Doomed to wear fat pants all winter and hide behind bulky cardigans? Winter waistline sabotaging isn’t just avoiding treadmill monotony, it has a chemical base. During the darker months, we combat a serotonin drop and melatonin spike, leaving us to crave more carbs and less movement. Not only that but slower metabolisms and reduced exposure to Vitamin D lure us into a sedentary lifestyle throughout winter.
It’s worth combating winter woes and extra pounds with these insider spots to let it burn, burn, burn, baby—calories, that is. Let Mother Nature try to break your stride.
Indoor Interval Rides
No need to be bummed about missing your favorite mountain-biking trails (for a few months anyway). Hit a spin class to toughen up those thighs and buns. On average, you can burn 400-600 calories in a 40-minute spin class, while high intensity 60- and 90-minute classes (and hill climbs) can have you shedding even more. For about the same cost as a drop-in yoga class ($18 each, or 3 for $45) you can glide and swoop over imaginary trails to rhythmic high-energy music. Be sure to focus on your power output rather than your dance moves to get a real (and safer) workout. You’ll be ready to hit those outdoor trails again with the first melt. In the meantime, stop by and say hi to Boom founder, Reagan, for your indoor routine. Boom Cycle Room, 1154 Center Drive, Ste. D200, Park City, 208-881-6473, BoomCycleRoom.com
The weather may have thrown off your usual routine, and possibly your mood, but you can still get a power workout without the outdoor exposure. Yoga fits great with more cardio-intense workouts, rest days and cross-training schedules. There’s a level and style to fit anyone’s needs, and you can get an indoor hookup year-round. Hot yoga, Hatha yoga, Vinyasa flow, Bikram, crazy bendy body-trendy over-the-top yoga. Yogi body goals will help you fight the winter blues, stress, anxiety and help sculpt those lean muscles. Don’t be surprised if the power yoga sessions feel more like a boot camp. Using your own body weight to get in shape, can be a butt kicking. Salt Lake Power Yoga, 250 E. 300 S., Salt Lake City, 801-468-9642, SaltLakePowerYoga.com
Keep that summer feel in your beachwear, hangin’ 10 with the fishies at the Flowrider indoor “beach” resort. Burn an average 225 calories an hour on 10,000 gallons of pumping water. There’s no ocean here, but you can still carve some killer turns on the wave face (maybe after a few wipe-outs). Picture a warm breeze flowing through your hair, as you channel your inner Kelly Slater … OK, more like indoor ventilation on a man-made wave, but it will take some core balance and full-body muscle maneuvering. Outcome: a leaner physique and no shark scares for $20 an hour. Flowrider, 2261 Kiesel Ave., Ste. 2B, Ogden, 801-528-5352, FlowRiderUtah.com
Pickles & Balls
Hit it with a wiffle-ball bat or similar paddle. Pickleball is now a thing. Really. Though the game began being played in the ’60s, it’s now an obsession for picklers of all ages. A combination of badminton and tennis, it boasts a lower net, larger paddle and a non-volley zone (7 feet on either side of the net) where you are allowed to play a ball that bounces in the vicinity. It’s easy to learn; as such, there is no shortage of highly competitive Pickle Ballers. The Pleasant Grove Recreation Center (Rec.PLGrove.org) offers drop-in play and has a winter league, as do several other rec centers. Check out the robust Pickleball Utah Facebook group. You can also catch a daily drop-in class at the Holladay Lions Fitness & Recreation Center, 1661 E. Murray-Holladay Road (4800 South), Holladay, 385-468-1689, SLCO.org/recreation/holladaylions
Utah Crew & Rowing
Don’t want to ward off the winter workout blues alone? Hit it off with a group of rowers by joining a recreational or competitive team. Learn scull and boat basics, terminology and some serious stamina. Technique is more important than experience, and even first-time rowers can join winter-training sessions. Rowing is more than an upper-body workout. Burning up to 600 calories per hour, the cardio alone can leave you as winded as you’d be hiking any steep trail. Because it blasts nine major muscle groups, your quads, glutes, hamstrings, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back and biceps are all in for a beating. Most teams are for younger rowers, but there are options for adults and for corporate team-building. Yes, most training is done on actual water, but you can maintain your winter rowing skills in the gym. Utah Crew (UtahCrew.org) and Wasatch Rowing Foundation (WasatchRowingFoundation.org)
Forgo the wii video-game version of Dance Dance Revolution and take it back to the real world with private or group dance lessons. Consider Latin-style dance (Bachata, Salsa & Tango), which have quick beats, fast steps and offer plenty of entertainment. Learn a new routine, perfect your balance and coordination, lower your cholesterol, (yes, really), and create relationships with dance. Besides keeping you young at heart, you can burn 5-10 calories per minute and learn some pretty mean turns. Hone your skills and moves locally, so that the next time you find yourself in Cuba, Puerto Rico or Miami, you may be bailando un poco mas salsa! DF Dance, 2978 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-466-0490, DFDanceStudio.com
Your Living Room
Virtual and online fitness coaches can get you moving fast and furiously with cardio and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) right at home. Health-focused, even in a snowstorm? Yeah, that’s calling my name. Working virtually with the right trainer and transformation coach can be as effective as in person, with less stress. A vetted and trained virtual coach provides constant communication, curated daily/weekly schedules and feedback. That, paired with the right meals, calorie intake and (woah) accountability, you’ll gain great online exercise guidance, and won’t come out of winter any worse for the wear. Consider working with this local cardio and strength-based coach: Atim Effiong, 801-810-9056, EffiFit.com
Full Body Pound
Keep it fun, with a fusion of hip beats, weighted drumsticks and constant movement. It’s the newish trendy fitness craze called Pound. Unleash your inner musician, or kid, and burn calories with Pilates-style moves and fast-paced cardio routines that have names like Kit Position and Base Kick (pulling from the founders’ backgrounds as drummers). This bouncy favorite creates lean muscles with minimal weight; the movements can be adjusted to all fitness levels. Pound is popping up in gyms across the nation. You can jump into classes and some cheap thrills at your local rec center. The Park Center in Murray, 202 E. Murray Park Ave., Murray, 801-284-4200, Murray. Utah.gov
Trapeze artists get chiseled backs, arms and shoulders from movements and complex routines that use their own body weight. So if you’re looking to stay warmed up, try this new winter workout. Aerial silks, trapeze, ropes, lyra and acroyoga are a few of the classes offered by professional trainers. Don’t underestimate this flowy low-impact form of aerial dance. It helps increase muscle mass and metabolic rate while keeping the pounds from creeping up during these dark months. Aerial Arts of Utah, 1301 E. Miller Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-577-0346, AerialArtsOfUtah.com
John Madsen Performance
JMP offers targeted training for champions, teams and individuals offered by John Madsen, a former NFL player and tight end for the Oakland Raiders. JMP boasts a full gym, support, supplements and customized nutrition, all in the heart of Holladay. Much of the training is targeted toward the individual wanting a structured program or to those going after athletic scholarships at the high school and collegiate levels. Programs range from rookie (11 -14 years old) to champions teams (teams of 12) and the JMP elite football academy. A big part of the programs focus on developing a winning mindset, explosive power, agility and reaching new standards. Looking to train with a local celebrity? This is your spot. JMP, 4894 S. Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, 801-633-4719, JohnMadsenPerformance.com
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So there you have it: 10 ideas to keep your carcass moving. Say buh-bye to the winter pudge and increase those fat burning enzymes. You may still be commuting to work in the dark, but winter’s end is just around the corner. No hibernating here. I don’t know about you, but I’m motivated to try them all. Let’s check back in a few months to compare notes (firstname.lastname@example.org).