We all know that feeling. You just made it a third of the way down your usual warm-up run first thing in the morning. Your legs are burning, sweat is beading down your face onto the fancy new pair of goggles you just bought, and a thought comes to you. “I am so out of shape for ski season!”.
You are not alone, after a long summer of cookouts and stops at the ice cream stand skiing or riding is the last thing your body is ready for. The good news is that there is still time to prepare yourself to make it to the last chair every weekend this season.
The best place to start is to get back outside or in the gym and workout the most important muscle in the body; the heart. Running can be daunting, but activities such as walking, hiking and bike riding can help keep your heart rate down when tackling your favorite trail. Activities like trail running and mountain biking can be a great way to not only stay in shape but give you something to do in the mountains before the snow flies. Try and aim for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio exercise 2 to 3 times a week, increasing duration slowly week by week.
“Try and aim for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio exercise 2 to 3 times a week“
The gym might seem like the last place any outdoor enthusiast would want to spend their time, but weight training will help calm those shaky legs after a day on New England boilerplate conditions.
The key when getting back into shape is to focus on movements you would encounter when skiing or riding out on the hill such as lunges, squats and jumps. Start with light weight and concentrate on using correct form, then slowly increase your weight on a week to week basis. An example of a workout could be:
- Dumbbell Squat – 12 reps x 3 sets
- Forward Lunge – 12 reps x 3 sets
- Box Jump – 10 reps x 4 sets
- Push Ups – 10 reps x 3 sets
- Crunches – 10 reps x 3 sets
Aim to get into the gym at least 2 days a week. Days with bad weather when you can’t get outside are a great opportunity to get some weight training in.
“The key is to focus on movements you would encounter when skiing or riding”
Contrary to popular belief, the chicken fingers and frisbee sized cookies served at most ski resort lodges are not exactly considered health foods. If you are like me and enjoy a burger or two after a few runs, start earning them now by using a healthy diet.
Try sticking to real foods that haven’t been processed like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and lean proteins. Healthy carbs from whole grains and vegetables will help keep you energized, while protein will help you recover faster and get back to training faster.
A great way to mix lots of nutritious foods together and make them taste great is by making a stir fry. Add rice, any leftover vegetables, choice of meat and season to your liking for a quick dinner or lunch that will set you up for success. Have a sweet tooth? Try mixing fruit with Greek yogurt for a healthy dessert or a sweet breakfast. Having the occasional cheat is okay but try and make an effort to eat healthy at least 2 out of 3 standard meals a day.
“Try sticking to real foods that haven’t been processed like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and lean proteins.”
While all of the things mentioned above will undoubtably get your body into tip top Olympic ready shape. When it comes to mental health however, nothing and I repeat NOTHING will get you ready for ski season at your local hill more than the stoke. Pop in a ski movie, watch endless clips from The Art of Flight on YouTube, ski down your favorite flight of stairs (maybe not).
Ski season is right around the corner and what is the point of getting into shape if you aren’t excited! For now, you can stop staring at your new gear laying in the corner of your room. It will be put to use before you know it!