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4 Tips for Staying Fit in the Cold

4 Tips for Staying Fit in the Cold


By Omar Elamam


So its mid-January. The days are short and nights are long, and your motivation is at an all-time low. Forget about the fact that we live in Ottawa–The coldest capital city in the world. How can you possibly get in shape in time for that beach body you’ve been longing for? Rest assured that you’re not the only one struggling with the same calamities. With tons of literature and information about fitness, and the ease of access to such information, it’s not hard to figure out what to do it’s the how that you should be concerned with.

Not everyone can afford a personal trainer, or have the time to attend the gym with a friend. The best thing you can do is to follow a simple set of rules that will hopefully change your mentality and transform your behaviour towards fitness.  The following is a set of recommended steps to take before you embark on a fitness crusade.

1.     Drink plenty of water

The body is composed of approximately 60% water for an average-weight adult. It serves as a natural cooling system for the body, regulating body temperature through perspiration. Not only does drinking water cool us down, it can prevent us from overconsumption by giving us a feeling of satiety. The recommended intake of water is about 8-12 glasses per day. Something so simple such as drinking water will set you on the right path and is the first step to looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Maria Sharapova.

2.     Smaller portions, more meals.

“What!? First you tell me to stay fit, now you’re telling me to eat more.”

Don’t hit the panic button just yet. Yes, I am telling you to eat more; 4 to 6 times a day to be precise.  Eat more, but in smaller portions. This will give your metabolism a kick start as it will constantly be working to burn calories more efficiently. Eating more with smaller portions will also prevent hunger and over eating. A single meal can be something simple as a protein shake, or maybe a chicken breast and some vegetables for dinner.

3.     Cut out late night snacks

If you followed step 2 this should not be a problem because you won’t be tempted to eat late at night. So this is for all of you who disregarded step 2 entirely.

Eating late night snacks can be problematic in 2 ways. Firstly, it can be detrimental over the long run since your body requires time to digest the food properly. If you sleep shortly after eating, your body will not be able to absorb the nutrients from what you ate. Weight gain is another problem associated with late night snacking. So here’s a simple suggestion from your friendly neighbourhood Personal trainer/Martial Arts instructor: STOP IT! JUST STOP!

I hope you got the message.

4.     Positive thinking

Sunny days, blue skies, green grass, and walks in the park. I was just reminiscing about summer as I walked outside today in -30 degree weather. Thinking like this will take you a long way during your training regiment. Positive thinking has been directly linked to diet effects, emotional effects, morale, and financial stability. Think of a person suffering from depression. Eating becomes a source of companionship rather than a necessity. They constantly eat to gain some sort of solidarity. The only type of solidarity that results from depression eating is that found at your hips and thighs. So aim for the sky!


I hope these steps are useful for your training purposes. There is plenty of material out there in the digital world, and can be quite daunting at times. Remember not to panic and follow these steps, and you’ll be fine.  Until the next time, take care!

Omar Elamam is a black belt instructor and personal trainer at Winning Circle Martial Arts and Wellness Center, and has been a rickshaw runner since 2008.  He enjoys martial arts, running, nutrition and personal fitness. You can find Omar on Twitter.