Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

WINTER FITNESS! Issue #067 02/08/11

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4 Great Winter Sports Workouts

By Andrew Rice

So far, it's been a brutal winter—and there's no better excuse than freezing cold weather for staying inside. But there comes a time when you just have to make a break from the confines of your living room and get outside. The great news is that winter sports are fantastic cross-training workouts because they require more balance than many summer sports. Also, they each utilize a set of muscles different from your usual workout and from each other. It's possible to be at peak strength and form come spring if you engage in one or more of these four winter sports activities to get outside and stay fit.

People skiing

  1. Downhill skiing. As you already know, the core muscles are the cluster of muscles around your spine, pelvis, and groin that give you balance and stability. Skiing uses all these muscles in a fun, dynamic workout. To mix it up a little, do things like skating in your skis up the hill to the chairlift rather than booting up the slope. For a beginner, just learning to ski is plenty of exercise. More advanced skiers can use a few tricks to keep improving balance and core strength: Take a run where you balance on just one ski for as long as possible while still turning and stopping. When one leg gets tired switch to the other and keep going. Backward skiing is also a test of your balance and works a different set of muscles. Leave your poles at the lodge when you try backward skiing, or take them off your wrists and hold them out in front of your body, kind of like a pair of handlebars. Of course, try these tricks on a run where you're really comfortable, not on a double black diamond. Skiing moguls and shredding the terrain park with the snowboarders are also fantastic for your core.
  2. Cross-country Ski SkatingCross-country ski skating. First, my condolences to those of you who have snow but no mountains. Life is cruel. But flat snow has its uses too. The variety of cross-country skiing called ski skating is wonderful for your balance and overall aerobic fitness. If you don't know what this is already, picture yourself ice skating really fast through the woods, but on skis. Seek out your local snow-covered frozen lake or a groomed cross-country ski resort for the best trails. Lacking those options, seek out the closest golf course or even a snow-covered football field. The motions of skating work the heck out of your quads, glutes, and core. Your arms get a nice benefit, too, since you sometimes use them to push. And you can adapt skating to your own preferences. Some people go long distances; others do sprints. Mix it up and come up with a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program that'll blow away anything you do on a track in a pair of running shoes.
  3. Snowshoe running. Proof that people will do just about anything to stay fit. This sport is largely practiced by devoted—make that maniacal—runners looking to crank up their fitness. According to at least one expert, marathoners who cross-train in the winter with snowshoes often find their race times have plummeted come spring. A set of good trail-running snowshoes should set you back between $200 and $400. Beyond that, it's free. It'll feel awkward at first. You'll need to retrain your brain a little from your running stride. On snowshoes, you'll pull your feet up using your hips rather than pushing down with your feet like you would running on dirt or asphalt. And don't run using a wide stance; that'll wear you down in no time. Truly hardcore snowshoe runners log up to 70 miles a week, but that's extreme. Start out slowly and work up to a mileage that's maybe 20 percent of your summer running.
  4. Ice SkatingIce skating. Anyone who has ever watched Olympic speed skating or a hockey game can tell you that ice skating is a great way to build your lower body and flexibility at the same time. Plus, like everything that requires dynamic balance, skating builds insane core strength—that tiny 10-year-old doing a flying camel spin has more core strength than the entire Chicago Bears defensive line. But you don't have to be Olympic material to benefit from a good skating workout. No matter what your ability level, just getting on the ice works your core. Skating can also provide a great workout for the large muscles you employ on the ice, including your glutes, hip abductors, hip adductors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

For skaters at any skill level, the key is to get a little outside your comfort zone. Beginning skaters should work on gliding on one blade as long as possible with the other blade off the ice. Everyone has a strong and weak side. Use both. Start trying to do 5 second glides on each foot, then work up until you can go for much longer. Linking parallel ski-style turns is a blast on skates and utilizes your abs, glutes, and thighs. Do this in sets with gentle skating in between. Finally, skating backwards is a terrific exercise for your butt muscles and works the muscles on both sides of your legs. Make it a point to spend at least a third of your rink time going backwards and soon you'll look like Wayne Gretzky from the rear.

I could blather on until spring thaw about great winter sports workouts, but I've got to get myself out of this chair and down to the rink. Enjoy the chill. Summer will be here soon enough and this year, I've promised myself to stay fit through the winter. I hope you can too.

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Related Articles
"Beat the Winter 'Blahs' with Exercise"
"Warming Up, Cooling Down: How a Few Extra Minutes Can Change Your Workout"
"Stretching and Flexibility"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Thursday, February 17th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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How Fitness Changed My Life

By Tony Horton, creator of P90X®

The following is an excerpt from Bring It!, the brand-new best-seller by Tony Horton, now available for purchase in the Beachbody store.

I'm learning that when you decide to eat right and exercise regularly, the person you become will have it pretty easy, and life will no longer seem quite as hard. Until I got really fit, I used to have so many problems. Everything seemed difficult and daunting. There was a lot of drama and conflict. I was lazy, tired, and overwhelmed. I didn't have the feel-good brain chemistry of a person who was firing on all cylinders from making better choices. Life was a struggle. But I had no clue that my poor diet and erratic physical activity were the reasons for my misery.

Tony Horton and Woman

In my late 20s and early 30s, I began to eat better and work out more regularly. Oddly enough, new opportunities began to come my way. My confidence improved, and the drama began to fade away. It never occurred to me that healthier food and physical activity were responsible for the shifts in my life. I chalked it all up to luck, nothing more. Sometimes, for brief periods of time, I'd get lazy, eat garbage, and blow off workouts. And guess what? Life got hard again. But I still hadn't put two and two together.

By the time I made fitness my true vocation 13 years ago, I was in much better shape—not perfect, but pretty good. Those early days of creating my at-home DVD routines were fun and exciting. I was in the right place at the right time with the right experience to be able to help my business partners create something different and better when it came to at-home workouts. We were striking gold where it had never been found before. You'd think by then I'd have a clearer understanding that my regular exercise and healthy eating had something to do with my early triumphs, but the answer was still no. More great luck, right?

Turns out the more consistent I was with my workouts and the better I ate, the more opportunities came my way. Only in the last 2 or 3 years have I truly begun to appreciate that by exercising 6 or 7 days a week and eating wholesome foods, I have the energy and enthusiasm for a life I enjoy.

I'm not telling you this to brag—I'm sharing this experience because I want you to realize that life can be incredible, and not through luck or upbringing or even education. I know plenty of people who have degrees from top schools and who make tons of money—and they're a mess. Joy, happiness, opportunities, success, and the life you want come from switching to a lifestyle that involves regular exercise and whole foods. What seems hard as hell at first will turn your life into a carefree world of endless experiences and plenty of opportunities, and will give you the energy and enthusiasm you need to enjoy life for the rest of your life.

Related Articles
"Doing the Right Thing—for the Right Reasons"
"The Tao of Beachbody®"
"20 Secrets of Very Fit People"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Thursday, February 17th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Recipe: Baked Trout Olé!

Recipe: Baked Trout OléWant mega-protein with mega-flavor? Here's a quick and easy way to prepare trout (or any favorite fish) in zesty, citrusy, south-of-the border-y style. ¡Olé!

  • 2 lbs. trout (or any kind of fish) fillet, cut into 6 pieces
  • Juice of 2 limes (about 3 Tbsp. juice)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed dried red pepper (optional)
  • Cooking spray
  • Baking dish
  • Medium bowl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse fish fillets and pat dry. Lightly coat bottom of baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and place fish in single layer in bottom of dish. In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients together, then spread evenly over fish pieces. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. (Serves 6.)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
32 g <1 g 3 g 11 g 2 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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