It’s the weekend and your friends are heading out for a big day of skiing. You want to be able to keep up all day, enjoy it, and not come home injured. What can you do to achieve this fitness goal with limited time to commit to your endurance?
Well, I have the same question now that I’m a student, working part-time and have retired from cross country ski racing. I have relinquished the great lifestyle of full-time fitness that I enjoyed for 14 years. If you want to be in great shape for this winter’s adventures, perhaps we share…
- The Dream: Maintaining the fitness to go for a long cross country ski, backcountry tour or big day of turns at the hill.
- The Reality: You don’t have endless time to dedicate to your endurance and fitness.
- The Solution: Target these three workouts to achieve maximal fitness within your time constraints.
WORKOUT 1: GROUP FITNESS
- High intensity, full body, strength, flexibility, speed and endurance. This is a great way to increase fitness. Most of these classes get the maximum exertion out of its participants in the time allocated.
- Anywhere close to you, or better yet, one that your friends go to. If you combine social time with workout time, you use less willpower while increasing your endurance.
- Sign up online! One of my favorites is spin class. It’s so fun and such a great workout and there are endless possibilities. Keep experimenting until you find an instructor and facility you like.
WORKOUT 2: LONG, SLOW DISTANCE
- Set aside time for a longer session. It activates your base fitness level. It helps me unwind, it’s fun to go on a longer adventure and it feels great. A long ski, winter walk/hike/run, swim or even spending a few hours on the stationary bike while watching a movie will do wonders.
- Anywhere you want. The important thing in fitness is that we challenge ourselves to keep trying new activities and sports.
- Schedule fitness into your calendar — even better if it’s with a friend. Shoot for a two-hour workout. Build your way up to it if that seems long. Go longer if that seems short. Make sure you’re breathing hard the whole time, but not so hard that you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation.
WORKOUT 3: VO2 MAX INTERVALS
- Interval sessions target your heart and lungs. A full-body sport such as swimming, running or cross-country skiing is best, but VO2 Max can be great on a stationary bike as well.
- Swim: Hit the pool. Stave off boredom by tracking time and progress.
- Run: Find a hill close by and blast off. Up and down.
- Bike: Get your 10 favourite pump-up songs and get on the bike.
Follow this formula:
- Warm up 10-15 minutes and include 2 x 20 explosive jumps to activate your nervous system.
- 4-6 x 4-6 minutes with equal rest.
- Build, build, build the pace. Start conservatively and go a little faster and farther with each interval.
- Cool down 10-15 minutes.