I founded it about ten years ago, a little over ten years ago now. And at the time, I had been working individual in athletics as a strength coach and some of the athletes that I was seeing – so these were teenagers, but I had also been working as a personal trainer at this time as well; but the athletes that were coming in really didn’t have the basic safe kind of movement patterns that I would expect to see of a division one athlete. Meaning they just didn’t know how to do simple movement patterns that we all need as humans correctly and safely. So, it would be like a squat pattern, a hinging pattern, which is kind of the athletic position and, so I saw it as an opportunity to just teach people how to move correctly, how to have hopefully a good experience with exercise and with strength training because I know a lot of people have really poor experiences with them. They get hurt or they just kind of get in over their head maybe too soon and so my goal with founding the company was to become a resource for people and help them move into exercise in a way that’s positive and fun and that sort of thing.

Lisa: Oh, that’s fantastic. Well Sarah, this has been so great. Tell us all the ways that we can find you and I would love to have you back.

Sarah: Yeah, thank you. Yeah there are a couple ways to find me. My website is You can reach me through that. I would love it if anybody was interested to reach out to me on Instagram. My handle is @strengthboss and anybody that reaches out, if they would like to have a free program, they just need to let me know and I will happily send them off a sample.

Lisa: Oh, that’s fantastic and are you on Twitter as well or just Instagram?

Sarah: Yes, and same handle strengthboss.

Lisa: Alright, I’m going to follow you. Writing that down, strengthboss. Well I want to thank everyone for listening to Talk Fitness Today. I always have so much fun and I learn a ton from all these fantastic guests. If you want to learn more, you can go to and go to programs. Click on Talk Fitness Today. We are also on iTunes, Stitcher, Tune In, iHeart. Please subscribe, rate and review on iTunes. It makes a big difference, brings more people to the show. You can follow me on Twitter @healthmediagal1. Thanks for listening everyone and stay well.

This episode of Talk Fitness was produced by The Vitamin Shoppe where trusted health enthusiasts help you thrive every day. Visit one of 800 stores across the country or head to Vitamin for all your wellness needs.

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