2022 blog

Tips for Winter Workouts

How to safely keep your workout routine going – even when you’re freezing!

Are the winter blues throwing you off your exercise game? We get it – it’s even harder to leave your cozy comforter when the temperatures outside are dipping.

Here are 9 tips for keeping your workouts safe and effective in cold weather.

1. Start with a dynamic warm-up

Whether you plan on working out indoors or outdoors, it is important to gently warm up the muscles before jumping into an exercise. Some great dynamic warm-ups are:

  • brisk walking (especially at an incline, if using the treadmill)
  • jumping jacks
  • jump rope (with or without an actual rope)
  • arm circles
  • shoulder rolls

Dynamic warm-ups allow the blood to start flowing in the muscles before putting them under the stress of the workout. This is particularly important when the weather is cold to help prevent injury.

2. Dress in layers

Dressing in layers provides many benefits – you can remove layers as you warm up and protect your limbs and skin from cold air and elements. When dressing in layers, opt for layers that alternate between keeping heat in and letting sweat out:

  • the bottom layer should be moisture-wicking, breathable, and allow sweat out and away from the body
    • i.e., a workout specific long sleeve, short sleeve, or tank top that hugs the body and helps keep sweat off
  • the middle layer should be thermal and designed to keep heat in
    • i.e., a sweatshirt or other cotton, heavy-weight outer layer
  • the top layer should be lightweight, water and wind-resistant, and breathable
    • i.e., a windbreaker with mesh vents at the back or underarms

As you workout and begin to sweat, your body goes into a cooling mode, and sweat plays a big role in helping cool you down. When air blows on your sweat-dampened skin, you feel cooler than you would in the same breeze with dry skin. This is why it is important to have layers that will allow your sweat to dissipate and evaporate away from your skin, while still keeping heat in close to your body.

We also love a good workout vest moment. Vests are great cold-weather workout accessories because they keep your core warm effectively, while allowing good range of motion in the arms and shoulders and provide plenty of exit options for heat and sweat coming away from your body.

3. Keep your hands, feet, and head warm

When we start to get cold, one of the ways that our bodies try to protect ourselves is by increasing blood flow to vital organs, which can temporarily lower blood flow in our extremities like hands, fingers, feet, and toes.

To help stay warm, wear good socks that cover the ankle to prevent chilling in gaps between pants and socks. If your hands will be exposed to the cold air, wear gloves, mittens, or hand warmers.

We lose 60-70% of our internal heat from the head and neck region, so it is also important to keep those areas warm and insulated. Wear a jacket or vest with a high collar to protect the neck, and wear a headband, beanie, or jacket hood to keep the head warm.

4. Wear the right shoes

Part of keeping your feet warm means wearing the right shoes for the weather, environment, and activity. Cold weather also tends to mean wet weather; opt for water-resistant shoes to keep the feet dry and warm. Make sure that your shoes also have proper traction on the soles to suit the terrain you will be exercising in.

Never run on icy or frozen surfaces, even in snow shoes!

5. Stay dry

Plan ahead with your outdoor workouts to avoid being outside in heavy rain or snowfall. Always avoid being outdoors in thunderstorms.

Make sure to wear the right clothing to keep yourself dry – like water-resistant shoes and outerwear.

6. Be aware of the signs of hypothermia

Hypothermia describes the condition of the body when internal temperatures drop to dangerous levels. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia setting in include:

  • confusion
  • difficulty speaking
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • amnesia
  • apathy

As hypothermia progresses, symptoms may include lethargy, hallucinations, or loss of consciousness. If you are concerned that you are experiencing hypothermia, remove any wet clothing and dry yourself off and get to a warm area. Always seek medical attention in cases of lost consciousness or persisting symptoms or pain.

7. Stay hydrated

We often relate our feelings of thirst with heat or feeling warm, but hydration and water intake is just as important in cooler weather too! Be sure to replenish fluids lost in sweat during exercise as well by drinking water or sports drinks.

The cold weather and cold air can also be particularly dehydrating. You may feel the effects of this in your throat in particular, so be sure to drink plenty of water. You can also opt for a hot tea for hydration as well as the warmth!

8. Protect your skin

If you are exercising outdoors, always wear sunscreen – even on cloudy or overcast days. Make sure to also wear sun protection like sunglasses if exercising around snow, as the reflection of sunlight on snow can be particularly bright.

Just as cold air is dehydrating to the body’s fluids, it will also impact the skin, lips, and eyes. Use a chapstick or lip balm to keep the skin of the lips hydrated and prevent cracking, and use lotions or moisturizers on the rest of the skin, especially in areas exposed to direct cold air.

9. Change out of sweaty workout clothes immediately

As discussed earlier, sweat is meant to cool the body down with the dampness it provides. However, sweat will not dry as quickly as your body starts to cool down after your exercise is completed, which will leave you with dampened skin and clothes in cold weather.

If you are not able to shower immediately following your workout, be sure to at least remove all sweaty layers to prevent catching hypothermia post-workout.

Make sure to stay active, healthy, happy, and safe in all of your cold weather activities!

Do you have a go-to winter workout? Let us know in the comments below!

join the tfc community!

subscribe to be best friends 🤍

2022 blog

Improve Your Nutrition Habits by Keeping a Simple 3-Day Food Log

Download our official tfc 3-Day Food Log for free!

Have you been hitting the gym hard and consistently, doing your best to eat well, and yet you still feel like you’re just not making progress?

Don’t worry – we’ve all been there! The good news is that there are usually only a few reasons that this could be happening; and the even better news is that there are simple solutions to each of the possible culprits!

If you are putting in the work but not seeing results, check to see if one of these top three progress-potholes are trying to trip you up.

1. you’ve hit a progress plateau

If you were initially experiencing successes and seeing results from your training program, and now have reached a point where the results have started to peter out or even reverse, you may be hitting a progress plateau.

The best way to beat a progress plateau is with the use of the exercise science principle of periodization. Your personal trainer can customize a periodized training program to help get you out of your plateau slump!

Don’t have a personal trainer? Contact us for a free consultation to see if personal training is right for you!

2. you are experiencing over-training symptoms

Training programs – both strength training and cardio-based programs – place gradually increasing stressors on the body that the muscles, heart, and lungs learn to respond and adapt to. If a training program is too intensive or does not allow for proper recovery time and workouts to take place, the body is unable to recoup and repair effectively. In other words, if your body is unable to return to 100% between workout sessions, you are essentially starting the next workout at less than 100% of your body’s abilities; and the next workout at an even lower percentage, and so on.

Make sure to never skip rest periods – between exercise sets and between workouts – and to take active recovery days. Check out Myth #7 from our prior post, 9 Exercise Myths Debunked by a Certified Personal Trainer, for more on active recovery days!

3. your body isn’t receiving the proper fuel for your workouts

The most common reason why your training program is not getting you the gains you deserve is due to nutrition deficits – not eating enough of the right types of fuel – or being in a caloric surplus – consuming more calories than your body can effectively burn in a day.

The most common reason why your training program is not getting you the gains you deserve is due to nutrition!

If you think that this may be holding you back, first off – it’s okay! Many people are affected by nutrient deficits, and this can easily happen – even when trying to eat healthy foods.

The best place to start is with knowing what you actually are – and are not – eating on a regular basis. This is where the 3-Day Food Log becomes a real hero!

Keeping a food log does not need to be as time-consuming or confusing as it often sounds or appears to be. If this is difficult for you, start simple and small; the most important details to capture are the foods and rough portion sizes of the foods you eat. For example; a breakfast food log entry could be as simple as “coffee with creamer, 2 slices white toast, 3 eggs.”

If you are able to invest an extra 2-3 minutes into your food log, we also highly recommend noting the time you ate, your hunger rating and mood pre- and post-meal, and where you ate this. Don’t worry about logging exact calories as you eat – if you can accurately capture the foods eaten and the portion sizes, you can always calculate the calories at a later time!

Taking the time to note how you were feeling around the meal or snack time helps to identify if you were eating out of true hunger, or motivated by another external factor; such as habit, stress, emotions, boredom, or social activities. This can also help you to notice if you are eating at times that make sense for your life. Are you starving everyday at 3pm when you eat a snack from the office vending machine? Maybe your lunch is too light! Or you might notice you are eating before bed every night, even though you aren’t necessarily hungry, just out of habit. These important insights help you to paint a bigger picture of what your day-to-day eating consists of, so that you can start to tackle any possible nutrition deficits.

If you aren’t sure how much you should be eating in a day, or how to break down those foods into the major macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats), check out our nutrition services or request a consultation for more info!

Is the way your fueling your body holding you back? Download our free 3-Day Food Log below to start tracking, then send it to our ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist for further evaluation and next steps!

join the tfc community!

subscribe to be best friends 🤍

2022 blog

How to Take Your Measurements for Weight Loss and Strength Training Programs

tfc Guide on What to Measure, When to Measure, and How to Measure and Get the Best Before & After Photos

Do you ever feel like your scale must be lying to you? You have been working so hard at your new exercise routine and were excited at the progress you were seeing at first, but now the scale has suddenly stopped decreasing – or even begun to increase again!

Don’t worry! We’re not calling the bathroom scale a liar, but it definitely is not the smartest or best tool for tracking your progress when it comes to fat loss and muscle gains. The standard bathroom or kitchen scale is built only to read your overall weight and wouldn’t be able to tell you apart from a sack of potatoes or a bucket of water. This does not allow you to see how much of your weight is made up from fat stores, muscle stores, or water stores within the body and could paint an inaccurate picture of your health based solely on the overall weight.

The best way to combat this is by relying on other types of anthropomorphic – or body-based – measurements to analyze your health. One way to do so is to participate in a body composition assessment; a test that uses technologies such as bioelectrical currents, X-ray technology, water displacement, or other methods to determine how much of your overall weight is comprised of fat tissue, muscle tissue, organs and cells, bones, and skin. However, many of these types of assessment machines can be difficult to obtain due to their price, technology requirements, or status as certified medical devices.

Outside of having a body composition assessment performed, there is another fast, easy, and realistically cheap option for manually assessing your overall body status without relying on your weight at all; using girth measurements of specific body-landmarks. A girth measurement is simply the circumference of specific locations on your body and its limbs. Below is a list of the best landmarks to measure to track progress in both fat-loss and muscle-building exercise programs, along with the best ways and times to measure!

what to measure & why

measure…good for…
weighttracking overall progress
neckgood if goal is to lose over 25lbs fat or make bulk-muscle gains
chestgood if goal is to lose fat
waistgood if goal is to lose fat
hipsgood if goal is to lose fat or make bulk muscle-gains
thighsgood if goal is to lose fat or make bulk muscle-gains
calvesgood if goal is to lose over 25lbs fat or make bulk-muscle gains
bicepsgood if goal is to lose over 25lbs fat or make bulk-muscle gains
forearmsgood if goal is to lose over 25lbs fat or make bulk-muscle gains

Be careful not to make the mistake of measuring and/or weighing yourself too often; weight and body composition can easily fluctuate even throughout a single day based on what you ate and when, how you slept the night before, and what types of workouts were done within the last couple days. We recommend not weighing yourself more than 1-2 times per week and only conducting measurements once a week at the most so that you don’t end up with an overwhelming amount of data to track.

when to measure

  • at the beginning of your program
  • every 4 weeks if program is over 6-weeks or is not time-bound
  • every 2 weeks if program is under 6-weeks
  • halfway through the program
  • at the end of the program

Lastly, it is important to stay consistent in where and how you are measuring your body landmarks so that you can accurately compare measurements to one another to track your progress.

how to measure

  • measure in the morning, prior to food/drink, barefoot
  • use flexible tape measure; for all measurements, adjust the tape to appropriate spot and lay flat, take a deep breath and slowly exhale and relax
    • neck
      • place tape measure at midline between the base of the neck (where it connects to the shoulders) and the jawline
    • chest
      • place tape measure under arms and around back to meet in the front of the chest and measure in a straight line at the widest area (usually around nipple-level)
    • waist
      • place tape measure around the back to meet in the front of the torso and measure in a straight line at the narrowest area (usually around or just above belly-button level)
    • hips
      • place tape measure around booty to meet in the front of the pelvis and measure in a straight line at the widest area (usually around or just below hip-bone level)
    • thighs
      • place the foot of the same leg being measured on a step or seat so that it creates a 90 degree bend in the knee; shift your weight to bear on the leg that is not being measured
      • place the tape measure under the thigh to meet in front and measure in a straight line near the midline of the thigh (roughly equal distance from the knee and the hips)
    • calves
      • place the foot of the same leg being measured on a step or seat so that it creates a 90 degree bend in the knee; shift your weight to bear on the leg that is not being measured
    • place tape measure around leg to meet in the front of the shin and measure in a straight line at the widest area (usually closer to the knee)
    • biceps
      • extend the arm of the same bicep being measured and hold the elbow at a 90 degree angle at shoulder height, with the hand raised above it
      • place the tape measure under the arm to meet at at the top of the bicep and flex the bicep (squeeze the hand into a fist and twist the palm of the hand towards your head)
      • measure in a straight line at the widest area (usually roughly halfway between the elbow and shoulder joints)
    • forearms
      • extend the arm of the same forearm being measured and hold the elbow at a 90 degree angle at the waistline with palm facing up
      • place the tape measure under the arm to meet at at the top of the forearm and flex the forearm (squeeze the hand into a fist)
      • measure in a straight line at the widest area (usually closer to the elbow)

When it comes to tracking changes in your body composition, a picture really is worth a thousand words! Pictures help to provide context to the numbers that you are seeing to give more meaning to the data. It is also important to stay consistent in where and how the photos are captured so that they can be fairly compared to one another.

taking your photo

  • good lighting
  • simple background without a lot of visual distractions
  • same environment for Before & After
  • same clothing or type of clothing for Before & After
    • bathing suit
    • sports bra and shorts or underwear
      • recommended: no high-waisted or compression bottoms
    • shorts and no shirt
      • recommended: short and fitted shorts; no compression bottoms
  • good posture
    • but not “sucking in”
  • front view
    • arms out “T”
    • optional flex – encouraged for After!
  • side view
    • arms out in front at shoulder height
  • back view
    • arms out “T”
    • optional flex – encouraged for After!

check out some of our awesome client Before & After photos here!

We recommend keeping a simple journal to track long-term progress, where you can record all of your anthropomorphic measurement data, store your photos, and make short notes indicating the harder-to-measure benefits of regular exercise; such as energy level and mood, appetite, and quality of sleep. You can also use this space to track the details of your exercise program and nutrition habits to create a robust image and log of your overall health!

Here are our tfc tried & true logs for recording measurements, exercise, and food intake – download for free and let us know your thoughts!

join the tfc community!

subscribe to be best friends 🤍